Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

Carolyn DiPalma, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D.


privilege, racism, sexism, classism, anti-racist, feminist, feminist theory, rhetoric, composition, affect, emotion


My thesis project is an argument for and an investigation into the complex dynamics of what I term a critical, feminist, anti-racist pedagogy. Drawing from scholarly work in the fields of feminist theory, cultural studies, whiteness studies, and rhetoric and composition, in what follows I argue for a “blurring” of the traditional reason-emotion split that, I believe, continues to stifle learners in today’s U.S. educational system. I then offer a pedagogical theory that rejects or “blurs” this split, acknowledges and examines the affective realm, and is fueled by the more holistic notion and theory of “love as a hermeneutic” put forth by self-identified U.S. third-world feminist Chéla Sandoval. Next, I make connections between Sandoval’s theory and the work of several contemporary feminist scholars who theorize “love” and the formation of powerful coalitions that can work toward fostering democratizing social change in U.S. society today. Many feminist critics have argued against an “ethic of care” (which is closely related to theorizations of love), claiming it perpetuates racism and sexism, among other forms of discrimination. I discuss and problematize these critiques and come to argue that, ultimately, they can be mobilized to forward and enrich my concept of a critical, feminist, anti-racist pedagogy attuned to affect and geared toward democratizing social change.