This year there have been many changes in the Pinewood community both big and small. One such change is a new elective titled Milk and Sugar: Eco Feminism. The elective, which takes place on WISCR Wednesday, is headed by new teacher Haley Nikodem.
Ecofeminism is a philosophical course that connects the topics of feminism and environmentalism to better understand how the oppression of women and the destruction of the natural world are related. A few topics the class has covered so far this year are the history of hysteria, Paganism, and the witch trials.
“If we stopped treating the planet in the violent way we do, we would also see a decline in violence against women.”
“If we stopped treating the planet in the violent way we do, we would also see a decline in violence against women,” Nikodem said.
The Ecofeminism elective is a discussion- and seminar-based class that is completely remote. A typical day in the class starts with completing a writing-based warm-up activity that helps students review the reading homework they were assigned. The readings inform students of background information and context on the topics that they discuss in the following class. Then, for the first half of the class, Nikodem gives a lecture or shows a video on whatever topic they are covering for the day. For the second half of the class, the students discuss questions from the teacher as well as from one another while Nikodem takes notes. They often ask difficult and uncomfortable questions to further explore the topic of discussion.
Having previously taught English, literature, and social justice, Nikodem’s ecofeminism class is the first philosophy-centered class she has taught. However, she has had plenty of experience as a philosophy student, having taken both feminist philosophy and environmentalist philosophy in college. Nikodem said she uses her past teaching experience to teach the elective. During class discussions, Nikodem says she is constantly learning along with her students.