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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs


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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I don’t know who I would have become had I not, more than 20 years ago, applied to grad school. I was not a particularly good student, my family was happily surprised that I went to university at all, but in my final year I took an English course on gay drama. We traveled from Vancouver to Seattle to see the touring production of Angels in America; we drank wine and ate cheese at our professor’s bungalow in Surrey, and I wrote an essay about John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation. I imagine I did this, in part, because something about my own struggles at the university seemed illuminated in the scheming and lovable conman, Paul, who convinces a wealthy Upper-West Side family that he is the son of Sidney Poitier—a familiar feeling, perhaps, given the well-documented alienation of gender, sexual, class, and racial minorities in the university. I received an A+ on the paper—the highest grade I had ever received—and so decided to con my way in the grad school. Now, many years later, the university is my home, but I still sometimes feel I got away with something, that I could be asked to give back my degrees, and that exiled from the university, I could easily find myself homeless.

The university is a fickle home for many of the contributors to this volume—it is at once the ground for our emergence as...

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