From Patricia Hill Collins to Dorothy Smith: Using Social Theory in the Classroom

Donna C Giuliani, Pauline S Acosta, Brigitte Helene Bechtold, Amanda Garrison

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Foucault, Hill Collins, and Dorothy Smith are theorists discussed in any contemporary social theory course. But what of theory beyond the social theory course? Sociological theory is an important component of all levels of the sociological classroom, yet its use is often limited. In this paper, we contribute to the sociological theory discussion by focusing on how to apply and discuss theory in order to teach difficult subject matter, within various levels of sociology courses. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how four sociologists of various social locations (and statuses within the academy) use social theory to explore boundaries. We will explain how we personally have established or are pushing power boundaries between teacher and student, so that the uncomfortable space that is created—for student and teacher alike—helps explain concepts and make them more accessible to students. We provide examples of various types of contemporary theory to demonstrate the importance of theory beyond the social theory classroom. The classroom is the ideal place to incorporate how the inequalities of race, gender and class are socially constructed and work together to produce, maintain and contribute to oppression and privilege. Using this perspective, the classroom becomes a place to examine privilege and oppression constructed within Patricia Hill Collins’ “matrix of domination.” The classroom is also the ideal place to use theory and personal experiences related to gender violence, the current child abuse sex scandals or racial discrimination to help students visualize that contemporary problemsare real and are endemic in all social locations.
    Original languageEnglish
    StatePublished - Apr 13 2012
    EventNorth Central Sociological Association Annual Meetings - Pittsburgh PA
    Duration: Apr 13 2012Apr 13 2012


    ConferenceNorth Central Sociological Association Annual Meetings


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