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Christine Shimomura

ENG 405
Jim Henry
06 April 2016
Metacommentary
Out of context, the word queer simply means odd. Expanding to gender, sexuality and
desire, the term now encompasses an entire community. Impacting people of all age groups,
races, cultural and religious backgrounds, the queer community has and will continue to change
the perceptions of diversity and personal expression. I have always been intrigued by queer as a
social concept and as a second year student, I had the privilege of taking a queer literature
course. Challenged to create my own queer literature, the work became increasingly personal and
helped to shape my own identity. The introduction of queer methodologies was unchartered
territory as I had only studied writings by queer authors and deconstructed and constructed queer
relations. With educational institutions employing mathematical standards of writing, I viewed
the implication of queer to be impossible. The topic of queering the writing center is
understudied, making the researching process nearly impossible. Now aiming to explore queer
and its relation to the writing center and composition and rhetoric pedagogy, this piece works to
instill the importance of understanding what queer is and how it can aid in both tutorial and
classroom settings.
Writing centers take pride in providing a safe space for writers to grow, explore and
express themselves. Implicating queer in the writing center adds another dimension to the long
list of structuring binaries found in these safe havens. Unlike writing centers, classroom settings

do not necessarily support and/or teach queer studies, which in turn limits students ability to
fully express themselves and make contextual connections to identity. The lack of queer
knowledge has supported insensitivity and created a structure detrimental to students growth
both academically and socially. In bringing awareness to the topic of queer, we can avoid this
stunting while providing a safe space for students in every level of education.
Annotated Bibliography
Searching for texts connecting writing centers to queer was nearly impossible. Therefore,
the following expands and explores sources that discuss the usage of queer in various levels of
education and the LGBT misconceptions held by education professionals. Readings were picked
not only for their potential usage in a writing center but also in hopes of providing a diverse
range of material.
Murphy, Christina, and Steve Sherwood. "Queering the Writing Center." The St. Martin's
Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 263-83. Print.
Serving as the primary text, this article focuses on the importance of adopting insights and
methods of queer theory into the writing center. Queering the writing center involves creating
awareness of the interplay of identity. Such awareness is already present as writing centers
serve as a safe haven full of structuring binaries. The reading equates writers to intricately woven
tapestries who constantly deconstruct and rebuild themselves in order to appeal to certain
audiences. The role of the audience therefore oppresses the writers identity as they tend to shy
away from content that is personal and local. Encouraging readers to turn against normalizing
forces, the author equates queer to other suppressed communities in academia. Such suppression
is found in the scrutiny of womens prose, calling for work that is less emotional or personal, and
ESL students being penalized for being at odds with standard academic English. Similarly

corrected, queer writing has been pushed aside and referred to as personal and therefore separate
from the public. Although stereotypically associated with sex, the author connects queer to
writing creatively through the use of identity. Similarly discussed in class and readings, the
identity of the writer encompasses multiculturalism, ESL, queer, and other structural binaries. In
incorporating queer insights and methodology, tutees and tutors may in turn create a sense of
intimacy while increasing levels of disclosure and possibility of personal growth. Encouraging
tutors to question how identity affects the tutee and their writing will hopefully leverage such
disclosure that will ultimately aid in the expansion of thought and deepening in levels of
understanding. A common misconception is that one must be queer to use queer methodologies
and insights. However, the implication of queer in writing simply encourages writers to consider
their own identity and the identity of other writers.

Doucette, Jonathan. "Composing Queers: The Subversive Potential of the Writing Center."
Young Scholars In Writing [Online], 8 (2011): 5-15. Web. 12 Mar. 2016
This article expands upon the ideas of Queering the Writing Center as Doucette
discusses the need to apply queer methodologies and the benefits of doing so. Going one step
further, the author provides examples of how queer is used through the experiences of teachers
who have done so. Not only is queerness stressed in composition studies but also in the process
of new writers writing themselves into American society. Equating writing centers to American
society, one must consider a vast range of structuring binaries that must be considered. Although
created with diversity in mind, American society is obsessed with labeling and defining both
animate and inanimate subjects. The theme of identity is prevalent beyond the walls of a writing

center as there is much discussion of social normalities concerning the trueness of masculinity,
femininity, and sexuality.
Beyond the history of queer, Doucette included sections focusing on interdisciplinary as
queering academic ways of knowing and accessibility in the writing center as institution. Seeking
to further the importance of disciplinarily in the writing center, the author intends to bridge the
gap between composition and queer studies. In doing do, there is hope that writers will apply
queer approaches to not only English papers but papers of different studies. Doing so will change
the way writers think, understand, and engage with the world and their own identities found
through queer. Completely voluntary, this particular train of thought should be gently encouraged
as those who choose to seek a heteronormative route have the right to do so. In situations such as
these, the tutor can then prompt the tutee to consider other characteristics of identity such as
culture and gender.
The author argues that queering the thinking and writing process is only possible through
queering the entire institution. In this case, the writing center stands as a physical space of both
power and weakness, and oppression and freedom. As students are given set expectations and
standards, they are left to abandon their own voice and identity to please those who hold their
grades. As discussed in class, the article suggests that tutors make use of both direct and indirect
methods, which will eliminate the potential stunting of growth in identity and social concepts
while also prompting deeper levels of analysis. The writing process is described as one that is
personal and emotional as writers validate the time and efforts spent on their piece(s).

Armstrong, Mary A.. Towards a Queer Pedagogy of Conflicted Practice. Modern Language
Studies 37.2 (2008): 8699. Web.

