CWGS Lecture Series: Podcasts and Notes

Teaching sex, queering 'youth'? Thinking about education through sexularism and homonationalism Schmitt, Irina 2010

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Teaching sex, queering 'youth'? Thinking about education through ‘sexularism’ and ‘homonationalism’ Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies – UBC 13 October 2010 Irina Schmitt Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden W. Scott (2009). Sexularims. Paper presented at the RSCAS Distinguished Lectures, Ursula Hirschmann Annual Lecture on  Gender and Europe. from _2009_01.pdf Puar, J. K. (2007). Terrorist Assemblages. Homonationalism in queer times. Durham/London: Duke Univeristy Press.Queer/ed kids and teachers ir/relevance of identityThere has been a tendency amongst those who research marginalized youth to view social groups or identities as fixed units of analysis. Although speaking of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trangendered youth, or queer, as a monolitithic group may offer the most clearly rendered representations; it is deeply problematic. (Loutzenheiser, 2007, 1)... all children are not the privileged white babies to whom contemporary society caters (Muñoz: 2007, p. 363)call “into question the simple oppositions- modern/traditional; secular/religious; sexually liberated/sexually oppressed; gender equality/patriarchal hierarchization; West/East...” (Scott, 2009) Secularism/ Sexularism... it is not at all clear that secularism is a sufficient historic explanation for the admittedly more open, flexible kinds of sexual relations that have gained acceptance in some countries of the West in recent years. When we begin to untangle the strands that are these days taken to be the whole package, we find a much more complex story then the one that ties secularization inevitably to sexual emancipation. (Scott, 2009) Secularism/ Sexularismfrom a psychoanalytic perspective, secularism has not resolved the difficulties that sexual difference poses for social and political organizations; it is, rather, one of the frames within which those difficulties are addressed and managed. (Scott, 2009) Secularism/ SexularismTwins of modernity, “the child” and “the secular” underwrite moral claims about progress, the universal human, and the ordering of time itself. If the child is the fulcrum for the reproduction of relations of inequality, school is the lever. (Pellegrini, 2008, p. 98) Secularism/ Sexularism...  the new homonormativity ... is a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions, but upholds and sustains them, while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption. (Duggan, 2003, p. 50) HomonationalismThe politics of recognition and incorporation entail that certain – but certainly not most – homosexual, gay, and queer bodies may be the temporary recipients of the ‘measures of benevolence’ that are afforded by liberal discourses of multicultural tolerance and diversity. (Puar, 2007, p. xii) HomonationalismThe ascendancy of queer is not just coincidentally occurring in relation to certain racial politics but is contingent upon them. We also know that any single-axis identity politics is invariably going to coagulate around the most conservative, normative construction of that identity, foreclosing the complexities of class, citizenship status, gender, nation, and perhaps most importantly in the context of very recent events, religion. (Puar 2008) HomonationalismThrough the transnational production of terrorist corporealities, homosexual subjects who have limited legal rights within the U.S. civil context gain significant representational currency when situated within the global scene of the war on terror. (Puar, 2007, p. 4) HomonationalismSpecifically, secularism is central to the Enlightenment narrative in which reason progressively frees itself from the bonds of religion and in so doing liberates humanity. This narrative poses religion as a regressive force in the world, one that in its dogmatism is not amenable to change, dialogue, or nonviolent conflict resolution. This Enlightenment narrative separates secularism from religion and through this separation claims that secularism, like reason, is universal (in contrast to the particularism of religion). (Jakobson and Pellegrini, 2008, p. 2) … and educationIf secularism is a “world” discourse, what kind of world does it imagine, and what kind of universalism does it put in place? Does secularism protect against conflict? Or, if secularism is not, in fact, universal, is it one of the terms through which the conflicts of today’s world are enacted? (Jakobson and Pellegrini, 2008, p. 3). … and educationno homonationalism Butler’s speech (in German with subtitles) ith-butler-refuses-berlin-pride.html and further discussion ere-now-from-pride-scandal-to.html … and educationThese moves away from religion and toward the secular reached full flower in the European Enlightenment and in the formation of modern nation-states. Implicit within the narrative is the idea that each step forward in time also marks a moral advance: a move away from religious authority and toward greater intellectual freedom and more knowledge, leading eventually to governance by reasoned debate and ultimately to democracy and peace. (Jakobson and Pellegrini, 2008, p. 4) … and educationPuar’s analysis also supports an expanded investigation into the interpellating call of “the child.” How is the “reproduction of relations of living and dying” (Puar’s words) secured through the fiction of the universal child? Once more, with feeling: “What do children learn at school?” (Pellegrini, 2008, p. 101)The political spectrum that positions “religion” as always already at odds with queer subjects not only construes the idea of religious homosexuals (for example) as either oxymoronic or just moronic but also erases significant structures of belief that, at least in moments, sustain progressive politics. (McGarry, 2008, p. 258) … and educationFor some LGBT youth, bullying may not be about sexual orientation or gender or race/ethnicity or newcomer/citizenship status; rather, it may be about how sexual orientation and gender and race/ethnicity and newcomer/citizenship status intersect to define their experiences. (Daley, Solomon, Newman, Mishna, 2007, p. 24) … and educationThank youLiterature Daley, Andrea, Steven Solomon, Peter A. Newman, Faye Mishna, 2007, Traversing the Margins: Intersectionalities in the Bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Duggan, Lisa, 2003, The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attach on Democracy, Boston: Beacon Press. Hansman, Glen Ph., 2008, Politics of Minority Interest/ Politics of Difference and Antinormativity: ‘Positive Change,’ and Building ‘Queer-Friendly’ Schools in Vancouver, British Columbia. Master’s Thesis, UBC. Jakobson, Janet R., Ann Pellegrini, 2008, Secularims, Duke Uni. Press. Loutzenheiser, Lisa W., 2007, Working Alterity: The Impossibility of Ethical Reserach with Youth, Educational Studies, 41(2), 108-127. McGarry, Molly, 2008, ‘the quick, the dead, and the yet unborn’: untimely sexualities and secular hauntings, in Jakobsen, Janet R., Pellegrini, Ann (eds). Secularisms. Durham: Duke University Press, chapter 10. Muñoz, Jose E., 2007, Cruising the Toilet. LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Radical Black Traditions, and Queer Futurity. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 13(2-3), 353-367. Puar, Jasbir K. (2007). Terrorist Assemblages. Homonationalism in queer times. Durham/London: Duke Univeristy Press. Puar, Jasbir, Ben Pitcher, Henriette Gunkel, 2008, Q&A with Jasbir Puar, darkmatter 3-Postcolonial Sexuality, darkmatter - Rasmussen, Mary Lou, forthcoming, Secularism, religion and “progressive” sex education. Rayside, David M. , 2008, Queer inclusions, continental divisions, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Scott, Joan W. (2009). Sexularims. Paper presented at the RSCAS Distinguished Lectures, Ursula Hirschmann Annual Lecture on  Gender and Europe.


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