Border pedagogy – using feminist theory to inform the design of learning activities within gender-based violence prevention education

Giroux argued that radical educators have largely failed to harness advances in social theory in ways that permit them to straddle the boundary between theory and pedagogical practice (Giroux, 1992). A quarter of a century has passed. The binary of theory-method remains a central challenge, both for researchers who continue to seek to align research methods with poststructural and materialist theory (Coleman & Ringrose, 2013), and for educators seeking to design generative learning activities within violence prevention education.

Whilst theory has evolved at a great rate in the last quarter century, the struggle take theory to practice remains a major epistemological challenge. It shows up for those with an interest in research methods, and for those with a commitment to creating transformative education programs.

In this presentation Professor Helen Cahill will discuss ways in which she has drawn upon poststructuralist feminist theory to inform design of gender-based violence prevention programs, in particular Butler’s theory of the performativity of gender (Butler, 2004); Foucault’s concepts of power/knowledge, governmentality and technologies of the self (Foucault, 1988); and the concept of assemblage as posited by Deleuze and Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1993).

Helen will explore ways in which pedagogy is “implicated in the construction of knowledge” (Giroux, 1992, p. 3). The discussion draws on examples from two open-access resilience and respectful relationships education programs developed by Helen: Connect with Respect, developed for UNESCO Asia-Pacific region; and Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program, developed for the Victorian Department of Education in Australia.

Professor Helen Cahill

Professor Helen Cahill

Professor Helen Cahill uses poststructural theory to inform participatory and transformative education. She has developed many Australian wellbeing programs addressing gender, resilience and respectful relationships, and a number of gender rights and sexuality education programs for women and young people in developing countries within the Asia-Pacific region.