Spring 2018 | CUNY Graduate Center | IDS 70100: Introduction to Queer Studies

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Stepping Back from Pedagogy ( Justin T. Brown)

When initially given this task last week to begin exploring potential OER a number of different thoughts entered into my head immediately. However, all of them were directly focused on finding information that was open access, free, and within the public domain. I soon began reflect on the other aspects of our conversation in class and realized that my main nagging question had not yet been addressed nor was it going to be fulfilled by simply exploring a set of resources or materials. Additionally, focusing on pedagogy alone certainly was not enough for me as a critical transdisciplinary scholar. Pedagogy, in my mind, comes much later in the conversation. I question the very fabric of what generally constitutes knowledge, knowledge-generating activities, and the power given to those that are bequeathed the acknowledgement of being representative of “LGBTQ Studies”. 

For me the problem is a problem of epistemology. I began to reconsider what is knowledge in LGBTQ Studies, what is the purpose of this activity, who are the chosen that are allowed to do this, and what is the specific construction process as well as outcome of that work look like? I feel that the field pushes a notion of inclusiveness for all disciplines and perspectives, but I often fear that the reality is that some fields and the scholars exploring these notions within them are viewed as being just too far afield. This forced me to begin also considering the specific lens and frame of my own work in this class. One resource that I began to think about was The Fenway Institute. The Fenway Institute, although in the realm mainly of health and public health — their perspective and understanding is an truly intersectional lens that considers the role of the intricate elements of the queer human existence.  (http://fenwayhealth.org/the-fenway-institute/) An additional spoke to help support the foundation of why this work is still so critical now – looking for the lens of LGBTQ funding and policy via Funders for LGBTQ Issues . (https://www.lgbtfunders.org/)

 

I also began to think about the need to consider how we can infiltrate non-queer specific spaces and courses to infuse it as a functional part of our general pedagogy. We are in contact and touch the lives of students everyday through our work. Many of my LGBTQ students do not take Queer Studies courses. It is not a matter of not wanting to, but as a matter of having a limited amount of money and time to complete the courses as they work toward getting their degree. So, I began to think about how we consider sexual/gender diversity within the classroom. It is important because this has been for some of my students they way that they have been able to connect for the first time in the classroom. It was achieved by simply including a set of materials on the sexual health of the LGBTQ community.

Gracefully Unexpected, Deeply Present, and Positively Disruptive (https://www.bankstreet.edu/scholarly-initiatives/occasional-paper-series/37/part-iii/queerness-classroom-community/) ; The Time Is Now: Brining LGBT Topics into the Classroom (https://www.adl.org/blog/the-time-is-now-bringing-lgbt-topics-into-the-classroom)

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