Undergraduate courses:

Technology, Science & SocietySexualities, Genders, Bodies
Feminist Theory

Graduate courses:

Contemporary Theory
Politics of Life, Death & Disease Bodies, Technologies, Power


Teaching is an art form. Or it can be. An approach to teaching that foregrounds its possibilities as a creative practice is the most useful way to describe what I strive for in that peculiar alchemical place of the classroom. Approaching teaching as creative practice is for me a necessary correlate to approaching intellectual work as creative production. The creative aspects of both teaching and intellectual work are central, I think, to the disciplining of attention, thought, and language demanded by the activity we call ‘study.’ I want to teach in a way that compels students to want to study, to want to discipline themselves toward the creative production that is intellectual work.

While some might think of elements of my teaching practice as ‘experimental,’ I also see them as indebted to critical intellectual traditions in sociology and feminist thought. The animating principles of both these (anti)traditions include the desire and ability to locate one’s experiences in relation to history, to social structurings of power and domination, to cultural meanings and rituals of perception. To the extent that a vibrant sociological imagination encourages a critical analysis of self and society, it can simultaneously promote transformations towards a more just society, and more active participation in addressing political struggles and social problems. These are creative processes. Self and society are creative, complex constructions, open to reconstruction. My desire as a teacher is to encourage students to participate, personally and collectively, in these ongoing social processes of creation and transformation. Intellectual work is one, albeit limited, aspect of social creation. As a university teacher, it is the aspect I most want my students to experience and explore—with radical curiosity and critical collective pleasures.


Copyright © Jackie Orr 2006