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Student Resistance and Nationalism in the Classroom

Reflections on Globalizing the Curriculum

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Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies Series book series (CFS)

Abstract

It was the tenth week of the 16 week semester at a state university in the western United States whose student population is predominantly white and middle- to upper-middle class. I had designed my “Global Gender Issues” course to direct student attention to the responsibility of the United States—the government, the military, its businesses—and the agency and activism of third-world women. The topic of the day was military violence against women in war and armed conflict, especially Japans military “comfort women” system during World War II. In my classes, as in my writing, I use the term “military ‘comfort women’” used by the Japanese military itself, although “sexual slavery” more accurately describes the brutal oppression under this system. By the use of quotation marks (“comfort women”), I intend to highlight both the inaccuracy of this historical term and the irony that the “comfort” supposedly provided to Japanese soldiers was made possible by the unbearably inhumane victimization of women, most of whom were Korean. Along with readings on the history of that system, I had assigned my own unpublished paper on the transnational feminist redress movement and the positionality of Japanese women, past and present, in that chapter of Japanese history and in the redress movement. In addition to teaching my American students about military violence against women and women’s human rights violations, I wanted to raise issues about how women, an oppressed group in their own society, could also participate, albeit inadvertently, in the oppression of women (and men) of other nationalities, races, classes, and so on, and how women in such a situation might take responsibility and be accountable for their (inadvertent) complicity in an oppressive system.

Keywords

  • Sexual Violence
  • American Student
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • African Woman
  • Comfort Woman

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2002 Amie Macdonald and Susan Sánchez-Casal

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Hase, M. (2002). Student Resistance and Nationalism in the Classroom. In: Macdonald, A.A., Sánchez-Casal, S. (eds) Twenty-First-Century Feminist Classrooms. Comparative Feminist Studies Series. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230107250_4

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