Recently in Question #1 Category

Question #1: The Queer Child


In "Curioser: On the Queerness of Children," Bruhm and Hurley discuss the use of the future anterior (Felipa's sexual desires for Christine "will pass") to assert childhood innocence while simultaneously preparing the child for entry into the heterosexual paradigm. Meanwhile, in her Introduction to "The Queer Child," Stockton discusses the "gay child" as one who can only exist retrospectively in the past-- through a "future act of looking back" (9). How do these two different strategies-- the use of the future tense and the use of a retrospective "gay child" work together? Do you see the two theorists' approaches as complimentary or at odds with one another? What is the effect of locating the queer or gay child in the future or past (never the present)? If the gay or queer child never exists in the present, then does such a child exist at all?


What do you make of works (like Owens' book mentioned in "Curioser") that paraphrase the words of their subjects? Is this ever a useful strategy, or does overlaying a narrative on the disparate voices of one's subjects necessarily obscure their message(s)? Does your opinion depend at all upon whether the subjects who were interviewed are pleased with how their stories were retold? 


What violence does the fiction of childhood innocence do to children? And to adults? How does this kind of "violence" relate to our discussion of violence earlier in the semester, when we were talking about ACT-UP and choreographies of protest?


What purpose does the fiction of childhood innocence serve for adults in society? While Stockton focuses on the violence that this narrative does to children, does it also have benefits?


How do you understand Stockton's notion of "growing sideways"? Do you find this terminology helpful to explain children's development? Why or why not?


After reading all of the children's short stories, it seems that a common theme is that if you are a troublemaker you are punished with a "time out." What is the significance of this particular punishment? What does a "time out" really mean? What is the logic behind having a "troublesome" child "cool down a bit" and reflect on their actions?


In the stories from the children's book, I noticed that not all of the stories revolved around children misbehaving. Rather, the stories were about children and women (The Not So Clean Queen and Grandma the Pirate). What message is the book sending to both our kids (and us as adults) by indicating that not only children, but also women, need to be tought to behave or risk punishment? Why is it that "women and children" are always grouped together-- as troublemakers, victims, or those in need of protection?  In the "Curioser" article it was mentioned that the movements to ban pornography were aimed at the safeguarding of "women and children." What is the double-logic of locating children and women simultaneously as the sources of trouble and those who need to be protected from trouble?




Question #1 - Can apocalypse be queer?

Has any one seen the movie I Shot Andy Warhol? I don't know how famous it is in the US (it is a US movie), but in case you haven't heard of it, you might be able to guess what it is about. Yes, it is based on Valerie Solanas's story; but no, this isn't much of a great movie (in my opinion). At least I learned a few things about this enraged woman who would have liked to turn this world into total chaos but, too bad for her, hardly left a trace. I have to say the movie, at the time, made me want to slap Solanas hard in the face. Oh, how naïve is that, believing in the absolute superiority of women, believing that destroying the "male race" would benefit the rest of humanity, believing that enough woman-identified individuals were ready to stick their sharp 6-inch blades into men's guts (or other)? Her anger made me angry. Her feminism wasn't mine and more than that, it spoiled its meaning. Obviously, a lot of affect is involved in all of this, both on the part of Solanas and on the part of less radical feminists. One could say she had good reasons to be outraged: she was sexually abused by her father and was unlucky enough to come across a huge number of... male scum. So here are my questions on Third:

