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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs

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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 Seventeen: Smear the Queer: A Critical Memoir

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Smear the Queer: A Critical Memoir

SCOTTY M. SECRIST

 

INTRODUCTION

This is a piece of art, because I am an artist. I am an artist of many media. I draw. I paint. I play piano. I am also a scholar. My professional training in higher educational research has conditioned me to express my thoughts in very particular ways. However, you will not find a nice, tight argument, wrapped with a bow, in this piece. Actually, this piece is an artistic experiment, one in which I infuse my body and my voice into an artifact for others to view and ponder.

I have been greatly inspired by Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (2012). While the concept of borderlands is quite powerful and can probably be applied to many of the stories that I share in this piece, I hesitate to make such comparisons. Rather, I draw inspiration from Anzaldúa’s way of working and thinking, her methods and methodology. For this piece, I dig deep, drawing upon both my past experiences and my interpretations of those experiences. Throughout this essay, I try to honor my spiritual experiences. In short, Anzaldúa has challenged me to be open and vulnerable, and to find my voice in doing so.

Vulnerability is a form of violence. When we think about vulnerability in education, we usually think about a person choosing to...

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