Doing and Feeling Research in Public: Queer Organizing for Public Education and Justice

Mar. 31, 2010

Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 23, Issue 2, March 2010 , pages 147 - 164.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The authors are two queer teacher educators in Chicago who participate in discussions and resistances addressing pressing political issues for educators and communities.

This article, grounded in activism, documents the authors’ collaborative participatory research on the effects of privatized public education on queers.

Starting in 2005, the authors challenged the implementation of Department of Defense-run schools in the Chicago Public Schools System;
in 2006, the authors organized our colleagues to fight the largest national teacher education accreditation agency’s removal of sexual orientation and social justice from its accreditation standards;
and in 2007, the authors protested their state’s decision to hold a public meeting for teacher educators at a private Christian college that ‘condemns’ homosexuality.

This article highlights how education is being re-formed through appeals to 'private choice' and at the same time select public issues are devalued by being called private and outside the bounds of normative 'professional' attention. This reframing, a hallmark of contemporary neoliberalism, has specific ramifications for queers, as analysis of these cases indicate.

Conclusion: feeling and doing research for a public

Offering first-person narratives, revealed emotions, and unanswered questions in this jointly claimed paper is also a way to resist privatization, the authors’ goal throughout all the projects discussed here.
The authors argue that feelings are political and problematizing, and useful - they can trigger tactics.

With the goal of offering examples of tactics tried, the paper archives evidence - original texts including pledges, letters, flyers, and emails - of queer organizing in education.

Updated: Jul. 13, 2010