William P.Notes: Banks, “The Values of Queer Jackering: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?”

Banks, William P. “The Values of Queer Jacketing: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?” MEAT Journal 1.2 (Winter 2005–06).

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Summary:

Banks discusses a method of queer(ing) his pedagogy through an assignment in which he had his students write coming-out narratives.

Keywords: Writing Studies, Composition, Pedagogy, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, Minority Rhetorics

Sources:

Holland, Suzanne. “Levinas and Otherwise-than-Being (Tolerant): Homosexuality and the Discourse of Tolerance.” JAC: Journal of Composition Theory 23.1 (2003): 165-89.

Pollock, Della. “Performing Writing.” The Ends of Performance. Eds. Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane. New York: New York UP, 1998. 73-103.

Quotations:

“Honestly, I’m not concerned with a Platonic classroom or pedagogy, one in which the “ideal” assignment will create an “ideal” classroom or student. If nothing else, queer theories have pointed out why such simplistic worlds and teaching situations simply do not exist. In any classroom, there are students and teachers whose lived experiences are far more complex and disruptive than we may realize, but tapping into those experiences can create productive spaces for helping both teachers and students rethink their self-performances, all by way of disrupting the sort of heterosexist narratives that students have been exposed to and mimicked for so many years in school” (1).

“[W]riters do not rely on a definitive, essential self that they always project in their writings. Rather, writers have many options at their fingertips, methods for shifting “self” through changing style, voice, diction, position on a topic, etc. As the Internet has shown us repeatedly, the selves we perform in texts might be utterly unrecognizable to our friends, families, co-workers. Yet for all the postmodern theories of the anti-Cartesian self that we’ve read and studied, well-meaning writing teachers often continue to assume that students’ “transgressions” in texts demonstrate a relatively stable self” (2).

“One thing we must realize, particularly at this moment in history–as many of our students believe that the United States might once have been bad/prejudiced/unfair but now everything is O.K.–is that our students have probably “encountered” an Other, and in this case, an individual who doesn’t identify as LGBT. Part of encounter must involve reflection and processing, at least when that encounter is circumscribed by classroom spaces” (5).

“[A]s a teacher, I also know that moments of learning and experience are intensely rich and complicated. They eschew easy formulations, and often, the complexity of the intellectual work remains “hidden” from the assessment practices we develop” (14).

“Ultimately, our students deserve spaces to interrogate their unexamined positions and to interrogate ours as teachers. I’m talking here about kairotic time, a time that involves both chrono-logics and spatial logics” (16).

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