Museums as Learning Environments/Gender Identity in Literature

Posted by vm64 at May 06, 2011 03:30 PM |
Two free lectures at University of Leicester on 11 May

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 06 May 2011

The University of Leicester Graduate School celebrates the excellent work of PhD students with two free public lectures on Wednesday, 11 May.

The Doctoral Inaugural Lectures showcase the work of PhD graduates who are both outstanding academically and able to present their work in a way that is accessible and engaging to a wider audience. 

In the first lecture Towards Agency: Gender and Self Development in 20th Century Spanish American Women’s Fiction Dr Emma Staniland will focus on the Spanish American female literary genre Bildungsroman as a culturally- and gender-specific mode of writing that portrays a transition from passivity to social agency. 

Her research serves to highlight the contribution made by these women writers to the understanding of gendered identity as a social construction that remains open ended.

Dr Staniland will discuss how this narrative form, originating in late eighteenth century Germany and traditionally written by men and about male protagonists developing their identity in a male-dominated world, was adapted and changed to become one of value for modern women writers from the Spanish American region.

She will look at how novels from Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba portray the ‘construction’, ‘deconstruction’ and then ‘reconstruction’ of gendered identities, and how these phases are depicted through aspects of this journey of self-development.

The second lecture will be on Museums and Autism by Dr Susan Baldino, in which she will demonstrate how museums can support learning processes for a diverse population including learners with autism spectrum disorders.

In her doctoral fieldwork Dr Baldino developed and tested a museum community of practice that proved to be a viable framework for collaborative learning for diverse learners. The social learning model she used proved to be successful for participants and this has wide-ranging implications for museums and the world at large. 

Her work demonstrates how the museum acts as a worthwhile learning environment for different types of learners, provides a safe place where autistic learners are respected as equal partners, promotes human rights for all people, and reflects and advances progressive learning ideas.

The lectures, which are free and open to all, will start at 5.30pm in the Lecture Theatre 3 of the Ken Edwards Building. A free wine reception will follow in Cafe Piazza, on the ground floor of the Charles Wilson Building.

Please confirm your attendance by using the online booking form, by e-mailing or by calling 0116 223 1889. The numbers of attendees are needed for catering purposes. 

About Dr Emma Staniland

Dr Emma Staniland completed her BA, MA and PhD studies in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Leicester. Her doctoral thesis was entitled ‘Towards Agency: Dialectic Bildung in Late-Twentieth Century Spanish American Women’s Writing’. For this she studied a diverse corpus of ‘novels of self-development’ from countries including Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico, reading them for their critical portrayal of female gendered identity development. As such, this project was an interdisciplinary one, drawing together Spanish American literary and cultural studies, gender studies, and the intellectual debate on the relationship between gender and genre. Dr Staniland is currently a Teaching Fellow in Spanish at the University of Leicester.

About Dr Susan Baldino

Susan Baldino teaches Museum Studies at Florida State University and is a consultant and advocate for the arts, museums and persons with disabilities. She is a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, board chair for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, trustee of the Tallahassee Museum and former chair of the Florida Association of Museums Foundation. She is most proud of her work with Keys to Exceptional Youth Success that provides postsecondary scholarships to disabled students.

Susan’s research focuses on inclusive museum learning environments for people on the autism spectrum and broadens to include learning theory, knowledge management, communities of practice, autism learning interventions, non-profit governance and 18th-century architecture. She has an M.S. in Anthropology from the American University, M.A. in Art History from Florida State University and Ph.D. in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester.

Violetta Mertins

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