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ERIC Number: EJ1081855
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7502
Feminism and Cultural Studies in Composition: Locating Women and Men in College Writing Courses
Perry, Merry G.
Composition Forum, v15 Spr 2006
Merry Perry teaches English courses (both writing and literature) where the majority of the students are white, middle class, and conservative. Perry begins the article by saying that in such an academic environment, her most challenging task is not teaching grammar, punctuation, or editing skills, but challenging these students to think about and understand the powerful effects of rhetoric (spoken, written, and visual) on how humans think, speak, and interact with one another. Perry writes that after ten years of teaching college English she has found that one of the most useful ways to frame her classroom discussions is to use the concept of "location." Feminist geographers use this term and also "space" and "place" to discuss how gendered identity affects a person's position within society, in ways that reflect power and knowledge. Perry wants students to understand that their identity categories (gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, education, age, disability, etc.) determine their "location" in American culture, affecting their current and future access to privileges and opportunities. Perry further asserts that the place one occupies within the cultural hierarchy makes a difference in terms of one's access to resources and privileges. Thus Perry perceives her major classroom goal as teaching students (and learning from them) how to consider the political effects on one's life and access to resources. To accomplish this goal, Perry uses a feminist cultural studies approach to composition. Explaining that "cultural studies" and "feminism" are defined in a variety of ways, she offers her own definition of each term, and outlines her own approach to writing instruction. Perry offers her theoretical rationale for such an approach by addressing some of the arguments against it then concludes with some pedagogical suggestions for incorporating it into composition courses.
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A