Teaching Feminist Activism: Reflections on an Activism Assignment in Introductory Women’s Studies

A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. In this article, the author describes a feminist activism assignment that would allow students to „do something“ about the many difficult social injustices they learn about in her class. The „Feminist Activism Project“ has become a source of hope, frustration, anxiety, and ultimately ambivalence about the assignment’s pedagogical merits. While there have been moments of excitement about the insights the assignment has inspired in some students, the author has also continuously been disappointed by her inability to guide students to the heightened level of reflexivity that the project aims to produce. Further, she has developed a deep sense of alarm at the project’s potential for reifying students‘ tendencies to distance themselves from less fortunate „Others.“ In other words, she is concerned that some students may come to view activism as something to be done to improve the circumstances of „the poor“ or „the rape victim,“ for example, without ever making connections between their own various social positionings and those in whose behalf the activism is performed. This article makes provisional attempts to address a series of paradoxes that the feminist activism project has ultimately raised in relation to the author’s ever-evolving feminist pedagogy. It also presents four main reasons why the author developed the project and her reflections on the feminist activism assignment.