Colloquium Addresses Queer Pedagogy

On Saturday, March 8, CLAGS held a one-day event called Queer Pedagogy: A Colloquium on Sexuality and Curriculum. The colloquium addressed questions about the purposes, methods, language, applications, contexts, affiliations, and performance of queer studies in academic classrooms.

The day began with introductory remarks by Harriet Malinowitz, who spoke about the history of liberatory pedagogy and its implications for lesbian and gay studies. Looking at educational movements spawned by Brazilian educator Paulo Freiere and feminism, she contended that the “what” of queer studies-that is, its content-has often elided important discussions about “how” queer studies may be taught ~nd learned. A round table discussion called “What is a Transformative Curriculum?” followed, facilitated by Ann Pellegrini and featuring discussants jan Clausen, Martin Duberman, Berenice Fisher, Harriet Malinowitz, and Kendall Thomas. Breaking with the traditional format of individual presentations, participants conversed with each other about historical precedents for radical experiments in progressive education that can inform queer studies, the relationship of queer studies to women’s stud ies, and the ways that knowledge may be conceived and purveyed in queer studies classrooms. Following a session of brown bag lunch workshops, the conference reconvened to discuss “Theory and Activism Inside/Outside the Academy.” Facilitated by Jill Dolan, it included participants Cheryl Clarke, Tamara jones, Peggy Phelan, Ben Singer, Alisa Solomon, and Stacy Wolf. This session focused on issues of language, debates about “elitism” and “accessibi lity” in queer studies, the question of whether the inside/outside split is a real division or a false dichotomy, and an examination of the extent to which and in what circumstances teaching may be considered inherently activist. The colloquium was sponsored by a CUNY Faculty Development Grant as one of a series of autonomously organized events intended to promote discussions about teaching and learning among CUNY faculty.