Pedagogy of the opaque: Teaching masculinity studies Chapter uri icon


  • It is the second week of the semester, and a student in my class on recodings of masculinity in contemporary I American culture raises his hand and, in response to some feminist theoretical material or other, asks," What does masculinity have to do with feminism?" This has happened each time I've taught this course, and while it always surprises me, the question is in fact at the heart of this pedagogical enterprise: What does feminism have to do with masculinity, and how does a feminist teacher negotiate the set of conflicting expectations of what it means for students to take a course on (in?) masculinity? In this essay, I theorize from my experience of teaching courses in masculinity over the past five years in order to offer some insight about the future of masculinity studies within feminism. I suggest that some of the problems that emerge in the classroom are versions of the problems that have emerged within feminist analyses of masculinity on the academic scene. My aim is to push the study of masculinity forward by underlining the complex emotional as well as political roadblocks to the feminist agenda of reconstructing masculinity. By no means do I exempt myself from my own criticism; in fact, much of what I have to say here I have learned from my efforts to "teach masculinity".

author list (cited authors)

  • Robinson, S. A.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Gardiner, J. K.

Book Title

  • Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory: New Directions

publication date

  • August 2013