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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 Seven: From Doctoral Student to Dr. Sweetie Darling: My Queer(ing) Journey in Academia

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CHAPTER SEVEN

From Doctoral Student to Dr. Sweetie Darling: My Queer(ing) Journey in Academia

NELSON M. RODRIGUEZ

 

If my experience as a doctoral student at the Pennsylvania State University during the mid-1990s had much to do with encountering a broad constellation of critical ideas that would profoundly reshape how I see the world, then my experience as a professor, especially over the past 12 years, has been about how to piece together these ideas in ways that would sustain my queer work and identity in the academy. In this chapter, I reflect on the shifts in my institutional/intellectual location in academia, starting from being a doctoral student of critical pedagogy and cultural studies at the Pennsylvania State University. My memoir then moves to a primary focus on the past 12 years at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), that is, on my movement from being a professor of education to my current position teaching mostly sexuality and queer studies courses within the context of a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies department. Utilizing several courses I’m currently teaching, I consider what queering academia has meant during this period by making use of a number of concepts to think with, including affect/emotion, border crossing, criticality, and (queer) Eros. I don’t theorize here each of these concepts; that will need to wait for another project. Instead, I sketch out how these concepts have informed what I do in terms of...

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