Consciousness, healing, and women's literacy practices: a feminist critique
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
vi, 236 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Women's and Gender Studies
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This research surveys scholarly work on consciousness, healing, and women's literacy practices with the goal to characterize current arguments on women's healing and critique those claims from a feminist perspective. Scholars contend that literacy practices, or reading and writing, promote healing for women's traumatized consciousness by stimulating empathetic connection, opening space for dialogic interaction, and fostering personal agency. These changes occur across three "domains of consciousness": physiological, psychological, and socio-cultural. My critique, based on feminist analyses of gendered emotion, emotional labor, and discursive politics, reveals that arguments for the salutary effects of women's literacy practices fail to account for structural inequalities that affect women's consciousness in each domain. This deficit weakens research claims and limits practical approaches to women's healing. I suggest methodological and conceptual adjustments to improve the comprehensiveness and accuracy of research and the effectiveness of interventions for women in a Western patriarchal context.