  • While strongly "counteridentifying" with the male sex, she seemed, however, to want to resort to a strategy which deployed means strangely similar to what she resented the male sex for. Are we really dealing with counteridentification here? What about counterdetermination? In her manifesto, she bases herself on theories previously elaborated by men: how can we understand this in relation to (counter)/(dis)identification?
  • Can we call feminist's (and maybe our own) refusal to consider Solanas as one of them (one of us) a counteridentification? Or shall we call it misrecognition? Didn't Solanas's extremism somehow work in favour (and not only at the expense) of the development of "legitimate" feminism? How could we (feminists who don't adhere to her means and aims) work out a disentification from her work?  
  • Finally, it would be interesting to discuss the fact that the madness of Solanas is often evoked in Third, as opposed to the mental health of the suicide bomber, which isn't referred to at all by Puar.
Of course, we need to refer to Muñoz's text to handle these notions of counter- and (dis)identification. These are very useful to understanding all of our Wednesday readings.
  • Muñoz gives several definitions of disentification; how would we define it now we've read his text?
  • How do narratives and discourses play into that (cf. his reading of Hidalgo's video or his discussion of the role of a song in Baldwin's Just above my Head)?
  • Can we speak of degrees of disidentification (with varying proportions of identification and counteridentification)? Does it have to be a conscious process to exist at all?
  • Are Muñoz's feelings of exhilaration and terror (p. 4) (in other words, his excitement and fear), when watching Capote's show, what triggers (what initiates) disidentification?
Linking Third, Muñoz and Puar, I also came up with the following:

  • Do we agree with Puar's (quoting Massumi) understanding of the affective, i.e.: "The primacy of the affective is marked by a gap between content and effect" (p.132)?
  • What makes someone opt for a certain political action instead of another? How does affect work in making such a decision? Can we call this a "decision"?
  • How do Puar's suicide bombers' target differ from Solanas's? What is their relation to the past, present and future? Can we tie this in with counterterrorist discourses (cf. use of the future tense)?
  • How to go beyond the American sexual exception of queerness? Is it possible to see any sort of phenomenon involving an assemblage (a Deleuzian assemblage, described by Puar) as "queer"? Does seeing queerness as an "assemblage" actually allows, as Puar suggests, to focus both on ontology and epistemology? Isn't Puar's definition of queerness a little too far-fetched?
  • Can the relationship between feminists and Solanas be, to a certain extent, compared to the relationship between people of colour living in America and terrorists? Can we speak about these in terms of counter-/(dis)identification?
  • How queer is Solanas's endeavour? Do you think she would have understood herself as "queer"?
Shall I also add this other (very general) question, namely: what are the differences and similarities between Puar's terrorists, Valerie Solanas and queer artists of colour in terms of  troublemaking?

The Stories of Our Lives (Question 1)

| No Comments

I'm putting it down for you to see if our fragments match anywhere,

if our pieces, together, make another larger piece of the truth

that can be part of the map we are making together

to show us the way to get to the longer-for world (Pratt, p. 31).

I am fascinated by using personal stories to get at oppression and attempting to understand and to change the world in which we live. So I was thrilled to read Pratt and Segrest telling their stories, especially as they recognize the difficulties of this, e.g,. how Segrest choked on stories as she "struggled to find a voice to bring you back these stories" (p. 1). I believe that stories are essential to our lives and to who we are, and I think that perhaps they may be essential to attempting to make trouble. Stories are a way in, touching our emotions and moving us--out of sorrow, anger, fear, hope, wonder--a way in which our personal struggles are embodied in our physical, emotional, and spiritual (in the broadest sense) selves.

One of the important mechanisms of stories is that our own stories can help other people make sense of theirs (and vice versa). They also can be a means of self-preservation. In Chapter Four, Segrest writes of a day in which, after the story of herself was demonized, she spent an afternoon "trying to decide whether to kill myself," culminating in her being "resigned to a lonely and tragic life" (p. 38). Being able to tell her stories and hearing those of others allowed her to accept herself--especially when her stories were validated by other people. Pratt also writes of her pain and sorrow over her inability to speak, in other words, to voice stories of oppression, and how the scripts/stories into which we are socialized separate us from other human beings.

Additionally, Segrest and Pratt both used their own stories and experiences of oppression to lead them into a greater understanding of other forms of oppression and their interconnectedness. Segrest writes about "finding in his [a black man murdered by a distant relative] angers, fears and resolves a deeper understanding of my own outcast self" (p. 2). She came to realize that "th
ere is no separate safety" (p. 49). Bailey writes that such moves can result in a shift in our ways of seeing, understanding, and moving through the world.

