After earning a PhD in Women’s Studies from an urban, multicultural, R1 university in 2020, I accepted a teaching position at the University of Wyoming, where I was hired primarily to teach feminist and critical race-focused courses. When an in-person position suddenly moved entirely online, I found myself facing not only the culture shock of teaching at a rural, primarily White institution whose state legislature and general populace are largely hostile to antiracist feminism, but also the myriad daily challenges of teaching online during a global pandemic. I had felt personally prepared--as a White lesbian raised in a rural environment, as a critical race and critical Whiteness studies scholar, and as a new graduate trained at a university that leads innovations in online pedagogy--to teach in this environment. I was wrong and immediately began to struggle. When the Wyoming state Senate passed a budget amendment in February 2022 to defund “gender studies courses, academic programs, co-curricular programs, [and] extracurricular programs” related to gender, I was forced to face the extent of my burnout and the damage that burnout had done to my feminist pedagogical practice. Drawing upon bell hooks’ Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, I reflect on the past two years, what it means to teach feminist antiracism in a predominantly White and politically hostile space and how embracing a pedagogy of hope may be the only way to escape our own personal burnout and prevent us from accepting burnout as an inevitable consequence of the challenges we face as feminist educators.
Vandermeade, Samantha L.
"Resisting Burnout: bell hooks’ Pedagogy of Hope and Teaching Antiracist Feminism Online at the University of Wyoming During the Covid-19 Pandemic,"
Feminist Pedagogy: Vol. 3:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/feministpedagogy/vol3/iss1/4