Gender SEAMS Research Team
Gender SEAMS Research Projects
Injecting Feminism into Undergraduate Research: In Defense of Jessica's Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Women's Guide to Why Feminism Matters
- Samantha Christopher, Kirsten Dalquist, Kim Gambrell, Lauren Kelly, and Elizabeth Sharp
Research has consistently indicated that misperceptions and misunderstandings of feminism are common in the wider culture and within the academy (Budgeon 2001; McCabe, 2005; Rich, 2005; author citation), fueling hesitations for college students to engage in feminist discussions (Webber, 2006) and to participate in feminist research. All of these issues raise the question: How do feminist-identified faculty and feminist-identified graduate students effectively encourage undergraduate students to learn and apply feminist theories in their research projects? To answer this question we experimented with a popular press book, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters. We (two PhD students and a faculty member) intentionally sought to find ways to stimulate productive discussions and promote clearer understandings of fundamental tenants of feminism among a group of undergraduate research assistants working with the faculty member. In this presentation, we discuss the ways in which the book helped facilitate feminist understandings, set the tone for the work of the research team, and served as site of critical analysis. We share research assistants' reactions, our reflections, and some cautions about the book.