The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Navigation: Quick Links

Rafters and skylights in the English Building




Colloquium Archive

Gesa Kirsch

Name: Gesa Kirsch, National Council of Teachers of English

Presentation Title: "Advocacy in the Classroom"

Date: October 10, 1997

Abstract

The following questions are some which will be addressed: What is the role of advocacy in the classroom? What are appropriate and inappropriate uses of advocacy? How do we--or can we--distinguish it from other forms of knowledge? What are its promises and dangers?

This talk highlights findings from an interview study with academic women in five different disciplines. Questions addressed include: How do women establish their authority as readers and writers in the academy? How do women's experiences vary across disciplines, across ranks, and across questions? How do women represent and address different kinds of audiences? Professor Kirsch also addresses the politics of interpretation and representation in feminist research. What happens when scholars transform lived experiences into research narratives? Can we represent and interpret the experiences of others without misappropriating, misrepresenting, or colonizing their lives? She explores ethical dilemmas that can arise in interview studies and argues that scholar must take responsibility for their studies by examining who benefits from the research, whose interests are at stake, and what potential consequences the research might have for participants.