Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Technologizing the Humanities: Feminist Contradictions in Global Learning

Deborah A. Gordon.

In 2000, Wichita State University, a public, urban university in the U.S., with support from Boeing industries, developed a global learning mandate. As the university website puts it, global learning “combines global reach, through modern communication technologies, and global perspectives, through interaction with learners and faculty of diverse cultures, to produce the Global Graduate.” This paper provides a reading of global learning from a feminist perspective. It examines the contradictions attending to Women’s Studies as it tries to bend the ideology of global learning to more radical educational purposes. In particular, I explore the conflict I found myself in trying to use global learning for bringing my students into direct contact with students in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Funded by my university, to redevelop a Women’s Studies course, Gender, Race and Knowledge, I discovered I had embarked on an epistemological route that endangered my project. I sought to design a course that would teach students how to critically examine the reactionary nationalism of “America” post 9/11. Ironically, from my funded grant proposal to a public report on my grant activities, I found myself continually confronting that nationalism.

The paper explores how I learned how not to do global learning through discovering myself as a bearer of “America,” and the role of higher education within that ideology.


Deborah A. Gordon  (United States)
Associate Professor
Center for Women's Studies
Wichita State University

Deborah A. Gordon has published widely in the field of feminist ethnography. She is the co-editor of Women Writing Culture, University of California Press. Her book A Troubled Border is under advanced contract with University of Michigan Press.

  • Global learning
  • Feminism
  • Palestinian Territories

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)