Re-vitalizing the American Feminist-Philosophical Classroom: Transformative Academic Experimentations with Diffractive Pedagogies



This chapter touches upon the damaging impact of neoliberal reason on institutions of higher education, and my efforts as a teacher to help turn things around by re-vitalizing the classroom. After a critique of current neoliberal ‘borderline times’, the chapter takes the reader on a journey of diffractive re-imaginings in which I share some of my experiences of co-learning with undergraduates in an American feminist-philosophical classroom. My central argument is that the neoliberalism-induced crisis in education can be affirmatively counteracted through experimentations with various posthuman and new materialist theories, and the Harawayan-Baradian methodology of diffraction in particular. Furthermore, informed by the impression that theory and pedagogical praxis go hand in hand in many contemporary feminist new materialisms, I zoom in on daily acts of resistance against the neoliberal corporatization of the American university, acts that actualized themselves as feminist new materialist pedagogies. Three examples of diffractive pedagogical strategies are then discussed in detail.


Diffractive pedagogies Feminist new materialist pedagogies Neoliberalization Higher education Re-vitalization The American feminist-philosophical classroom 



The author would like to thank the editors of this book volume, Carol Taylor and Annouchka Bayley, together with Clare Hammoor, for their affirmative, constructive feedback. Special thanks go out to my undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz for their generosity; to Donna Haraway for our wonderful pedagogical lunch conversation in Santa Cruz in 2016; to Bettina Aptheker for teaching me all about feminist pedagogies; to Maija Butters, Delphi Carstens, Lou Mycroft and Kay Sidebottom—my posthumanist companions—and to Iris van der Tuin for her mentorship.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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