Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez
Chapter Two: Queer Paranoia: Worrying About and Through a Queer Dissertation Study
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Queer Paranoia: Worrying About and Through a Queer Dissertation Study
When I began planning my dissertation, I was always thinking of scholars in the field of queer education. From examining texts on queer pedagogy, and listening to presentations at education conferences, I have noticed the tendency and “the danger of organizing our work along a queer spectrum, where the ‘more queer’ is privileged … over the ‘less queer’ … visible work in classrooms” (DePalma, 2010, p. 55). Despite queer theory’s disdain of hierarchies, sometimes they are present in the field as scholars judge whose work is worthy. I was worried that my work in a middle school classroom would fall into the less queer category. Would my study demonstrate I was worthy of inclusion in this group of scholars? Would it be queer enough for them? Had I been misinterpreting queer theory and queer pedagogy, and would I be looked down upon when I presented my work at conferences?
I was paranoid, and this paranoia continued throughout the execution and analysis of my study, and it is still present as I write this memoir. Will this chapter prove my greatest academic fears of being unworthy of inclusion? While I was writing my dissertation and looking over my field notes, I noticed I was conducting a “paranoid reading” (Sedgwick, 2003) of my own study. As Miller (1988) wrote, quoted by Sedgwick, “Even the blandest (or...
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