ABSTRACT

The Gender Fun House was a direct action project conceived of, planned, and carried out by students in an Introduction to Feminist Thought undergraduate course. This article outlines the four steps of an in-class consciousness-raising (CR) exercise adapted from radical feminism in the late 1960s and early 1970s that culminated in the Gender Fun House, which I assess to determine CR’s effectiveness as a contemporary feminist teaching strategy. CR, I argue, enables students to develop skills such as the relationship and community building needed to take direct action for political change and engage in contentious dialogues with authorities. A narrow “us versus them” approach to our socially conservative campus that emerged during the semester, however, reveals certain limitations to CR. I conclude that the CR process should be framed as inclusive of collective consciousness in order to retain its impulse of opposition while expanding its inclusion of difference, making this well-established, though controversial, feminist practice, effective for twenty-first century teaching.

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