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Negotiating Subject Positions in a Service-Learning Context

Toward a Feminist Critique of Experiential Learning

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

Abstract

A student whom we will call Pilar1 was born in the small village of Ixtepec outside of Guadalajara, Jalisco, over 20 years ago. She grew up in a small community of subsistence farmers. Her home was one room of rugged brick with a zinc roof, her bed a “petate.” When Pilar was six, her mother left her and a brother with her maternal grandparents to make the long and risky trek to “el Norte” to join her husband and find work. Pilars childhood memories were of soaking maize to grind and make tortillas, of the long walks across dry riverbeds to visit relatives in nearby villages, of other children, open spaces, and of the fading image of her parents. At age seven, Pilar was told that she and her brother would soon be going to the United States. A week later, a “legalized” and distant cousin would smuggle the two children across the California border and drive them to Oregon where her parents were farmworkers. The family of six lived in a small trailer owned by a farmer. The children’s movements became restricted. Soon the two were sent to a predominantly white school in rural Oregon. They were singled-out, ridiculed, told to go back where they came from. As Pilars English improved, she was teased less but her family’s continued poverty made her feel ashamed. She was ashamed, mostly, of where she had come from. However painful, she gradually forgot her grandparents, her friends, and the open spaces of Ixtepec. She hated being asked where she was from and began telling people she was from Guadalajara or Mexico City because these places were known and had a sophisticated ring to them.

Keywords

  • Subject Position
  • Service Learning
  • Feminist Pedagogy
  • Service Site
  • Service Placement

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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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230107250_6
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© 2002 Amie Macdonald and Susan Sánchez-Casal

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Williams, T., McKenna, E. (2002). Negotiating Subject Positions in a Service-Learning Context. 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_6

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