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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 Nineteen: A Profound Moment of Passing

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CHAPTER NINETEEN

A Profound Moment of Passing

DAVID LEE CARLSON

 

Gliding into Rapid City regional airport, snow drapes the surrounding hills and cloaks the prairie. A drab, dingy frozen steam hovers and lingers in the crisp, frigid air. Horses and cows stand unbothered and unconcerned as a slight, brisk wind puffs around them. Cars traverse the gravel country roads and newly paved city streets. People seem to be nowhere and everywhere as they journey through life withstanding and, in some cases, relishing the raw and frosty locale. It was early July, and my mother’s twenty-year battle with Parkinson’s disease was beginning its final scene. My heart ached at my mother’s condition, fumed over the injustice of her plight, and my joints trembled in anticipation of what likely awaited me when I arrived at her bedside. The judicious, yet unmet demands and requests that render this able-bodied man paralyzed and helpless became too staggering to perpend. I recall the time my mother handing me a copy of Leo Buscaglia’s book Loving Each Other (1986) one morning in response to a conversation we had. I could not understand why I didn’t want to date girls. The unsettling, confusing, and terrifying absent feelings and attraction for them mortified me; but she understood more than I did what I was going through. Here, at this moment, during this time, I became acutely aware of the importance and relevance of memory and place....

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