Degree Granting Department
Gary L. Lemons
critical consciousness, Homer, hooks, middle school, pedagogy
What happens when a classroom becomes more than just a site of intellectual growth and evolves into a locus of emotional, social, and spiritual transformation? What happens when a student in such a classroom also occupies the role of teacher and desires to reproduce such a transformative environment for his students? In brief, this thesis answers these questions by offering a narrative and critique of my personal "conscientization" via feminism and elucidates the theory behind, my approaches toward, and the results of my bringing graduate-level feminist theory and pedagogy to a middle school English classroom. I examine how my experiences as a student in both the past and the present have merged to shape my work as a teacher and have set me on the path to becoming a professor, not only in the sense of a college teacher as a profession but as a person who professes, who openly declares the truths of my past as both dehumanizer and dehumanized to help others come to critical consciousness.
First, I autobiographically critique my learning and assimilation of The Iliad and The Odyssey in middle school, reflecting upon how these works occupied a major part of my indoctrination into the hyper-masculine, white, patriarchal, upper-class dogma of the culture, as well as bringing a feminist perspective to bear upon these personally influential epics. Next, I examine my studies in the University of South Florida's master's program in English literature and, in particular, my direct and life-changing encounter with feminism in a 2009 course in feminist theory, which facilitated a complete re-visioning of my life and led to a personal renaissance. The final part of this circular path leads me back to my teaching of the same classical texts that so greatly influenced me as a young man, and I explain how my transformative experiences with both feminist theory and pedagogy motivated me to distill their critical approaches into a form and format that I have successfully implemented for my middle-school classroom.
Scholar Commons Citation
Neumeister, Scott Leslie, "Circling Back Home: A Lifelong Odyssey into Feminism" (2012). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.