As a part of the Spring 2016 undergraduate CONF 399 'Gender in Peace and Conflict' course, students were required to present a creative reflection piece on the last day of class that responded to course readings and themes discussed during the semester. The course was designed to provide students with a theoretical grounding in feminist analyses of conflict and injustice, with the final month of class oriented to discussions and readings on the theme of agency and resistance. In this final month, we utilized our newly developed feminist lenses to consider questions relating to representation, self-representation, art, and activism as forms of feminist practice and resistance to oppression. Course readings in this month included short pieces by Angela Davis, poetry by Audre Lorde, and Octavia Butler's science fiction novel, Dawn. Through our engagement with these works, we considered how creative forms of representation may serve to destabilize dominant and oppressive discourses relating to gender, race, and sexuality and how these forms may assist with expanding the discursive space to imagine emancipatory, peaceful futures.
The students showed much enthusiasm for this project and their presentations included song lyrics, poetry, graphic design, choreographed dance, video, painting, and photography on a wide range of topics relating to gender, conflict, and violence. Following their presentations, the students remarked that producing a creative piece allowed them to think through the course material and their own personal relationship with the theories and topics covered in the class in a different way; that this project facilitated a different kind of learning and way to synthesize the material. The representations shared were provocative and facilitated reflection and emotional connection with the content.
Below are some of the creative pieces that the students agreed to share.