FEMINIST ACTION IN LITERATURE TEACHING

H. Sfeir

Lebanese American University (LEBANON)
Feminism is a call for action; when integrated into any discipline, it is not to lose this major objective. However, when feminism is invested in university courses in Lebanon, particularly in Literature teaching, it remains within the boundaries of the text and misses out on the most important item on its agenda, social action. In this work, I look into the context of this gap in teaching literature and feminism then propose a relevant plan for integrating feminist action in higher education literature courses. The conducted study is focused on the literature students and instructors of 4 important English-speaking universities in Lebanon. I start by presenting proof of the absence of action through 4 mediums: video recording of 10 lectures on literature and feminism, narrative accounts of 75 students and 6 literature instructors, 10 unstructured student group interviews, and 2 sets of questionnaires–1 set disseminated to 15 literature teachers and the other to 100 literature students. I then propose a 3-phase action plan to incorporate feminist action in literature courses. The proposition is based on a personal and peer action research approach to teaching literature; it involves discourse analysis of literature lectures by 5 teachers, field notes, individual interviews and narrative accounts. The action plan comprises a comparative acknowledgement of the literary piece’s time and cultural background, a placement of the literary piece in contemporary context and finally a mobilization into relative feminist action.