My sense is that these types of stories are quite common and so sharing them allows us to be more fully human with each other, to empathize, to share our struggles, to admit our own failings and shortcomings, our pain, despair, and fear, to struggle with how we feel our stories may betray people we love or even our own stories and histories. However, I also worry about this process for several reasons. One that Segrest identifies is how the conflicting stories of her life/oppression set up barriers between her and her friend Carl that outlasted his death from AIDS. Another is identified by Pratt, when she writes that knowing the racial histories of her region can be paralyzing, leading her to a constant interior dialogue about whether and how she is playing out racial scripts in every interaction, from casually passing someone on the street to attempting to develop deep relationships.

My biggest worry, though, is that falling back on our own stories can actually get in the way of learning how to live and changing unjust circumstances that keep us from being able to speak to each other (Pratt). While we can, as Bailey says, quoting Lugones, identify with people whose worlds we do not share, this does not automatically mean that we understand other people's worlds/stories. It can also lead us to draw facile comparisons that hide mechanisms and structures of oppression. For instance, in the antiracism work that I do, I have seen over and over that white women use an understanding of oppression we face as women as a way of understanding racial oppression. But I have also seen innumerable examples where white women use their own stories to stop them from hearing other people's stories and having to acknowledge their complicity in racial oppression. Often, I think this is about fear and discomfort, about actually having, as white people, to acknowledge that we have been and are, often unwittingly, participating in oppression. When hearing the story of a "racial other," white women or gay men or poor white men use their experiences of oppression to avoid talking about race by going immediately to other explanations or to their own story, e.g., what is really happening in this room, this discomfort and inequity we are experiencing, is not an issue of race but actually about gender or class or. . . . . I often stop people from drawing these comparisons because I have seen how these personal stories actually derail attempts to talk about race and white supremacy. 

So, my question is: how do we honor each other's stories and share our own, while not using our own pain and struggle to avoid acknowledging how we are complicit in other forms of pain and oppression? In other words, (how) can we use our own experiences of oppression as an entry point into understanding larger systems and working to change them, rather than allowing our own experiences to put up barriers to understanding and better, more authentic relationships? How do we recognize when our own stories may get in the way of other people's troublemaking? How do we do the work of antioppression--make trouble--in places of mutuality, companionship, creativity, sensuousness, curiosity, easiness of the body, places of hope, safety, and love (Pratt, p. 41)? What is the role of relationship in this? (Pratt's articulation of this: "we will only be able to act effectively if we gather up, not just information, but the threads of life that connect us to others [p. 65].) And how do we do this if it is seen as traitorous by those with whom we already have deep and intimate connections?

Other related thoughts (since none of us seem to be able to ask just one question, myself included!):

  • Segrest identifies what we might term several elements necessary for troublemaking structures of oppression: analyses of power (both people and institutions), specific skills and organizing tactics, and psychological, inner work. Pratt also locates knowing the histories of (local) struggles and oppressions as key. Where have you seen these elements? Can these elements exist within the academy? In what ways, for instance, does the academy encourage us to view people as objects, rather than subjects, of research, and how does this prevent us from challenging oppression?

  • Segrest writes that homophobia, classism, and racism were major mechanisms that allowed (and continue to allow) the AIDS crisis to go unaddressed: because some lives are considered expendable. This explicitly ties to Butler's conception of "grievable lives." Can stories help us to flesh this out more?

  • How do we reconcile peoples' different truths--including sometimes having to toss out some stories as not true (e.g., how the Greensboro massacre was portrayed)?

Question #1

While reading the articles for this week, the expression "Has she no shame?" kept popping into my head. It seems that much of the negative public reaction to both Margret Cho and to Rosanne can be linked to this phrase. Of course, it goes along with what behaviors are expectable for women as opposed to men. I tried to think of what the reaction would have been to a man doing what Rosanne did during the baseball game. If it were a player, it would be thought of as a normal behavior, which was the point.But about another male comedian--I tried to think of a comparable figure, and came up only with Christ Farley--big, loud, over-the-top. How would people have reacted to him making the same physical gestures in the same context?(Or any other male comedian that you can think of)

So that's my first question, and here are some others:
  1. Regarding "has she no shame?"--Cho is quoted frequently referring to her private shame--how do you see this as different to her public persona?Or, do you see her pubic and her private self as working together, shame and all? On a side note, what does it mean to "have no shame"?
  2. Cho talks of her pussy as "defiant". She personifies it in a way that makes me seem like it's not under her control. While I can see the agency involved in her doing that, I wonder if this type of characterization doesn't play too much into myths of hysteria and woman being out of control because of their sex organs. Do you see her "pussy personification" as an effective way of troublemaking, or do you think it just brings us back to old myths. a. Just as a side, not so serious question--what do you think Cho would think of vajazzling? I just have a feeling she'd have something to say about it, and I don't know her much at all, so I can't even begin to guess! 
  3. Rowe writes a lot about the female body--especially the maternal body--(how) can we think of this through Kristeva's theory of the abject, which specifies the female, specifically pregnant body. This body is naturally abject, thought of as leaky, dirty, and something that can possibly contaminate men--something that needs to be contained. How does she and how can we link this to Cho or Rosanne? 
  4. Rowe also refers to the male gaze, and returning the male gaze. This made me think to our week on gawking, staring, etc. Can we think of Garland-Thompson's (I think that's who it was!) response to starting--stare back. Does this work with the male gaze? 
  5. Regarding Willett's text: How do you define freedom? Do you see any type of hierarchy within the three concepts of freedom that she discusses? Can/ does freedom mean the same thing for everyone? How can we think of freedom as related to rights (I'm thinking specifically about last session's questions on "women/gay human rights"--although I can't think of the exact wording)
because i think in circles, and there were a lot of readings for this week, i am not quite sure where to begin in terms of positioning these 8 readings collectively for class discussion. when sara posted assigning the readings for this week she began with these questions: 

"What connections can you draw between these texts? In what ways are they disconnected? What does it mean to be beside oneself with rage or grief? What sort of self are we when we are beside ourselves? How does it enable (or prevent) us from connecting with others? How is this troubling? A form of troublemaking?"

thus, the questions that came to my mind while reading this week were already framed by sara's questions. the following are a handful of specific, slightly random, textual moments of curiosity or/and connection i had while reading. i hope this sparks thought and discussion rather than overwhelming anxiety lol. or maybe the unintelligibility of my questioning is appropriate... either way sorry to throw so much at you, i couldn't help it. many readings lead to many questions. 

1. perhaps sara's constant urge for definition is starting to influence me, :-)  so i ask - how are lorde and lugones defining anger? what kind of anger are they talking about? and in what context? lugones speaks of "first-order" and "second-order" anger, does this resonate with you as a reader/theorist/person? what about rage? shame? guilt? the human? life? (we can spend the rest of our lives on this questions).  

2. how are the notions of anger as emotion as intelligibility in lugones and lorde connected to butler's notions of a livable life? and the precariousness of life? what does the affect and effect of emotion have to do with livability, according to lugones, lorde, ahmad? how is this connected to shannon's larger definition of violence "denying someone their full humanity" and the questions we asked around violence two weeks ago? 

3. how does the way in which lorde treats guilt differ from the way in which ahmed treats guit, and even still the way halberstam talks about guilt? does racialized guilt differ in and of itself from sexualized guilt? how does cho's refusal of guilt fit into this conversation? is national guilt always similar to, or a part of, identitarian guilt? how does guilt and shame turn the discourse back onto the "guilty" and eclipse the potential for awareness that lorde strives for? 

4. how are dynamics of power always already in play with all of the emotions discussed this week? what does it mean for the dominant person to be angry/shameful/grieving/outragedl/etc? how does this (or does it?) differ from the oppressed person being angry/shameful/grieving/outraged? again i am thinking of our conversation about violence and the power dynamics in violence, protest, and resistance. the readings for this week bring emotion into this equation. does that adjust or "reframe" our discussion on violence if we substituted emotion?   

5. how does butler's conversation about reproductive freedom illuminate the new discourse we've previously discussed in class and on the blog about "abortion: black babies as an endangered species?" 

6. how does the dialogue around "bad feeling," shame, and guilt in the US compare to that in ahmed's writing about australia. i am thinking specifically about the current rhetoric about obama constantly "apologizing" for america, and the new book by mitt romney "no apology: the case for american greatness." 

7. where do we see emotion as an act of resistance or power in response to living an "unlivable life?" i am thinking here in terms of cho's stand up performances and lorde's anger. where is emotion not used as a form of resistance, but rather continuing the current status quo? i'm thinking here of halberstam's arguments on white male gay shame. 

8. butler, characteristically, says a lot but gives few examples. what does unrecognizability look like? in "beside oneself" she talks about gay/queer/trans unrecognizability. and in the intro to "frames of war" she talks of unrecognizability in terms of lives not deemed lives in war and political discourse. can we think of others? are we all unrecognizable as we are all precarious? is recognizability the same as privilege? 

9. how do we as academics/humans/women understand and frame (in the butlarian sense) our own emotions? how does this effect or create affect in our work, our pedagogy, our identities, and our participation in the academy? how did you feel reading the readings this week? and does this matter? 

10. lastly (i promise) what does looking at emotion like this have to do with troublemaking? are emotions themselves troublemaking? (getting out of hand?) obviously this is socially constructed, so what does the self-reflexive theoretical exploration of emotion mean in terms of making trouble? promoting trouble? justifying this kind of troublemaking? why is it in particular that women's studies/feminist studies/queer studies spends so much time on the intersections of emotion and troublemaking? 

The thing about picking a week of readings that really excite you is that it becomes quite difficult to narrow all the millions of thoughts you have into some sort of cohesive question! I will say that this week's readings are quite personal to me, as I was/am very involved with these types of cultures of radical activism. It's also something that has remained a salient area of research for me, and I actually used the FROM ACT UP TO THE WTO text a lot in my thesis. So, like I said, it's hard for me to figure out where to begin, and what I think is most relevant to draw on in relation to our course.

I think all of the readings provide room to trouble the notion of "non-violence," or, more specifically, "non-violent activism." The concept of non-violence is something that has always been of interest to me, and I actually did an activity for Sara's Fem Ped course that I learned at a Direct Action training for the SOA, in which we were given scenarios and asked to stand on the "violent" or "non-violent" side of the room. Scenarios included "throwing a brick through a Starbucks window" (clearly a nod to the WTO), "breaking a plate during a fight with your partner," "training a dog to attack trespassers," "wearing clothes from sweat shops" etc.  The Foster article very much celebrated the "non-violent, direct action" (Foster, 2003, p. 397) enacted by the lunch counter protesters, ACT UP and the WTO protestors, but never really problematizes to what non-violence refers; Foucault seems to challenge this to be a potentially a-historical move, one that would not "allow one to step back from this way of acting or reacting, to present it to oneself as an object of thought and to question it as to its meaning, its conditions, and its goals" (p. 117). For example, why does Foster not address to potential violence inherent in performing/doing "dead," or witnessing death, as enacted by ACT UP? And for a piece that is focused on the importance of the role of the body, it seems odd that the violence done to the protestors by the cops is not explored more as a means of troubling the idea of non-violence direct action (when violence is clearly part of the script) Since she does describe how "[r]ather than register pain or suffering, [the activists] were encouraged to announce their actions in advance and to observe the effects of another's actions on them, e.g. "You are hurting my arm'" (p. 407).  As someone who has had her body physically threatened by riot cops on horses and police officers in vehicles (in both cases, they were trying to run us off the road and onto the sidewalk, literally almost running over and trampling us), I don't think I would register my experience as non-violent, or that I didn't "register pain or suffering." My body reactions were visceral and felt quite violent (even if I didn't physically attack the cops, I allowed my body to feel repression, and that became productive). I'm rambling now, but I think you see my point (?).  

