The Teacher's Body

Embodiment, Authority, and Identity in the Academy

Edited by Diane P. Freedman & Martha Stoddard Holmes
Foreword by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Afterword by Madeleine R. Grumet

Subjects: Education
Paperback : 9780791457665, 290 pages, July 2003
Hardcover : 9780791457658, 290 pages, July 2003

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Table of contents

Foreword: Bodies Enter the Classroom
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson


Diane P. Freedman and Martha Stoddard Holmes

The Teacher's Body
Betty Smith Franklin

On the Desk: Dwarfism, Teaching, and the Body
Scott Andrew Smith

Body Teaching
Cortney Davis

Teaching Women's Studies, E-Mailing Cancer
Carolyn DiPalma

Johnny Mnemonic Meets the Bimbo: Feminist Pedagogy and Postmodern Performance
Diane Price Herndl

"I've Got a Blind Prof": The Place of Blindness in the Academy
Rod Michalko

My Body, Myself: A Quadriplegic's Perception of and Approach to Teaching
Richard Radtke with James Skouge

The Day the Foreign Devil Came to Class: My Teaching Body in China
Pam Whitfield

Walking on Thin Ice: The Il/legitimacy of Race and Racial Issues in the Classroom
Simone A. James Alexander

Moving Bodies
Petra Kuppers

Dancing Revolution: A Meditation on Teaching and Aging
Brenda Daly

Enforcing Diversity and Living with Disability: Learning from My First Teaching Year
Ray Pence

A "Sisterly Camaraderie" and Other Queer Friendships: A Gay Teacher Interacting with Straight Students
Jonathan Alexander

Teaching Pregnant: A Case for Holistic Pedagogy
Amy Spangler Gerald

A Vessel of Possibilities: Teaching through the Expectant Body
Kimberly Wallace-Sanders

At Home at Work: Confining and Defining Pregnancy in the Academy
Allison Giffen

Coming Out Pedagogy: Risking Identity in Language and Literature Classrooms
Brenda Jo Brueggemann and Debra A. Moddelmog

Dangerous Responses
Michelle Cox and Katherine E. Tirabassi

Afterword: My Teacher's Body
Madeleine R. Grumet

Diane P. Freedman and Martha Stoddard Holmes

List of Contributors


A rich and honest conversation about professors' lives and the absurdity of trying to separate the personal from the professional.


These highly personal essays from a range of academic settings explore the palpable moments of discomfort, disempowerment, and/or enlightenment that emerge when we discard the fiction that the teacher has no body. Visible and/or invisible, the body can transform both the teacher's experience and classroom dynamics. When students think the teacher's body is clearly marked by ethnicity, race, disability, size, gender, sexuality, illness, age, pregnancy, class, linguistic and geographic origins, or some combination of these, both the mode and the content of education can change. Other, less visible aspects of a teacher's body, such as depression or a history of sexual assault, can have an equally powerful impact on how we teach and learn. The collection anatomizes these moments of embodied pedagogy as unexpected teaching opportunities and examines their apparent impact on teacher-student educational dynamics of power, authority, desire, friendship, open-mindedness, and resistance.

Diane P. Freedman is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and the author or editor of several books, including most recently Millay at 100: A Critical Reappraisal. Martha Stoddard Holmes is Assistant Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at California State University at San Marcos and the author of Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture.