Paper Title

School-Based Mentoring Programs as a Site for Feminist Community Engagement

Location

Room 212, West Center

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

Critical Pedagogy, Feminist Community Engagement, Intersectionality, Girl Studies, Mentoring

Abstract

Our women and gender resource center school-based mentoring program for girls engages ongoing negotiations or “border crossings” (Anzaldua, 1987) at the intersections and entanglements of the mutable, often competing boundaries of self-making/being made, service/activism, institution/community, insider/outsider, and complex relationships of the personal/political. Placing ourselves, students and our community partner, as multiple centers of inquiry, we deconstruct our practices to foreground the mentoring program as part of critical and emancipatory “feminist projects” with politicized agendas to challenge sexist ideologies and practices (Code, 1991; Harding, 1987).

Academic and public shifts place a gaze on girls with the context of “Alpha Girl” (Kindlon, 2006), “Future Girl” (Harris, 2004), “Girl Power” and “DIY,” discourses which celebrate power, self-determination, and success. Concurrently, discourses circulating throughout the school and sites of popular culture embed hierarchical markers of the body which characterize girls as ‘at risk’ or unhealthy. Our Young Women Leaders Program poses unique opportunities and challenges to address intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) as a methodological and practical tool. We seek to explore the “messiness” (Lather, 2007) of community engagement that lives in the in-between in order to contribute to a terrain of politicized feminist community engagement (Iverson and James, 2014) based in social justice activism.

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Apr 1st, 10:30 AM Apr 1st, 11:45 AM

School-Based Mentoring Programs as a Site for Feminist Community Engagement

Room 212, West Center

Our women and gender resource center school-based mentoring program for girls engages ongoing negotiations or “border crossings” (Anzaldua, 1987) at the intersections and entanglements of the mutable, often competing boundaries of self-making/being made, service/activism, institution/community, insider/outsider, and complex relationships of the personal/political. Placing ourselves, students and our community partner, as multiple centers of inquiry, we deconstruct our practices to foreground the mentoring program as part of critical and emancipatory “feminist projects” with politicized agendas to challenge sexist ideologies and practices (Code, 1991; Harding, 1987).

Academic and public shifts place a gaze on girls with the context of “Alpha Girl” (Kindlon, 2006), “Future Girl” (Harris, 2004), “Girl Power” and “DIY,” discourses which celebrate power, self-determination, and success. Concurrently, discourses circulating throughout the school and sites of popular culture embed hierarchical markers of the body which characterize girls as ‘at risk’ or unhealthy. Our Young Women Leaders Program poses unique opportunities and challenges to address intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) as a methodological and practical tool. We seek to explore the “messiness” (Lather, 2007) of community engagement that lives in the in-between in order to contribute to a terrain of politicized feminist community engagement (Iverson and James, 2014) based in social justice activism.