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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs

Series:

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 Five: Inside. Out. Queer Time in Midcareer

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CHAPTER FIVE

Inside. Out. Queer Time in Midcareer

MICHAEL BORGSTROM

 

During a recent bout of spring cleaning, I found myself rummaging through a box of souvenirs, grammar school artwork, assorted photographs, birthday cards, and the like—all relics of different times and places. Tucked within one of these piles was a typewritten note my eight-year-old self wrote to Parker Stevenson, the actor who portrayed Frank Hardy, the elder of the two Hardy boys, on the late-1970s television series The Hardy Boys Mysteries. Ostensibly a fan letter, it more nearly resembles a mash note. It reads in its entirety: “Dear Mr. Stevenson: How are you? My name is Michael. I really like you on the Hardy Boys. You are great, and you have good hair. Sincerely, Mike.” On the bottom of the page, several spaces below the text, is the typewritten word “Transcript,” followed by another caption: “Sent 5/3/78. Original on calligraphy. Parchment (yellow).”

Although I have no recollection of writing this note, its composition serves as a remarkably apt snapshot of a younger incarnation of myself. The tone is carefully polite, the sentiment appreciative yet measured, with only a sprinkling of adjectives and adverbs intended to communicate a not-too-fascinated interest. Even though I took care to compliment Mr. Stevenson’s hair, the note’s straightforward style (with its fussy punctuation and resolute lack of exclamation marks) is determinedly nonchalant, a juxtaposition encapsulated in the uneasy toggle between its...

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