Reprocentric Ecologies: Pedagogy, Husbandry and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
This chapter describes an ecofeminist course unit on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For me, one of the pleasures of teaching is when the unexpected occursunexpected responses, unexpected connections, even unexpected resistance. In my spring 2014 Shakespeare survey, all three occurred. As in previous iterations of this course, my intent was to show students that by the end of Act 5, an act often seen as unnecessary, both the plowman’s field and the female body are set to (re)produce, and under the specific mandates of patriarchy. While this goal was largely met, some of my students refocused our attention after I asked them for our third class “to think about how Oberon and Titania use natural elements differently.” Productively muddling my plan, some students viewed Titania as a violent (ab)user of nonhuman living nature. The outcome: student arguments, and one term paper in particular, altered my view of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, gender, and ecology-a pedagogical outcome of the best sort.