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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Theory

Transfeminist Pedagogy and the Women’s Health Classroom

By Chris A. Barcelos, 2019

Women’s and gender studies courses on personal health grew out of the feminist health movements of the 1970s and remain an important component of how undergraduate students gain political consciousness around bodies and health. However, similar to many introductory women’s studies courses, health courses tend to exclude trans-gender people through their reliance on stable understandings of gendered bodies. Although scholars have analyzed the tensions and conflicts between trans studies and women’s studies more broadly, they have not yet analyzed the challenge that transgender brings to the feminist health classroom. I review the history of “women’s health” in the feminist classroom and make the case for a transfeminist pedagogy. I consider what it looks like to “trans” the women’s health curriculum and demonstrate this by detailing my revisions to a long-standing undergraduate women’s health course. Finally, I consider the political and practical importance of incorporating trans knowledges and bodies in feminist health courses.

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