Similarly, WHAM's "STOP THE CHURCH" action reminds me a lot of the recent radical queer group Bash Back! action at a super-church in Michigan, which congregation members reported as being "violent" (the action consisted of mild property destruction, lots of glitter-throwing and public sex acts in the church). I am certainly not trying to deem these actions as violent, but it was interesting to me that Foster just said "non-violent" without any explication or disclaimer.

Furthermore, what does it mean to celebrate the idea of non-violent, regardless of how you define it? There is a book I really want to read called HOW NONVIOLENCE PROTECTS THE STATE, and, as a former bleeding-heart liberal pacifist turned vaguely radical anarchist who came to respect certain examples of (mostly non-US) militant direct action, I am curious to see how you all trouble the notion of violence and non-violence as it relates to activism? In relation to the abortion rights stuff, I am reminded of the organization, Anti-Racist Action (ARA); this group is known for their militant tactics in response to neo-nazis, other racist groups, and they are also very well known for abortion rights actions, in which they have gotten in fights with abortion protesters, to help ensure a safe entrance and exit for patients walking into the clinic. And, as we all sadly know after the recent death of George Tiller, violence on the right is alive and well. I guess this is just another example to trouble the un-nuanced celebration of pacifist tactics.

I guess this also leads to a question of a "diversity of tactics" a source of major debate on the left. Can we, as Sarah Schulman desires, "win" if we have a non-cohesive always-changing diversity of tactics, or is a more Marxist single-tactic strategy necessary? Does the idea of a "diversity of tactics" challenge the notion of the closed-off "polemic" that Foucault discusses? Do you think Foucault's critique of polemics is critiquing having strong convictions? And, the question that always haunts me, how can postmodernism be incorporated into a radical activis that relies on relatively unnuanced black and white binaries (there was certainly an 'us' and a 'them' in Greensborough, in Seattle, on Wall Street...).

Oh, and, if you're interested, I actually had an article published about a year and a half ago, called "A Polemic on Protest: Reflections on the RNC Resistance." Foucault made me feel bad for my title! : ) eep!

Okay, hopefully this will be enough to start us off, but golly, I have so much more to say!

Question 1 for 2/10/10: the "street/straight" binary

| 1 Comment
Let's talk about binaries and intersections. We have several varying takes on intersectional identities, starting with Crenshaw's critique of "single-axis" advocacy, through Cohen's call for coalition-building along shared lines of oppression, to Nyong'o's reprimand that keywords like "punk," despite being "street" language, can continue to reinscribe notions of regulated behavior. 

I find their arguments less contentious, because I am sympathetic to the values of coalition-building, left-wing movements based on histories of oppression, and recognition of the complex strata of privilege and identity formation. From a practical standpoint, though, I pose the following question to these advocates of intersectional identities:
Is there a possibility of exclusion through inclusion? In other words, do we run the risk of a) alienating potential allies who don't agree with a specific aspect of a broad-based agenda, or b) overly watering-down that agenda in order to cater to many groups whose particular interests may at times be at odds with each other?

Because I have more trouble with them, I want to focus more on the works by Singer and Lugones, who both take up "street" idioms - metaphorically? or literally? - to embody their positions as perpetual outsiders, navigating the margins of a system in an active attempt at resistance. Lugones concludes on p 231, "The streetwalker is someone who comes to understand, through a jarring, vivid awareness of being broken into fragments, that the encasing by particular oppressive systems of meaning is a process one can consciously and critically resist within uncertainty or to which one can passively abandon oneself." Singer envisions a similar binary, although she frames it in terms of the conflict between the bandita who "survives outside the sphere of domesticated stabilized identities" (23) and the woman philosopher, who attempts to "try, to dwell or, at least, to work in a place from which one is also always already exiled, dispossessed" (24) - the conflict between the "dutiful daughter" and the "daughter's seduction" (25). 

