Plenary Lecture

Higher Education Research and Gender Inquiry

Professor Ruzy Suliza Hashim
Head of Project Group of Gender and Sexuality
Head of Project Group for Action Research
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract: In higher education research, students are often made to go the extra mile by going beyond the given syllabus and prescribed textbooks. In an undergraduate course entitled Gender Identities: Malaysian perspectives, students have the opportunity to analyse literary texts from the gender lens. With the premise in mind, the course took on a virtual dimension by allowing students to study gender construction online. This is a strategy to show them the fluidity of gender and the seductive nature of virtual communication where one is not necessarily hindered by face-to-face interactions. In a literature classroom, students are taught the skills to analyse texts in terms of their plots, points of view, narrative styles, characterization, use of symbols and themes. Since literary works are mimetic of the realities of our daily lives, they actually present an excellent opportunity to relate texts with current contexts. Hence, combining the skills of critical analysis with an awareness of gender construction online becomes an aspect of teaching and learning in the literature classroom. To achieve this aim, we incorporated virtual constructions of gender in the design the literature syllabus of a course entitled Gender Identities: Malaysian Perspectives to include recognition of the complexities involved in cyberspace discourse and gender constructions.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Ruzy Suliza Hashim has been teaching at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia since 1988. She obtained her BA with Honours from University of Otago, New Zealand in 1986, MA in Sociology of Literature from Essex University, UK and and PhD (Literature) in 1999 from University of Otago, New Zealand. Her areas of research include gender issues in literature, literature and diaspora, and action research in higher education. She was involved in a number of literary awards as the panel of judges including the esteemed SEAWRITE award. In 2005, her book Out of the Shadows: Women in Malays Court Narratives won the National Book Award (Malaysia). She is currently heading the Action Research component at her faculty as well as heading two university grants on Malay revisionary writing, and Malay pop culture and the Malay Unconscious. She is on the editorial board of four international journals.