Madeleine Grumet Essay

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Madeleine Grumet, a curriculum theorist, professor, feminist, and former dean of education at the University of North Carolina, addresses how societal influences and norms influence schooling practices as well as the educational process. In her seminal work, Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching, she reveals that “knowledge evolves in human relationships.” In addition, she makes the influence of gender and sexism hypervisible within teaching and knowledge construction itself. Building on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological work as well as psychoanalytic and feminist theories, she argues that there is a “body knowledge,” which is developed in the intersubjective realm of the body and the body consciousness, social relations, and negotiations.

Grumet strives to bridge the divide between the public and private worlds as she drives educators and scholars to construct new ways of knowing and being. While focusing on gender in educational experiences, such as teaching and learning, Grumet explores and uses autobiographical narratives to depict the ways that schools (acting as external barriers and obstacles) diminish students and silence the body in the academic discourse.


  1. Grumet, M. (1988). Bitter milk: Women and teaching. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

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