Minding the Body

Anastasia Ioanna Kayiatos, Joan Ostrove


In the Fall of 2013 we team-taught a disability studies course for a small group of first-year students. The course, Minding the Body, integrated scholarship from disability studies, feminist/queer studies, psychology, and Russian Studies. Originally envisioned and taught independently in the Fall of 2012 by Joan Ostrove and focused entirely on the U.S., Anastasia Kayiatos's arrival in the Department of German and Russian Studies at Macalester College afforded us an opportunity for collaboration and co-instruction that we found invigorating, compelling, and transformative. Grounded from the outset in disability studies, the course asked students to interrogate such questions as: What is a "normal" body? A "beautiful" body? Why do we feel the way we do about our bodies? How are bodies objectified, exploited, and regulated? How and why do we discriminate against people with non-normative bodies? How do people represent the experience of having a disabled body? How can we think critically about the various ways in which people change, regulate, and enhance their bodies? How do sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of oppression influence how different bodies are viewed, treated, educated, and experienced? The integration of Russian Studies importantly allowed us to ask how these questions and ideas change when we travel across time and geographical space. In our paper we will reflect on our experience of co-authoring the syllabus (we will include both the solo-taught and co-taught versions of the syllabus in an appendix); outline some of our techniques for team-teaching; and analyze an exemplary assignment and class meeting. We will conclude with a final word about the unique forms of teaching and learning that happened in our class as a consequence of its collaborative and interdisciplinary approach, which opened up new perspectives in disability studies not only for our students but also for us.


Pedagogy; Russian Studies; psychology; queer theory; feminist studies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v35i2.4644

Copyright (c) 2015 Anastasia Ioanna Kayiatos, Joan Ostrove

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