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An Introduction to Gender Studies: Pregnancy, Parenting, and Authority in the University

Robin Silbergleid
NWSA Journal
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Spring, 2009), pp. 131-150
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20628158
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
An Introduction to Gender Studies: Pregnancy, Parenting, and Authority in the University
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Abstract

Pregnancy makes visible and immediate many critical issues in introductory courses in gender, including compulsory heterosexuality, balancing work and family life, and the processes by which we become gendered subjects. The pregnant professor appears to have a body that upholds normative beliefs about marriage and reproduction, an appearance that softens students' introduction to the critical interrogation of such beliefs. Yet the pregnant body also takes up too much space—both literally and metaphorically—potentially undermining the teacher's institutional authority by aligning her with "mom" in a setting that has historically depended upon the absence of the (female) body. This essay thus considers the ways that both the classroom and the university are pregnant with opportunities to reconsider power dynamics surrounding the body.

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