Academic Women's Studies in the Republic of Ireland

Byrne, Anne (1992) Academic Women's Studies in the Republic of Ireland. pp. 15-27.


As a postgraduate or diploma-granting interdisciplinary option; taught within academic institutions, women's studies has only recently; emerged in the Republic of Ireland. This article briefly summarizes; the current provision of women's studies classes, offering; information on their number and status. In examining the discipline's; development, we note that courses have grown along the; lines of least resistance, often shaped by institutional requirements,; resources, and available (though often not very generous) facilities.; As a result, women's studies' success in its initial phases has been; largely dependent on voluntary labor. It is no accident that the thirdlevel; (post-secondary or college-level) institutions in which programs; currently exist have either an active women's studies center or a loose; network of interested persons providing the energy, dedication, and; expertise needed in inaugurate the programs.; We then look at a number of pedagogical and ideological issues; based on the author's six years of experience with women's studies; undergraduates, both within the disciplines of political science and; sociology and as part of an interdisciplinary course available to all; faculty of arts students. Teaching women's studies confronts the activist; instructor with a number of issues calling for examination within; the discipline. The relationship between teacher and student,; for example, needs reworking so that both engage actively in learning.; We privilege discussion time in tutorials and seminars to enable; participants to grasp the unique challenges of the field. Since; feminist pedagogy critiques values and norms that the dominant; ideology continually reinforces, students often begin by rejecting the; reconceptualization of gender relations, thus requiring extensive; coaching on the basis of female oppression. Feminist research and; theory function as the essential underpinning in the growth of women's; studies programs.

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