Visualizing Theory and Pedagogical Practices for Women of Color

The 1996 Women of Color Film and Video Festival included a pedagogy workshop. Invited speakers were Katherine Dalen, Rosanne Kanhai, and Marian Sciachitano of Washington State University.

Rupturing the Classroom:

1) The students challenge your authority.
2) The students perceive what you say as a stereotyped voice.
3) The students don't believe you have the authority to speak for anyone else.
4) Exoticisation: The students perceive you as being ultimately different from themselves.

The women had pointed comments to make about teaching as women of color at a predominately white university (left). They also gave pointers as to how to grade the students. For the classes that they have designed, the students gain both knowledge and consciousness of themselves and others. So the question becomes how do you grade them? The answer: Have the students turn in journal-type assignments. Then the task becomes rating how the ideas of the students have changed over the course of the term.

Rosanne emphasized the use of color in films. She expressed the necessity of showing the multiplicity of color in film. For example color being used as protest, protection, and warmth. Red is a color we associate primarily with passion either erotic or in anger. Rosanne showed a film where red represented the protest of the peasants against a colorless aristocracy. She also gave reading examples of color being used in `non-traditional' ways. Marion discussed the internalized oppression of her students of color and how to build a comfortable space in the classroom for all voices to be heard.

All agreed that the first film to be shown to break in the students should be: Birth of a Nation. Most students do not realize how much this film has shaped the stereotypes of our culture. It has the twofold effect of causing students to drop the class if they can't handle it and directly confronts the remaining students with their subconscious and conscious stereotypes.

Extracted from the web page of Jarita C. Holbrook
Jarita's Homepage
Extracted by c.r.e.
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Last updated 12/1/97 by c.r.e.