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When Bodies Require Trigger Warnings

  • Tapo Chimbganda
Chapter

Abstract

In 2014, Oberlin College in Ohio drafted a trigger warning policy spurred by a petition from students who felt some of their learning was affecting their mental and emotional well-being. During the ensuing global debate, a black female professor, Jade Davis, highlighted that for some students their teachers’ physical bodies were potential triggers, which makes the interrogation of what constitutes a "trigger" necessary. In some classrooms, the physical body becomes a historical, political, and social site of difference that can trigger tensions and emotional breakdowns. Chimbganda explores her own experience as a racialized woman teaching about race and gender politics to university students who see her role as accuser, not educator, therefore triggering guilt, anxiety, and resentments.

References

  1. Britzman, D. (1998). Lost subjects, contested objects: Toward a psychoanalytic inquiry of learning. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  2. Chimbganda, T. (2015). Traumatic pedagogy: When epistemic privilege and white privilege collide. In K. J. Fasching-Varner, K. A. Albert, R. W. Mitchell, & C. M. Allen (Eds.), Racial battle fatigue in higher education: Exposing the myth of post racial America (pp. 29–36). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.Google Scholar
  3. Davis, J. (2014, May 23). What I learned about ‘trigger warnings’ from teaching college students. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved from http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/what-i-ve-learned-about-trigger-warnings-from-teaching-college
  4. Flaherty, C. (2014, April 14). Trigger unhappy. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/14/oberlin-backs-down-trigger-warnings-professors-who-teach-sensitive-material
  5. Smith, G. (2014, April 4). Trigger warnings: The latest threat to academic freedom. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/trigger-warnings-the-latest-threat-to-academic-freedom/article17835103/

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tapo Chimbganda
    • 1
  1. 1.Bramalea CHCBramptonCanada

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