Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez
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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