This article stresses the need for multiple understandings of queerness in educational
settings and general perceptions of gender and sexuality. Difficult to define, queer pedagogical
practices challenge readers to define what a queer educational space is and how the teachings
effect those involved. As queer theory develops with astonishing speed and sophistication, the
author provides helpful information on the deep implications for pedagogical practice found in
lesbian and gay studies and post-structural approaches. This piece is essential as it generates a
deeper understanding of queer development and teaching practices.

Greene, Frederick L.. Introducing Queer Theory into the Undergraduate Classroom:
Abstractions and Practical Applications. English Education 28.4 (1996): 325339. Web.
In addition to defining queer and queer theory, the author provides insight on the topic
through various pieces of classic literature. Deconstructing the works of Shakespeare and
Dickens, Greene takes notice of binary hierarchies and the historical layering of
gender/sex/sexuality. This article also discusses the progress made by the queer community
and the continuing ignorance, misinterpretation, the fear of the unknown, and the insistently
hierarchical, normalizing, and ridged modes of thinking found in society. The overall study of
queer theory is described as therapeutic for young students who are self-identified as queer, gay,
lesbian, or an outsider. Serving as an informative and argumentative piece, the author also points
out that queer practice into ones pedagogical repertoire must occasion some apprehension and
anticipation of hostility or unexamined rejected, whether from students, colleagues or
administrators. Queering classic literature creates a sense of authenticity for queer pedagogy as
analysis proves the topic prevalent long before modern discussion of queer literature.

Spurlin, William J.. Theorizing Queer Pedagogy in English Studies After the 1990s. College
English 65.1 (2002): 916. Web.
In this article, the author describes queer theory as a study that functions as a mode of
analysis and as a strategy of opposition that circulates in culture and radically disrupts not only
normative ideologies pertaining to sexualitybut also sexual identity. Providing a deep history
of queer theory, Spurlin discusses historical, racial, and social biases coinciding with the topic.
This work was primarily written for the purpose of bringing awareness of the growing study of
queer through evidence of analyzed corpuses. Relating back to the main reading, this article
discusses the many layers of identity and the importance of recognizing queer.

Renn, Kristen A.. LGBT and Queer Research in Higher Education: The State and Status of the
Field. Educational Researcher 39.2 (2010): 132141. Web.
Discussing the lack of theoretical depth in queer studies, Renn discusses the importance
of queer and two specific paradoxes of queering higher education. Providing information on the
evolution of LGBT/Queer scholarship in higher education, the article follows research
concerning the medicalization of queer, changing constructions of queer, and the current
literature provided on queer. Renn also provides her own insight in predicting the future of queer
theories, research methodology, and educational practices. With queer studies introduced in the
1980s, higher education institutions claim to incorporate queer into their curriculum, but struggle
to show such integration. In this paradox, the author discusses how queer theory is acceptable but
queering of the organization is not. Including another paradox, Renn also discusses the lack of
research done on campus climates concerning queer. Fixing this, the author encourages
researchers of non-LGBT genres to use queer theory to examine policies, programs, and systems

of knowledge. Assessing the incorporation of queer in higher education, Renn provides fresh
insight on how queer would not only help other studies of knowledge but also bring true
diversity to institutions claiming to do so.

Mayo, Cris. Queering Foundations: Queer and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
Educational Research. Review of Research in Education 31 (2007): 7894. Web.
Examining educational research concerning the LGBT, Mayo breaks down the
misconceptions education professionals carry when dealing with the LGBT community.
Although the article does not specifically discuss queer pedagogy, the provided information on
social constructions aids writing center employees in the understanding of what members of this
specific community deal with during their time in the educational system.
Conclusions
The heuristic table below provides subtopics and concepts found in the text that are
applicable to writing center tutoring sessions and potentially classroom settings. The column
titled tutoring implications includes suggestions on how a tutor could employ these subtopics
and concepts.

Subtopics or
Concepts
Queer

Definition

Tutoring Implications

Dictionary:
unconventional; differing
in some odd way from
what is usual or normal

Think of queer as a
category similar to
race, culture, or gender.
Can both tutor and
tutee review the
presented assignment
in ways that
acknowledge another
perspective?

The term was first


associated with the
LGBTQIA community in
the early 1980s.

Interdisciplinary

Identity

Structuring Binaries

Dictionary: Of or relating
to more than one branch
of knowledge
In relation to queer:
Queering academic
ways of knowing and
bridging the gap
between composition
and queer studies.
Dictionary: the qualities,
beliefs, etc., that make a
particular person or
group different from
others
In relation to queer:
Queer falls under the all
encompassing umbrella
of identity. (others
include: culture, gender,
etc.)
Dictionary:
-Structuring: the way
that something is built,
arranged, or organized
-Binary: something made
of or based on two
things or parts
In relation to queer:
Queer is one of many
structuring binaries
found in the writing
center and queerfriendly teaching spaces.
These binaries support
the idea of a safe
haven.

Encourage tutees to
use queer beyond
English classes as doing
so will change the way
writers think,
understand, and
engage with the world
and their own
newfound identities.
Consider the writers
identity as such
understanding coaxes
deeper analysis of both
author and self.
If a tutee is opposed to
the idea of queer,
focusing on identity will
bring similar but
broader effects.
Educating tutees on the
structuring binaries that
make up the writing
center creates a sense
of safety, which in turn
may aid in the tutorial
process as the tutee
feels free to express
themselves.