For four years (2017-2022) I was part of a teaching team to teach the subject of International Relations (IR) to second-year Bachelor International Studies students. The course was structured to have twelve lectures; these lectures were to be delivered by the course leaders to an audience of 500-800 students. In addition to the lectures, students had four tutorial classes, where the rest of the teaching team worked with smaller groups of students (12-15 students in each group). These classes were designed to help the students link theories and practices. As a woman of colour teaching IR in a Dutch university, I found myself rather ‘out of place’. IR in itself is a rather white discipline, and is often taught from the position of privilege, and detached from reality. This was also the case for our course. In this paper, I would like to share how I taught IR in my classrooms: making visible my presence as a woman of colour and including myself in the IR picture, making visible where people like me are placed in the subject. From here we then look at the concepts students were expected to understand: where they come from, how they came into existence, who are behind these concepts, whose interests these concepts are serving, and at whose expense. By sharing this experience, I hope to contribute to existing practices of teaching privileged subjects from the position that those subjects were meant to silence/erase.
"International Relations from Below: Teaching Absences in International Relations,"
Feminist Pedagogy: Vol. 4:
1, Article 15.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/feministpedagogy/vol4/iss1/15
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