I need help. I have a student that will vocally resist the feminist Cracked articles I want to discuss in class for textual analysis next week. Lately he has been fist-bumping his friends when he attempts to undermine my introductions to class activities. This week we were trying to see what economic class analysis can bring to textual analysis–he was very vocal, I was flustered and incoherent (resulting from over-correcting my punk tendency to shut him down)–needless to say, I don’t want that to happen again.
But, I also don’t know what to do. I don’t want to dump the unit because I think it is important and I worked hard planning it, and I don’t want to alienate the student or allow him to shut down others that might have something to add to the discussion. And I really don’t want to argue against him as though I am the only voice for equal-rights in the universe–I don’t want that responsibility. And to be honest I don’t feel like my passion for this political angle in rhetoric and composition does me in favors in the classroom. It helps my research, but I think it hinders me in the classroom because I know how to respond to attempts to undermine political theory, but then the ‘class’ becomes two dudes debating (very problematic when discussing feminism), and everyone else shuts down.
His favorite thing to do is call anything he disagrees with bias. I have tried to make students think more carefully about what they mean by that word because most just mean “thesis” when they say “bias.” It is not working with him. How do I get him to see that feminism is a response to systemic bias and not merely the favoring of women over men or an attempt to bash men or make him feel bad for being a man? More importantly, how do I turn his attempt to undermine the theory into a proper class discussion that everyone can participate in?