Committee ChairEnos, Theresa
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation is a study of feminist research methodologies through which I analyze the results of an empirical study I conducted in 1994 in collaboration with Dr. Tilly Warnock and Julie Jung. This study, funded by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, began with a survey, sent to 900 female writing teachers at 100 US universities, asking questions about gender-specific problems and student-to-teacher harassment in the writing classroom. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents reported having experienced gender-specific conflicts with students. These problems range from disruptive behavior in class to sexual harassment and assault. While these conflicts are obviously common among female writing teachers, very little research has focused on these issues because traditional research methods tend to ignore women's unique subject positions. Drawing on the postmodern philosophies of Foucault and Derrida, and feminist theories of research methodologies (including Sandra Harding, Mary Fonow, Judith Cook, Gesa Kirsch, and Joy Ritchie), I argue that feminist research must begin with a personal location of the researcher within the research process, that feminist research is a collaborative effort among researchers and between researchers and participants, that feminist research is both about and for women, that feminist research focuses on the everyday experiences of women in their personal and public lives, and that feminist research resists essentializing the concerns of women, resists silencing multiple and alternative interpretations. I analyze these characteristics in various feminist research projects and attempt to exemplify them in my own study. Thus, my dissertation has a duel purpose. First, I want to argue that feminist research methodologies are valuable because they offer alternatives to traditional conventions of research, which often serve to perpetuate prejudice against women, people of color, and other oppressed groups. Second, I want to add to the voices of other feminist scholars who are creating multiplicities of truths, each situated within a specific context, each growing from situated subjectivities.