Teaching & Innovation

Demonstrating the Diversity and Dynamism of Women’s Studies

Maki Motapanyane

Women’s Studies Professor Maki Motapanyane specializes in feminist and critical race theory, feminism in Africa, cultural studiesMothering in Hip-Hop Culture (Hip-Hop culture and racialized humour), and motherhood studies. She has published on feminist theory, transnational feminist research methods, racialized humour and comedy, and women and mothers in the context of North American Hip-Hop cultures. Her most recent edited collection, Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture: Representation and Experience (Demeter, 2012), explores the lives and contributions of mothers to artistic and cultural production. Her forthcoming edited collection, Motherhood and Lone/Single Parenting: A 21st Century Perspective (Demeter, 2015), takes into account current trends in (economic, political, cultural) globalization, technological advancement, shifts in political, economic and social policy, contemporary demographic shifts, changing trends in the labour sector, and developments in legislative and judicial policy, in order to examine the current landscape of debates, policies and experiences surrounding single motherhood and one-parent headed families.

Critical Pedagogy and transformative learning
Motapanyane’s teaching methods are inspired by a tradition of liberatory education, focusing on feminist, anti-racist and anti-oppression teaching philosophies. The methods impart discipline specific information and develop key skills (writing, communication, critical thinking, research, data analysis), but also crucially, support students in a profound consideration of themselves in relationship to the subject matter of their learning. Education in this sense, whether about global economics, the gendered history of the U.N. human rights paradigm, liberation ecology and ecofeminism, or the relationship of low political efficacy to social marginalization, is bolstered by critical collective dialogue, and dares to consider the possibility and pedagogical utility of “love” (politically speaking) in the classroom setting. In her classrooms, Motapanyane works to foster creativity and collaborative learning practices, participation (individual and collective agency and ownership over the learning process) and a use of theory that accentuates relevance to daily life.

Motapanyane’s course “WMST 3311 Race, Representation, and Femininity: Through Hip-Hop Culture” explores Hip-Hop culture using feminist and dialogue-based learning methods. The course centres feminist analysis to examine a variety of social, economic and political issues that shape the manifestation and representation of “race”, gender and class in 20th and 21st century U.S. and Canada. In the Fall term of 2013, students enrolled in the course were introduced to advanced feminist theory and assisted in the application of qualitative survey methods and data analysis to a final assignment in which they conducted informal opinion surveys of their social networks. Students used feminist theory ranging from psychoanalysis and philosophy (e.g. Sandra Lee Bartky’s work on psychological oppression), to critical race and anti-racist theory (bell hooks’ notion of “eating the Other”) to prepare for the implementation of their survey and the assessment of their findings. Patterns in the garnered responses were compiled into a report that assessed these responses with attention to the extent of a respondent’s demonstrated familiarity with Hip-Hop culture, its history, and the debates around “race”/racism/sexism in Hip-Hop. Motapanyane then arranged for students to accompany her on the feminist radio program CJSW 90.9 FM “Yeah, What She Said!” to discuss the course, their thoughts on the findings of their informal survey, and what they believe these findings indicate about the relationship of Calgarians to Hip-Hop culture. This was a great opportunity for students to engage in research beyond what they would regularly do for a final term paper, and to participate in taking that research and knowledge to the broader community space of independent radio and arts and culture in Calgary. Podcasts of Motapanyane discussing Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture, and gender in Hip-Hop culture with her students on CJSW 90.9 FM’s “Yeah, What She Said!” may be accessed here:

http://cjsw.com/program/ywss/mothering-in-hip-hop-culture/ ;
http://cjsw.com/program/ywss/gender-and-hip-hop-culture/ .

Motapanyane also recently developed the course WMST 3310 Colonization/Decolonization, which is related to her research on colonial African history. The course highlights the mutually reinforced relationship between “race”, gender (including sexuality) and class in colonial projects, and investigates the centrality of this intersectional dynamic in anti-colonial movements. The course will be offered beginning in Winter 2015.

Maki MotapanyaneMotapanyane’s in-progress teaching initiatives include developing a service-learning component for the Women’s Studies program in collaboration with community partners, establishing an international travel study course, and designing an Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) program with campus partners at Mount Royal University.

Some of Motapanyane’s publications appear below:

Motapanyane, M., ed. Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture: Representation and Experience. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2012.

Motapanyane, M. “Nostalgia and Poetry: Reflections on Research, Creative Expression and Fieldwork Across Borders.” Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, and Social Justice 36.1 (2013): 12-21.

Campbell, Mark V., and Maki Motapanyane. “Mothering the Northside:Hip-Hop Mothers North of the 49th Parallel.” In M. Motapanyane, ed. Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture: Representation and Experience (129-164). Bradford: Demeter Press, 2012.

Motapanyane, M. “Capitalizing on Multiculturalism: Reading the Success of Canadian Comedian Russell Peters.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 25 (Spring 2011): 97-113.

Motapanyane, M. “Insider/Outsider: A Feminist Introspective on Epistemology and Transnational Research.” Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal/Revue d’etudes sur les femmes (Special Issue: Across the Generations in Women’s Studies) 34.2 (2010): 96-103.

Motapanyane, M. “Notes on Agency, Empowerment and Feminist Consciousness: A look at South Africa.” Nevi Sara Kali: Roma Women’s Journal/Romane зuvleanqe зurnalo, no. 2 (2010).
http://www.femrom.ro/nevikali.html

Calixte, Shana L., Johnson, Jennifer L. & Motapanyane, J. Maki. “Liberal, Socialist and Radical Feminism: An Introduction to Three Theories About Women’s Oppression (Revised).” In N. Mandell, ed. Feminist Issues: Race, Class and Sexuality, 5th Edition (1-39). Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2010.

Motapanyane, M. “The Black Female Body and Artist in Canadian Hip-Hop: The Question of Femini(st)ne Space.” New Dawn: Journal of Black Canadian Studies 1.1 (Spring 2006): 28-49.

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