The 'Feminine' University: exploring the possibilities of radically re-thinking higher education within a Cixousian theoretical framework

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Abstract

This paper steps outside conventional discourse in order to offer an alternative reading of the challenges facing higher education. By employing a theoretical framework usually associated with literary theory we draw attention to the basic assumptions that underpin debates on higher education. We argue that ideas about knowledge, teaching and learning have come to be tied to ‘masculine’ concepts of property and ownership. Such an economy maintains traditional hierarchies and limits our ability to imagine and construct different ways of working and practising. Hélène Cixous' (1975/1986) notion of ‘the realm of the gift’, in which she imagines a possible alternative 'feminine' economy based on generosity, hope and transformation, offers a way out from such restrictions. We argue that through the creation of ‘feminine’ spaces within universities new ways of thinking and acting can begin to flourish and the modern university can become a place where real transformative learning can emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 8 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventSRHE Annual Conference - Swansea, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Dec 20093 Dec 2009

Conference

ConferenceSRHE Annual Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySwansea
Period1/12/093/12/09

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