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ERIC Number: EJ1222600
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0882-4843
Reflections on/of Embodiment: Bringing Our Whole Selves to Class
Smith, Trixie; Manthey, Katie; Gagnon, John; Choffel, Ezekiel; Faison, Wonderful; Secrist, Scotty; Bratta, Phil
Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices, Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, v28 n1 p45-63 2017
What does it mean to study "embodiment"? What does it mean to study this concept from a rhetorical perspective? Why is embodiment important? These questions are at the heart of this article--a story about a graduate-level class that investigated these ideas. This article offers reflections from the instructors, multiple students' experiences, and finally an overview of what the instructors could have done differently. Situating the article in this way allows for a move that is integral to community-based work and negotiating the differences inherent in a classroom--using and privileging story and storytelling practices. In the article, the authors argue that work about the self, especially the self in relation to rhetorical understandings of culture, is important. This is hard work; this sort of classroom experience and structure involves a large amount of risk for all involved. It requires constant reorientation of the participants to not dismiss anyone else's lived experiences. It also requires the instructors to constantly practice a critical praxis and their own reorienting. To begin, the authors discuss a special topics course offered in the fall of 2014 at Michigan State University in the Rhetoric and Writing graduate program This graduate seminar was taught by Trixie Smith and Katie Manthey, who worked as the class intern. There were seventeen students from a variety of disciplines at both the master's and doctoral levels in this rather large seminar class. In a pedagogical move designed to increase the range of embodied experiences through the class and to also call attention to these experiences, students were asked to respond to readings in a wide variety of multi-modal ways, including audio and video texts, maker projects, creative writing and/or visuals, as well as more traditional written texts, while being exposed to a wide range of text types through in-class and out-of-class readings, viewings, activities, and field trips. The class moved each week, meeting in twelve different university/public spaces over the course of fifteen weeks, once again emphasizing the embodied effects of different spaces and places, particularly on learning. This article offers an overview of how the instructors put the course together, highlights some of the students' stories, and ends with reflections on the course experience.
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; 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: Michigan