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Approaches to Teaching LGBT Literature

William P. Banks and John Pruitt

In 1995, George Haggerty and Bonnie Zimmerman’s landmark volume Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature—followed by William Spurlin’s Lesbian and Gay Studies and the Teaching of English (2000)—began addressing the esoteric discussions complicating the intersections among gender, sexuality, and other identity constructs within the English classroom. Given the perpetuation of heteronormativity in the educational system, Haggerty encourages instructors to help LGBT students "learn about the politics of oppression in their own lives as well as in the cultural context that, after all, determines what they mean when they call themselves lesbian or gay."

Approaches to Teaching LGBT Literature is designed to help teachers address what it means to teach LGBT literature. How can pre-service teacher educators prepare their students to teach LGBT literature? How should teachers introduce different bodies of students to these texts? Those interested in starting LGBT-themed courses and/or thinking about how LGBT literatures might fit into the broader undergraduate curriculum will benefit from this scholarship addressing the history and evolution of LGBT literature courses in different contexts and providing a diverse set of example courses, projects, and activities that would help an array of faculty to implement such courses on their campuses.

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