(Sept. 5, 2002, Gazette)
|(Back, L-R) Jane Robinson and Danielle
Finney, staff with the St. John's Women's Centre, and Dr. Phyllis
Artiss, WS 6300 professor. (Front, L-R): April Kean, staff with the
St. John's Women's Centre, and Sheila Keats, a student in the WS 6300
A novel Womens Studies graduate course, Feminism as Community,
has united its students and inspired them to greater social activism.
This course is essential for anyone who is, or has ever been,
concerned with breaking down barriers between the academy and the community,
in hopes of realizing social change, said Vicki Hallett, one of
the course participants and a graduate student in Womens Studies.
First offered in the spring, Feminism as Community, or Womens
Studies 6300, seeks to transcend traditional academics through field
trips, student teaching, journal writing, and an Internet discussion
forum. Seven women with backgrounds ranging from sign language interpretation
to business participated in the inaugural course.
Womens Studies 6300 is about students bringing their experiences,
questions and reflections of living in many kinds of communities, sharing
these, reflecting on them, and interrogating them in the light of feminist
research, theory and practice, said Dr. Phyllis Artiss, course
instructor and an English and Womens Studies professor at Memorial.
Womens Studies 6300 is one of MUNs recent program changes
geared to fostering a stronger connection between academia and community.
Two major changes to our masters of Womens Studies
program are being implemented this year. First, we now provide entering
Womens Studies graduate students with a non-thesis option, which
allows them to do community-based internships and projects if they choose.
Second, we introduced one new course, which is required of all graduate
students: Womens Studies 6300, Feminism as Community, with a strong
component of community connections and action, said Dr. Artiss.
Rather than following the standard weekday classroom schedule, Feminism
as Community took place over five weekends during the summer.
The weekend format turned out to be perfect for the nature of
the course, said Ms. Hallett. The concentrated blocks of
time allowed for our group to do amazing things like the Womens
Historical Walk in St. Johns, take field trips to Bell Island,
the Womens Centre, Iris Kirby House, and the Lantern, and still
have time to discuss our impressions afterward while they were fresh
in our minds.
Feminism as Community left a deep impression on its first class. All
seven students contributed to the current issue of Spokeswoman, newsletter
of the St. Johns Womens Centre, and most intend to remain
on the Spokeswoman editorial committee. Two members of the class were,
as well, appointed to the Womens Centre Board. I have experienced
personal growth, feminist enlightenment, and have built friendships
that I know will last a lifetime, said Honna Janes-Hodder, a Womens
Studies 6300 student.
This course welcomes graduate students in any discipline, and others
with the approval of the instructor.
To find out more about this course and the masters of Womens
Studies, please go to www.mun.ca/womenst/Master.html.