Dr. Jeana M. Hrepich, Core Faculty and Associate Chair of the MA in Teaching program in the AUS School of Education, presented her paper “Ecofeminist Children’s Literature and Social Activist Teaching” at the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum‘s annual conference in Denver, October 5th, 2017. The theme of this year’s conference was “Ecology, Sustainability, Creativity, and Well Being.”
In her paper, Dr. Hrepich acknowledges that teachers across America who value social justice are grappling with how they can move forward given the political chasms in their communities. She writes, “The 2016 presidential election and the subsequent Trump presidency has normalized racism, sexism, violence, xenophobia and more oppressive thinking and practices. Curriculums that utilize ecofeminism and ecofeminist literature can address all this and more on a radical continuum.”
Dr. Hrepich’s paper suggests ecofeminisms and ecofeminist literature as a lens to promote sustainability, cooperation, balance, and interconnectedness as human and social justice values across various contingencies and political affiliations. Citing ecofeminist theories and demonstrating children’s literature interpreted through an ecofeminist lens, her goal is to help teachers gain access to radical conversations in their classrooms.
Some children’s literature cited in the presentation included Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell, Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor, What Matters by Alison Hughes and Holly Hatam, The Branch by Mireille Messier, and Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner. Dr. Hrepich modeled interpreting these texts through an ecofeminist lens that values interconnectedness of all things and the imperative for cooperation and balance for continued survival. “Who better than to lead the radical effort needed in order for the planet to survive” she asks, “than the children who inherit the earth?”