Category Archives: Queer Studies

October 2, 2009, 10:57 am

Discriminating Tastes: What People Who Are Not Normal Might Know That You Don’t Know

One of the things that prompting my last post about the restructuring of institutional benefits during a period of budget cutting was not, as some people assumed, that I think cutting faculty compensation is a viable way to save higher education. I don’t. Rather, my concern was that the failure to address compensation inequities already in place means that in a period where we might potentially rethink and repair such inequities, many people, in the name of radical opposition to The Man, can only draw the wagons closer around what already exists. More progressive change, they argue, is unrealistic in a crisis, and must be put off to a distant future, when utopia will be possible. This is the pattern of debates over national health care, and it is a belief currently prevalent at private institutions that have done for the select few what the state refuses to do for everyone (hence…

Read More

February 19, 2009, 1:25 pm

“There You Go Again:” Republicans Condemn Sex, Slash Education Budget

Arguably, it was Ronald Reagan shaking his head in the middle of a presidential debate with Jimmy Carter as he chuckled ruefully, “There you go again,” that created an emotional turning point in the 1980 campaign. It’s what we remember, anyway, that and the explosive, derisive response from the audience as Carter stood there unable to respond. This moment became symbolic of what many voters, not just right-wing voters, had come to think of Democratic governance: that the same old strategies, strategies that had not yet resolved a single social problem, were being presented as if they were new and innovative.

Well, it looks like no one is immune from regurgitating old, tired solutions to economic malaise. Having, for almost three decades, tried to deflect attention from the damage their economic policies have had on the vast majority of Americans, Republicans are once again turning to …

Read More

July 15, 2007, 1:11 pm

Big City Comes to the Radical: Notes on Shoreline, New York and Change Over Time (Also Known As History)

One feature of middle age for me is not just being able to reflect on my youth and see the turning points, but also to see turning points as they are occurring. Historians will recognize this as “periodizing,” something we are taught to do when we prepare for our general exams as graduate students, and which is a traditional way of organizing historical knowledge: i.e., the Age of Jackson begins here, with this event, and ends here with this event. The events on either end are turning points in which something fundamentally changes, and that change is something that the Jacksonians perhaps did, or did not, perceive as something very significant at the time. So for example, probably everyone who was sentient and following politics knew that it was a Big Deal when Andrew Jackson successfully intimidated South Carolinians into paying federal taxes and resolved the Nullification Crisis i…

Read More

May 23, 2007, 2:04 pm

A Few Little Things, All Important, But None Important Enough for A Post of Their Own

What I had really decided to do today was work on a little talk I am supposed to give on Saturday about teaching Queer Studies for Zenith alums and parents of graduating seniors. In order that this not go into the category labeled No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, I determined a while back to use this presentation as an opportunity to write a short, pleasant article about building queer studies as a concentration in American Studies at a liberal arts institution that is unlikely to dedicate more than a line or so to any interdisciplinary field. Such fields rely on people trained in something else entirely switching over and becoming, shall we say, Transscholarly.

I don’t emphasize Zenith’s limited resources to be churlish: it is simply a Fact, and a Fact to be Dealt With as creatively and cheerfully as possible lest there be research I am unaware of concluding that griping is a major cause…

Read More