Interview with Scarlett Hester

Dublin Core

Title

Interview with Scarlett Hester

Subject

Feminist studies; Pedagogy; Intersectionality; Identity

Description

This is an interview with Perry-Williams Postdoctoral Fellow in Communication Scarlett Hester. In this interview, Dr. Hester reflects on how she integrates feminist and queer pedagogies into her teaching. She also discusses her own inspirations in feminist pedagogy.

Creator

White, Andrew

Publisher

Unpublished

Date

2018-09-14

Contributor

Feminist and Queer Pedagogies Workshop, College of Wooster, funded by the Hewlett-Melon Foundation

Rights

Presented with Permission from Scarlett Hester

In Copyright

Format

Mp3

Language

eng

Type

Oral History

Identifier

Scarlett_Hester_Interview.mp3

Coverage

Wooster

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

White, Andrew

Interviewee

Hester, Scarlett

Transcription

[00:00:00] Andrew White: Hello, this is Andrew White. I am a senior psychology major with a double minor in WGSS and sociology. Today is September 14th. I am here with Dr. Scarlett Hester in the Communications department and she is a professor at the College of Wooster. So the first question is, what is your primary area of study and how do you incorporate a feminist or queer approach into your teaching.

[00:00:27] Scarlet Hester: I use a critical rhetorical and media approach in my research. Feminist pedagogy is really just so deeply embedded in my research and my approach to the classroom that this question is actually kind of funny because it makes me have to stop and rethink how I use it. I think that the way I use it the most is that I am constantly trying to have students think about their identity and the way that they self-identify and the way that their identity is perceived by others and the impact of that. Also, in the classroom how that impacts their ability, or not even ability, but comfort in participating in the classroom and in different topics. So, a lot of the classes I teach center race, gender, those types of things so I feel like inherently feminist pedagogy is always part of that and making sure students are comfortable discussing those things.

[00:01:44] AW: Next question is, who or what were some of your biggest influences in feminist and queer pedagogies.

[00:01:50] SH: I think that I’ve been very fortunate in having mentors that model really good feminist and queer pedagogy. In particular, my master’s program mentor and advisor was really open about trying to make sure everyone was comfortable in the classroom but comfort doesn’t mean not being challenged. So Dr. Kristen McCauliff at Ball State University is one of the really big influences that I try to model after her. I’m also a really big fan of bell hooks and her approaches to pedagogy. Teaching community is something that I kind of try to base my approach to the classroom off of. I would say that they were some of the two biggest influences.

[00:02:49] AW: When was a time where you saw a queer or feminist pedagogy have positive influence or work well in the classroom?

[00:02:55] SH: I think I’m gonna push back on this question a little bit because I think working well, and this is something I’m bringing into this interview from this workshop is that working well kind of indicates success. And I think that the things that I grapple with as a professor is that sometimes good pedagogy doesn’t always mean success. Sometimes it means a failing either as me facilitating a conversation or if there’s moments of tension in the classroom. I think that traditionally that would be viewed as maybe not successful. But I think that those are maybe not being done well right if people are uncomfortable. But I think that a specific moment that I have seen feminist pedagogy at work perhaps would be when I have students take a privilege quiz. So it’s just a Buzzfeed quiz that I put onto a document and I add some questions right but I think in order to grapple with and engage with the conversations that I want students to have they have to be able to acknowledge their own privilege. I have to do that as well in the classroom so having that be a point of reference for students. Even for students that identify from marginalized groups if there’s any privilege that exists there for them I think that’s something that I’ve seen work in my classroom or that I’ve used and engaged with.

[00:04:46] AW: What kind of challenges do you think that professors face when bringing feminist and queer pedagogies to the classroom?

[00:04:48] SH: I think one of the challenges is being willing to accept failure; accepting that it may not always work, and being vulnerable. Vulnerability is a huge part I think of queer and feminist pedagogy and as a professor being willing to exhibit that vulnerability because I think for me as a young female professor, a female professor of color, I think that a lot of times I feel like I have to maintain this position of authority. Just because of the identity I embody so sometimes authority and vulnerability don’t necessarily correlate so I think one of the biggest challenges is modeling what I want some students to do and it’s difficult and being vulnerable and allowing those moments of vulnerability with failure I think is really difficult.

[00:05:45] AW: What motivated you to participate in this workshop and what do you hope to get out of it?

[00:05:51] SH: Well, A I’m a really big nerd and I always want to look for the opportunity to learn. But I think a commitment to feminist and queer pedagogy means that you are always learning. It’s not like you can go I’ve accomplished the ultimate feminist or queer pedagogy like I’m good to go forever. There is always new things to consider, different perspectives to learn and just the opportunity to be a part of other conversations with really dedicated individuals was really exciting to me. So things I’m excited to learn are just being able to expand my approach and how to navigate the classroom space.

[00:06:38] AW: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to bring up?

[00:06:40] SH: I don’t think so, these are really good questions.

[00:06:43] AW: Thank you very much.

[00:06:44] SH: Thank you.

Original Format

Sound

Duration

00:06:45

Files

Citation

White, Andrew, “Interview with Scarlett Hester,” WGSS at Wooster: Past, Present, and Future , accessed July 22, 2024, https://woosterdigital.org/wgssatwoo/items/show/81.