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Reading Students as Queer: Disrupting (Hetero)normativity for an Equitable Future

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Author(s): Ruffolo, David V.

Journal: Canadian Online Journal of Queer Studies in Education
ISSN 1710-7598

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: education | queer theory | classroom | power relationships

ABSTRACT
The vision of an equitable future inside and outside the academy is critically dependent on reworking what it means to assume a sense of “I” — an agency that is subjectively negotiated. Reading students as queer uses queer theory to queer (hetero)normative “identity” practices in contemporary classrooms vis-à-vis identificatory practices and performative acts of classroom participants. This paper works towards disrupting binary discourses of identity that prohibit identificatory fluidity and mobility amongst classroom participants. In doing so, the individual becomes the subject, and identity becomes identification. The paper draws on notions of queer theory, subjectivity, identification, performativity, embodiment, and psychoanalysis to disturb the isms (i.e., racism, classism, sexism, ableism) that circulate in and around the academy in order to disrupt normative practices and disturb coherent “identities.” Reading students as queer supports subjective identifications that exceed normative ideologies and calls for classroom participants to embrace queer subjectivities that recognize and explore the mobility and fluidity of identifications — not fixed and stable identities — in order to stimulate social change and work towards a future that is equitable, not equal.

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