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Looking for Gaps and Asking Questions from New Perspectives

The cultures of disciplines reflect societal norms, often unwittingly. These cultures may be gendered (through a normative gender division of labor) or may view their subjects from an exclusively Eurocentric perspective. When these viewpoints are taken to be the only possible objective and true approaches to the subject matter, the resulting knowledge neglects the multiplicity of possible perspectives and raises the risk of tunnel vision.

Intersectional, gender- and diversity-conscious teaching emboldens students to stretch their familiar perspectives, reflect critically on them, or if necessary abandon them altogether. They can then approach academic questions and subjects from other, no less scholarly, angles.

Here are some sample questions for such a change of perspective: Which authors and researchers ought to be included in a field’s canon? Who ought not to be? Why? Since when has this been the case? Can familiar authors or researchers be critically reinterpreted in ways that clarify how they reached their positions and findings, which power relations, or conflicts of interest they are embedded in, and how their knowledge has historically informed other areas of society? Do technological innovations “have” a gender, a skin color, a social class? How can scholarly controversies over specific topics be historically contextualized? How do academic/scientific paradigms take hold? How do they fade? Which researchers had a share in developing theories or groundbreaking studies that are relevant today? Were they granted due recognition for their role? What findings come out of adopting a different perspective? What is the relationship between “new” and “established” knowledge?

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Literatur und Links:

Bath, Corinna. 2015. De-Gendering informatischer Artefakte.

Dhawan, Nikita. 2014. Decolonizing enlightenment: transnational justice, human rights and democracy in a postcolonial world. Opladen [u.a.]: Budrich.

Matsuda, Mari J. 1991. Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory out of Coalition. Stanford Law Review 43: 1183–1192.

Winker, Gabriele, und Nina Degele. 2009. Intersektionalität: Zur Analyse sozialer Ungleichheiten. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.

Version April 2017. Unless otherwise stated, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence.