Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Trajectories of Coming to Feminist Consciousness

Juliet Perumal.

The paper examines three discernible movements in the participants’ identification and espousal to feminist discourses. Refuting the suggestion that coming to feminist consciousness is a linear process, the paper offers a useful framework to examine the experiential processes that invariably characterise feminist identity constructions. The three movements comprising:
movement one: explores the introspective gaze of sensing and experiencing the dailiness of patriarchy
movement two: outward gaze: naming patriarchy and coming to feminist consciousness
movement three: theorising and teaching about oppression.
The paper further examines two distinct patterns in feminist identity development, viz. pattern of change: transformation of personal world, which postulates that the women move from a traditional to a transformed personal and political worldview, and pattern of continuity: discovery of fit, which postulates that the women resist gender-based discrimination from an early age, thus merely assume the label feminist when they encounter the discourse and find a vocabulary to articulate what they have always felt. The paper further explores the various strands of feminist thinking the participants subscribe to, and briefly identifies the influences of people, places and publications that support the trajectory of coming to feminist consciousness. It concludes with testimonies of the impact espousal and identification with feminist discourses has on the participants’ personal and professional personae, and signals the need to differentiate between identity and identification as an important point of consideration in the pedagogical practice of the feminist teacher.


Juliet Perumal  (South Africa)
School of Education
University of the Witwatersrand

Juliet Perumal teaches in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research interests include critical literacy, multilingual education and feminist pedagogy. She is currently researching the enactment of feminist pedagogy in multilingual contexts.

  • Identity Construction
  • Feminist Consciousness
  • Identity
  • Identitification

(Virtual Presentation, English)