Category Archives: Uncategorized

A privilege-based view of mindfulness: Ellen Langer, “On Being”

I was listening today to a recent episode of “On Being” about a topic that’s fairly vexed for me: The question of mindfulness.

There are many reasons why mindfulness is a vexed topic for me. Most importantly, mindfulness makes me excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’ve written on this blog and elsewhere about my own body dysphoria, which makes “being present” in my body an anxiety-riddled endeavor. Also, though, I don’t really like how a lot of white folks talk about mindfulness. As … Read more

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

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

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

In case you were wondering about my position on marriage equality

This week the U.S. Supreme Court hears two cases about marriage equality. Today it’s Prop 8; tomorrow it’s DOMA.

In case you were wondering, here’s how I feel about the fight to extend marriage benefits to all couples regardless of sexual orientation:

I think the LGBT rights movement is far too fixated on this issue, at the expense of some other really important issues that need our attention. I think marriage remains an institution of questionable economic and social … Read more

It Gets Better: the LGBTQ Pride Film Festival, Dead Poets Society and Stephen Schwartz’s “Testimony”

When I was 12 years old, I went with my family to see the Robin Williams movie Dead Poets Society. One of the movie’s main characters is a troubled, sensitive teenager whose actions are controlled by his overbearing father. Here’s the description, pulled from Wikipedia, of one of the key events of the film (warning: contains spoilers):

Without his father’s knowledge, he auditions for the role of Puck in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His

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gender bias: (yet) another reason to worry about MOOCs

Image source: http://cogdogblog.com/2012/07/17/mooc-hysertia/

You may have heard that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are going to revolutionize and/or destroy higher education as we know it. A MOOC, in case you need a quick primer, is a free online course, generally offered through a university or through one of a small handful of educational technology companies (Coursera, Udacity, and edX are the most prominent these days). The goal of the MOOC model is to open up education–to make it possible for … Read more

adventures in teaching Educational Psychology

This semester I’m teaching a new undergraduate course of my own design, a class I’m calling “learning in out-of-school contexts.” The OFFICIAL course title is General Educational Psychology, and it’s designed as a survey of the big ideas of Educational Psychology, targeting people who are not necessarily planning on becoming teachers. So far it’s been a challenging and interesting course, both to design and to teach–one of the big fat thorny issues of my field is figuring out ways to … Read more