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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 Four: Remaining Stubbornly Faithful: What Queering Academia Does to Queer Teacher-Scholars

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CHAPTER FOUR

Remaining Stubbornly Faithful: What Queering Academia Does to Queer Teacher-Scholars

SARA STALEY AND BETHY LEONARDI

 

I just made a t-shirt that says, “Feelings are not the enemy.” I guess that’s what [my work is] about—just being expressive with your feelings and the ways that we’re culturally expected to closet our emotions.

—ANDREA GIBSON

As queer teacher-scholars, we often turn to Gibson’s work because of the masterful ways in which the poet unleashes feelings and lets them spill all over the place. (For those unfamiliar, Gibson is a queer poet-activist whose work explores trauma, gender, sexuality, white privilege, war, love, and feelings.) So as we considered where to begin, Gibson’s theme that “feelings are not the enemy” seemed fitting. The research that informs this chapter is part of a larger project in which we set out to explore: What does queering academia do to queer teacher-scholars? Specifically, we engaged narrative inquiry to mine our experiences navigating the margins of institutional life in academia while advancing queer liberation in education spaces. Currently, our collaborative work focuses on supporting educational communities to create safer schools that affirm queer identities and preparing educators with knowledge, skills, and habits of heart and mind necessary for disrupting heteronormativity. Cultivating university-school partnerships has been critical to that queer endeavor. By “queering academia,” then, we mean to emphasize that the object of this inquiry is our own lived experiences...

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