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By Esther Kingston-Mann

This number of essays written through non-traditional college on non-traditional scholars records a posh and not easy means of pedagogical transformation.

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Additional info for Achieving Against the Odds. How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students

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Still no takers, so I became more directive. “What do you think it suggests about how homoerotic love is seen in this culture? ” The silence in the room began to buzz loudly. “Have you ever heard the term berdache? That’s a word Europeans used for a type of person they were surprised to find in most Native American groups—people we might call gay or lesbian or transgendered. ’ They are considered to be special, gifted; traditionally, they played special roles in group rituals or decisions. ” I forced myself to tolerate the silence for another long minute, while in my mind a thin limb creaked ominously.

The pedagogical principle here is no different than that which applies to grasping an unfamiliar religious tradition or a different historical era, and the gains in intellectual maturation are the same. In courses that directly involve sexuality, I present students with sources that condemn homosexuality or homosexual acts as well as sources that provide critical analyses of heterosexism. There are no surprises as to which student groups will best comprehend which materials, but the patterns of intellectual sclerosis are a little different: progay students tend to deal with the antigay materials in an sheerly polemical way, while the moral opponents of homosexuality may politely ignore every source and argument other than their foreordained authorities.

And whether I come out sooner or later, I avoid a bombshell style of self-disclosure (à la “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it”). I may refer to gay and lesbian people as “we” rather than “they” or, more explicitly, may note that I am among those our fundamentalist authors condemn when they write of homosexuals. ” The closet, however, is amazingly resilient. ” This would have been “outing” me, had I not already come out on my own only a couple of classes earlier. Nonetheless, the start that went through the room after Alan said this was as undeniable as a fire alarm.

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