“Responding to a “Conquistadora”: readers talk about gender in Mexican secondary schools

Arizpe, E. (2001) “Responding to a “Conquistadora”: readers talk about gender in Mexican secondary schools. Gender and Education, 13(1), pp. 25-37. (doi: 10.1080/09540250124426)

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Publisher's URL: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/09540253.asp

Abstract

Mexican classroom practices (reinforced by social convention) prescribe approved responses to historical and fictional characters in literature, mobilizing powerful preconceptions of gender. Although students may attempt to resist or subvert these representations, their opinions usually remain unexpressed. This paper presents the results of a study on gender and reading in Mexican secondary schools which also attempted to provide a space for readers to voice their own responses. Year 8 students were interviewed about an adolescent novel that relates the adventures of Maria de Estrada, a female conquistador . Analysis of the qualitative data drew upon poststructuralist and feminist criticism, together with reader-response theory, to consider conceptions about gender, the dynamics between the reader and the text and the expression of response. Results revealed some of the young people's concerns and anxieties about gender issues and how their understanding of these is constantly subjected to modifications by the media, education and life experiences. It is suggested that because students were also found to be aware of possible shifts in gender patterns, the discussion of alternative texts and characters could stimulate their critical skills and encourage them to become more vocal.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Arizpe, Professor Evelyn
Authors: Arizpe, E.
Subjects:L Education > LC Special aspects of education
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Gender and Education
Publisher:Routledge
ISSN:0954-0253
ISSN (Online):1360-0516
Published Online:02 July 2010

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