Fall 2012 Project
In this year's project, Dr. Mirfakhraie and Dr. Whittington-Walsh are collaborating with Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of Battered Women's Support Services (BWSS). Sociology of Education (SOCI 2270) and Sociology of Women in Canada (SOCI 2240) students will be involved in editing and revising the Empowering Non-Status, Refugee, and Immigrant Women Who Experience Violence manual published by the BWSS organization (download the manual). Their task is to re-write, edit, and re-organize this annual in light of the mission statements and organizational goals of BWSS for youth of British Colombia, so it can be used as an educational material by BWSS in their youth initiative programs to teach about the effects, causes, and social, cultural, economic, psychological consequences of violence against women and girls, especially Aboriginal, immigrant, non-White and refugee women. The aim is to encourage students to draw upon their theoretical and personal knowledge in innovative ways to develop a critical booklet on violence and gender that adheres to the framework developed by BWSS in fighting and eliminating violence. This framework is based on a Women-Centred Approach. As the authors of this manual state (Empowering Non-Status, Refugee, and Immigrant Women Who Experience Violence, p. 16):
This manual seeks to present a woman-centred model. This is a transformative model that examines and responds to women's needs in the context of her family and community and advocates for systemic social change. The strength of a woman-centred approach is based on working toward women's liberation through an end to oppression. Specifically, this ideology must serve to inform and direct efforts to manage and support the complexity of needs presented by NSRIW who have been exposed to and are still at risk of intimate partner violence. Dealing appropriately with the spectrum of unique challenges facing NSRIW springs from a commitment to and an understanding of woman-centred values and social justice. A women-centred approach is not necessarily about providing multicultural services. Instead it is about putting women at the centre and recognizing that violence against women is about patriarchal power and control, racism, anti-immigrant prejudice and discrimination and classism.
In light of this model, the aim of the Pedagogy, Liberation, and Activism Program is for students to collectively apply their critical understandings of pedagogical, gendered, racialized, political, economic, and curriculum issues in developing student-centered frameworks to rewrite and edit the Empowering Non-Status, Refugee, and Immigrant Women Who Experience Violence manual. It is our goal for students to become involved in the world and with the world by communicating their knowledge about violence against women and how it is informed by various other forms of oppression from local and global perspectives to high school students. In this project, students can introduce new ideas, chapters, concepts, and theoretical and historical frameworks that they deem necessary and important to educate youth population about the effects of the intersections of various forms of oppression, culminating in the violence against women. In short, we strive to develop engaging, critical, practical, and transforming teaching material that is produced by youth for youth.
We pose the following pedagogical questions to student to guide their approaches to revising the Empowering manual in this project:
- What/who is a feminist? What are the characteristics and assumptions of different kinds of feminism? What are their similarities and differences? How do they view and attempt to resolve violence against women and girls and marginalized groups?
- How can we get high school students and youth to identify with feminist issues and to better understand the consequences and causes of violence against women and girls?
- What does a feminist pedagogy look like? What are its basic assumptions? How can we practice it?
- How can you illustrate for youth some of the concepts, ideas, and theories that are discussed in the manual, so they can better relate to these issues?
- What kinds of information, activities, and critical questions can you pose for them to become involved in critically analyzing issues of violence from multiple standpoints?
The revised version of Empowering Non-Status, Refugee, and Immigrant Women Who Experience Violence manual will be launched in January of 2013 at KPU and will be available in print and digital formats for educators and organizations.