Yearly Archives: 2015

the trigger warning I’m putting in my syllabus

Lots of academics and teachers think trigger warnings in college classrooms signal the decline of deep, authentic inquiry into complex social issues. They believe trigger warnings are a symbol of the Dumbing Down of the American University.

I disagree, and I further believe that critiques of trigger warnings tend toward flagrant ableism and outright dismissal of experiences of trauma and of the experiences of people who are living their lives as part of historically oppressed groups. I … Read more

brb gender fatigue

Gender fatigue (n): A condition of exhaustion, occasioned by generally excessive or overwhelming experiences in which one’s gender is present as either an overt or an implicit focus of human activity. 

“I’m sorry I backed away from you when you reached out your hand for a high five and said, ‘what’s up, bro?’ I was suffering from gender fatigue.”

Today I filled out a form so I could get my Denver Public Library card. The form asked for the … Read more

Ten things I wish I could tell myself in advance of starting graduate school

1. They will want to indoctrinate you into the culture of busy, because for all the talk of how universities are liberal bastions, academia is as neoliberal a profession as they come. (See: Joern Fischer, academia’s obsession with quantity; PhD students and the cult of busy; Janet Choi, how to escape the cult of “busy”.) You’re going to love a lot of what you do in graduate school, and it’s ok to immerse yourself in your … Read more

Academia recruits privilege; privilege leads to arrogance; arrogance leads to entitlement: Some thoughts on the Michael LaCour fraud case

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 8.34.18 PMMaybe you’ve seen the headlines: Science magazine retracts same-sex marriage and gay canvassers study. (The story was broken on May 20 by the blog Retraction Watch, under the headline author retracts study of changing minds on same-sex marriage after colleague admits data were faked.)

This is bad, people. It turns out this isn’t a case of shoddy record-keeping or inappropriate labeling of images or truth claims that overreach the data. Michael LaCour, the lead researcher on the … Read more

trans* identities and “passing”: It’s complicated.

Here’s an op/ed about the notion of “passing” as it relates to transgender folks. The author, Aiden James Kosciesza, describes “passing” as follows:

The term “passing,” when applied to transgender people, means being perceived as cisgender while presenting as one’s authentic gender identity. There’s a lot of power in that. When people meet me and assume that I am a cisgender man, I am afforded the privilege of choosing whether I disclose my transgender identity, and when. Many trans* folks

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rationale for doing queer work in schools: dissertation excerpt

I wrote a lot over the last few years about doing queer work in schools. I wrote almost as much about doing trans* work in schools. (I typed the word ‘trans*’ so often that I put a sticker on my asterisk key so I could always find it easily.) All the writing ended with a dissertation, pieces of which I hope to use for articles and chapters that people might actually read. (Nobody reads dissertations. They just don’t.)

Until those Read more

“what gives you the moral authority?”

So here’s something that happened to me yesterday at the AERA Annual Meeting: I gave a talk about my dissertation (.pdf)  in a roundtable sponsored by the Queer Studies Special Interest Group. I began my presentation with a rationale for my work: I talked about the material and symbolic violence committed against trans bodies and then described how misogyny and transphobia get internalized really early and that in order to counteract this it’s important to help kids think about … Read more

academic conference advice: Navigating social events

Ugh, social events. We’re all in this together, people.

Let’s be real—a super important piece of the AERA Annual Meeting is its social events. Attending business meetings, receptions, and social gatherings offers the following benefits:

  • (re)connect with people who do similar work
  • (re)connect with people who are affiliated with your current or former institution(s)
  • secure free food and/or free drinks

Everybody should go to social events, but I’m talking especially to graduate students here: These events are fantastic ways to Read more

academic conferences: advice for navigating the Q&A

ugh, AERA. I mean, hooray, AERA!

In the land of educational research, a pretty enormous conference is coming up–the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

I’m the Communications Chair of AERA’s Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group, and I sort of like distributing advice for navigating this most intimidating of conferences. Today, I’m offering advice on how to navigate one specific aspect of this conference–the question-and-answer section of presentations. Advice is divided into two sections. The first … Read more

letter of concern regarding Jack Halberstam’s position on trans identity politics, trauma, and trigger warnings

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, I attended a talk by Jack Halberstam at the University of Colorado Boulder. I was deeply concerned about the content of Dr. Halberstam’s talk, which I considered to be reflective of transphobic, transmisogynistic, and ableist discourses around identity, language use, and the impact of trauma on learning.

I know I’m not the only one who feels frustrated and disappointed by the rhetoric of Halberstam’s position on these issues (see guerilla feminism, feministing, colored Read more