My questions:
1) What does it mean to be a bandita or a streetwalker and an academic? I find it somewhat disturbing that these theorists appropriate these titles while sitting behind their university desks - is there a way to do this un-ironically or un-problematically? Can one be both "street" and "straight"? Through a close look at the text, can we work out how Lugones and Singer navigate this binary? 

2) In practice, I like the idea of constant resistance and constant reformulations of given meanings. The problem is, while this works well on the intellectual level of fragmentation of identity and constant questioning, I have difficulty envisaging a life lived by the same principles - or even more, the world Lugones and Singer hope to create. In other words, I see the intellectual revolution, but not the material revolution. Is intellectual jaywalking enough to change deeply entrenched dynamics of power? Cathy Cohen admits that she's been "short on specifics" (47) - can we find specifics in any of the other articles? (Or, if we can't is this a problem?)

Question 1

In the interest of interdisciplinarity, I shall open this blog post with a brief narrative rendition of my most recent Thanksgiving meal.  My sister and I spent the day cooking a huge meal with a large variety of delicious goodies (the crowning point being, in my opinion, the Pillsbury crescent rolls).  We then served this cornocopia of festive goodness to the assembled company, which included most of my dad's family and several of his bachelor friends, who like to come over to his apartment to drink bourbon, talk about how much they hate their ex-wives, talk about fishing, and wonder why there aren't any attractive twenty-somethings who want to date them.  All in all, it was a fairly typical holiday in the Williams household.

After dinner, I found myself, my sister, my aunt, and my grandmother in the kitchen cleaning things up, while the remainder of the (male) guests sat about digesting.  Being of a trouble-making type, I pointed this out, and when the male relatives ignored me, I pointed it out louder.  After a few really funny comments ("Thanksgiving is the day when I give thanks that I have women to clean up for me!") someone managed to get my Uncle to begrudgingly collect a few dishes before settling back into his chair.  The evening concluded with me getting a dirty look and a severe lecture when I responded to my dad saying, "Girls!  Why don't you get [Bachelor Friend #1] some pie?" with a resounding "Why doesn't Dave get his own f*ing pie??!!!"

The point that I am getting at here is that although I agree with bell hooks that learning is a "liberatory practice," I can also see Kevin Kumashiro's point that this liberation can lead us to moments of paralysis or crisis.  At the end of his essay, Kumashiro asks "Is it ethical to intentionally and constantly lead a student into crisis? . . . Could such a situation lead to a life with little feelings of hope or even peacefulness?" (69)  I certainly found comfort and solace, and even liberation in queer theory, women's studies, various racial/ethnic studies that both explained the inequalities that I instinctively felt, and forced me to unpack my knapsack of (white/middle-class/abled/cisgendered/etc.) privilege.  However, outside of the academy, and even outside of certain departments in the academy, being highly-attuned to inequality and oppression can be isolating and paralyzing.  If I can't even convince my family to respect women, how can I hope to change the world? 

Here come some questions on this point (I can't restrict myself to one, so feel free to answer as many or as few as you wish):

1) How do we create educational systems that will not only attune students to inequality, but give them the skills to confront these inequalities in their own lives and on a broader structural level?

2) Kumashiro's descriptions of curricula that constantly seek to trouble and disrupt normative structures (and also constantly question and revise themselves) is so appealing . . . but could it be executed in a public school, where instruction is often so rigid and where teachers who express non-normative opinions are likely to receive hostility from the administration?  Does such a vision of disruptive education exclude the public school (and wouldn't that be a form of inequality)?

3) Is discomfort/frustration the price we pay for being attuned to inequality, or should we be thinking about ways to ease/address such discomfort?  What might methods of intellectual support look like, especially outside of the academy?  In your experience, how has the intellectual discomfort I'm talking to here compared to the more active, visceral discomfort of being Othered in your own life?

4) Have you had any experiences in your own education that provided an exceptional model of disruptive education?  Conversely, have you had a really awful experience that you think is really enlightening?  (This is the question I REALLY want to hear about).

By the way, I'm sorry this post is late.  It totally snuck up on me and I didn't remember about the Sunday posting deadline!  I hope you will still have time to think about these questions.