Education for Social Transformation: Infusing Feminist Ethics and Critical Pedagogy into Community-Based Research

Cynthia Ganote, Patrizia Longo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we lay bare the theoretical underpinnings for the pervasive individualist model that shapes many community engagement courses, and then we present and analyze a case study based on a collaborative community-based research model developed by the co-authors. By shifting the theoretical foundations for community-based research, and more specifically, grounding our work in feminist ethics and critical pedagogy theories, we created linked courses that weave both collaborative theory and practice into the fabric of the courses. Upon teaching these courses, we found that students responded in an overwhelmingly positive way to collaborative theoretical models and to collaborative dialogical practice in the classroom, but when it came to team-based work conducted with community members, student responses were mixed. Reactions to collaborative grading practice conducted by faculty members and the community partner were more unanimous: a majority of students expressed confusion and discomfort with this practice. Collaborative theory and dialogical practice, then, were uniformly embraced in the classroom, while team-based work and evaluation in the community provided more discomfort and displeasure. This finding reiterates the pervasiveness of individualist thinking, even when students have chosen courses that are expressly collaborative in both theory and practice.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalCritical Sociology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

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