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Curricular Innovations

LGBTQ Literatures and the New English Studies

Edited By William P. Banks and John Pruitt

Where others have explored the teaching of LGBTQ literature courses, Curricular Innovations: LGBTQ Literatures and the New English Studies explores the impact that queer writers and their works are having across the broader undergraduate curriculum of English departments, as well as beyond those department spaces. While courses that focus on queer texts provide more space for students to think about the complexities of queer lives, this book breaks out of the specialized LGBTQ classroom to consider how we might also restructure and reframe a diverse set of undergraduate courses by paying attention to the contributions that LGBTQ writers make. Beyond simply including a text or two to represent "difference," contributors to this volume take a more structural approach in order to demonstrate ways of theming or designing courses around language, desire, and sexuality. They also demonstrate what happens when queer texts are given freedom to shape other classroom spaces, discussions, and reading/writing practices. This collection offers a practical intervention into conversations about the purposes and places of LGBTQ literatures by making good on the challenges that queer theories have posed to higher education over the last forty years.

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5. Mainstreaming Difference in Youth Sexualities/Identities: Demystifying the Otherness of LGBT Youth Literature Through the Hetero-Corollary (Lance Weldy)

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5. Mainstreaming Difference in Youth Sexualities/Identities: Demystifying the Otherness of LGBT Youth Literature Through the Hetero-Corollary

LANCE WELDY

Teaching children’s literature to preservice teachers in a college English department can be a very queer space to work. Let me explain. As an English graduate student, I learned that children’s literature classes could typically be offered from three different disciplines: Library Science, Education, and English. While all three generally share interdisciplinary goals of diversity, cover similar texts, and likely discuss overlapping analytical and cultural issues, the primary focus or intent for each discipline varies. The majority of the students I teach are education majors required to take my 300-level literature course and who come to class with practical expectations: to receive pedagogical instruction and literacy strategies that they may subsequently integrate into their future elementary classrooms. However, my goal is to provide theoretical and critical awareness about texts intended for or appropriated by children, which can then be applied to their own emerging pedagogies.

This kind of mixed expectation turns the classroom into a queer zone of interaction between (at least) two frameworks for approaching children’s literature. To add another layer of queerness to this space, while most college professors on my campus—outside of those in the School of Education—have likely never been certified to teach, that does not mean we haven’t been provided with training and resources to view the classroom as an opportunity for...

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