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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs


Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez

The memoirs in this collection represent a cross-section of critical reflections by a queerly diverse set of individuals on their experiences inhabiting a variety of spaces within the field of education. In their stories, the authors share how they queered and are continuing to queer the academy in relation to questions of teaching, research, policy, and/or administration. Their memoirs speak across generations of queer educators and scholars; collectively their work highlights an array of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. As snapshots in time, the memoirs can be taken up as archive and studied in order to gain perspective on the issues facing queers in the academy across various intersections of identities related to ethnicity, culture, language, (a)gender, (a)sexuality, (dis)ability, socio-economic status, religion, age, veteran status, health status, and more. By way of the memoirs in this volume, a richer body of queer knowledge is offered that can be pulled from and infused into the academic and personal contexts of the work of educators queering academia.
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Chapter One: Contingent Labor, Contingently Queer


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Contingent Labor, Contingently Queer



People are always telling me to make practicable suggestions. You might as well tell me to suggest what people are doing already, or at least suggest improvements which may be incorporated with the wrong methods at present in use.



Folding cashmere sweaters is an important skill for a Ph.D. these days, at least in my experience. According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 40% of all postsecondary education classes are taught by nontenure stream faculty, which is to say, professors who make, on average, according to the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, $2,700 per course. I am one of these faculty members—called a “lecturer” at one school and an “affiliated faculty member” at another. What connects both is the contingent nature of such labor. I have been living this way—contingently—for a number of years. And I enjoy the institutions I call home, the students I teach, and the faculties I work with. However, as we read stories like that of Margaret Mary Vojtko who died in poverty after teaching as an adjunct for 25 years, the state of higher education and the contingent labor of adjuncts seem ever more pressing to document and engage. ← 3 | 4 →

We are “Roads” scholars, often with no job security, limited access to employee- based healthcare,...

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