Topographies of Disruption: Queer(ed) Literacy Pedagogies Beyond the Binary

Liz Helton


This article seeks to imagine the ways in which queer theor(ies), particularly those related to space and discourse, might hold implications for the (re)structuring of formal educational spaces. Through narrativizing the experiences of queer students, teachers, and moments in school, I hope to develop an understanding of what we might call “queer pedagogy/-ies,” wherein moments of disruption can be mined to cultivate more humane, soulful, and equitable school cultures. In leaning particularly on the work of feminist and queer theorist Sara Ahmed, I study how phenomena like “straightening devices” and “grid lines” act as regulating forces to maintain the status quo in schools, eclipsing opportunities for a queer imaginary and creative logic to rupture forth. In recalling how students often practice literacies of resistance, I outline how teachers might begin to (re)imagine pedagogy as being queered: as being intersectional, future-oriented, embodied, expansive, and, paradoxically, silent.


Queer Pedagogy; Queer Youth; LGBTQ; Intersectionality; Trans; Queer; English; Literacy

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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