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AbleMedia salutes Alice Garrett

Teaching Latin with a Feminist Consciousness

In order to do that, you are going to have to go back and rethink a lot of things about the history and culture you teach. A helpful guide in all this is the historian Gerda Lerner. The introduction to her book The Creation of Patriarchy contains some of her ideas about the relationship of women to history:

  • Women are and have been central, not marginal, to the making of society and to the building of civilization.
  • Women have been kept from contributing to history-making, that is, the ordering and interpretation of the past of humankind. They have also been systematically excluded from the enterprise of creating symbol systems, philosophies, science, and law.
  • Men have explained the world in their own terms so as to make themselves the center of discourse.
  • Men are not the center of the world, but men and women are.
  • Women cannot be put into the empty spaces of patriarchal thought and systems - in moving to the center, they transform the system.

This last point is the most important one for us to consider in our own teaching. Are we just filling in some gaps, some empty spaces, some extra time, with a look at women? Or do we grasp the fact that the whole enterprise of understanding and teaching history is transformed when women are moved to the center?

In other words, the problem is not the past itself, but what we decide has been important about the past, since history-making is an act of selection, an act of deciding what is important. The past itself is not male-centered. Women have never been excluded from life. They have been involved in every human venture. What they have been kept from is the writing of history, the act of deciding what is important and what is not.




Inside Connection

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Netshot: Vergil's Aeneid

Sport & Daily Life in the Roman World

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Ad Astra: Using Latin in a Cross-curricular Science Program

Classics as a Cross-Curricular Core in the Middle School with CTCWeb as the Technological Foundation

Knowledge Builders
Zeus, Aphrodite, Hermes and more.

Teachers' Companions
Ares, Athena, Demeter and more.

Other Resources
Homepage of Barbara McManus

The Creation of Patriarchy by
Gerda Lerner

Essays on the Lives of Roman Women

Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World

The Horace Project

Global Glossary Terms
- Caesar
- Vergil
- Cicero
- Helen

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