Preface by Paul Willis
This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
47 LGBTQ Youth and the Hidden Curriculum of Citizenship Education: A “Day of Silence” in a Suburban High School
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I must have passed by the 8½ x11-inch announcement posted on the stairway wall more than a few times without note. Indeed, it was probably the attached wad of chewed gum that finally drew my attention.
Beyond this unique addition—one that conveyed its own symbolic message of disdain about the posted announcement itself—this particular sign blended into the eclectic array of posters and artwork hawking a variety of student meetings, fundraisers, and events so common in the hallways of American high schools and no less so in this one. By appearances, then, this one sheet of paper was not dramatically different from those surrounding it: the words on the page echoed the ubiquitous call to participate in the Covington Woods High School 1(CWHS) community, yet the central message could not have been more different.
The advertised event—the upcoming “Day of Silence” sponsored by the “Gay-Straight Alliance”—was far from familiar and drew into sharp relief both the notion of participation and the nature of community in the culture of CWHS. The bottom of the announcement named Mrs. Susman, in room 206, as the person to contact for more information. I made my way to Mrs. Susman’s room that day after school.
I looked through the window in the partially opened door at posters and magazine pictures of Greek and Roman cities and classical architecture, interspersed with quotes of ancient wisdom, adorning the walls of the classroom. For just a moment,...
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