Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Taproot Thinking: Exploring Third Spaces in Pedagogy, Educational Environments, and Literature by Diverse Women Authors
by Ada, Jessica, M.A., Prescott College, 2016, 73; 10118731
Abstract (Summary)

Stories are a form of identification and connection for human beings—connection to each other, nature, animals, landscapes (both internal and external), and the spiritual world. Whether through oral storytelling, song, the use of art, or the formal writing of literature, stories create a third space, that in-between space, where voice, identity, and place can be discovered. Stories create that third space where women, nature, and those affected by patriarchy, colonization, oppression, discrimination, can find connection and discover a path to a voice and a place. This is an important conversation in literature and this paper pushes the conversation further and explores the in-between, third spaces, found in the literature by diverse women authors. In addition, this thesis includes discussions on third spaces found in the critical, transformative pedagogy and the learning environments in higher education courses that feature diverse women’s literature. I argue that educators can embrace a critical, transformative pedagogy that allows students to move beyond sole textual and literary analysis, into third spaces of reader-listeners and reader-storytellers. This pedagogy challenges the boundaries of the western canon meta-narrative and traditional literary analysis methods and moves towards creating a third space that collectively encompasses a multitude of lenses of approaching literature by diverse women authors. I show how this third space in the classroom can prepare students to explore personal narrative, identity, and place as a parallel examination to the study of literature by diverse women authors. My research participants explore ways that educators and students move beyond the traditional textual and literary analysis methods and into a third space of connection and discovering solidarity through differences. Similar to the taproot of a dandelion—small fibrous roots that branch out laterally seeking connections—I present taproot thinking as a method of thought that metaphorically illustrates a student’s singular focus and willingness to understand situatedness—place, identity, class, race—within the study of literature by diverse women authors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clingan, Joan
Commitee: Benson, Cara, Greenblum, Ellen
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Literature, Womens studies, Pedagogy
Keywords: Community based experiential learning, Critical pedagogy, Ecofeminism, Third spaces, Transformative education, Women authors
Publication Number: 10118731
ISBN: 9781339800608
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