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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 Eighteen: “I heard it from a good source”: Queer Desire and Homophobia in a South African Higher Education Institution

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

“I heard it from a good source”: Queer Desire and Homophobia in a South African Higher Education Institution

THABO MSIBI

 

INTRODUCTION

Universities, like schools, are heteronormative sites (Renn, 2010). From the way in which knowledge is structured to the way in which social relations are organised, including the type of relationships that is legitimised, universities are heavily imbued in processes that legitimise and exclusively recognise the normalisation of heterosexuality, often leading to a systematic erasure of other identifications. So pervasive is heteronormativity that faculty and students claiming identifications outside heterosexuality often find themselves excluded, constrained, and policed. While there have been significant gains in terms of queer rights and visibility in higher education spaces in some Western contexts, it cannot be denied that the situation of queer1 subjects still remains precarious in most institutional spaces across the globe. While several studies have highlighted the challenges encountered by students in higher education institutions and residential halls, little work has been undertaken with a particular focus on the experiences of queer academics in higher education institutions. Yet, as Bennett, Hill, and Jones (2015), in the context of Australia; Ozturk and Rumens (2014), in the context of the United Kingdom; and Maritz and Prinsloo (2015), in the context of South Africa show, the heteronormative condition persistent in many university spaces remains a challenge for queer academics who often have to adopt various identity management and ← 177 | 178...

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