The Transgressive Classroom: Borders, Barriers, & Becoming in the Queer Studies Classroom

3-4 participants for a roundtable/panel tentatively titled “The Transgressive Classroom: Borders, Barriers, & Becoming in the Queer Studies Classroom”
at the annual NWSA conference, November 13-16, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It is no revelation to learn that higher ed instructors and classrooms are called to satisfy many goals, from covering substantive material to satisfying education outcomes and assessment requirements to preparing students for the “real world.” The burden falls perhaps even more heavily on the feminist and queer classrooms, populated as they often are by students who have deeply personal reason for taking such courses. What is our responsibility to these students, the ones who may “need” the course for more than academic reasons? And what is our responsibility to our other students, who may take the course for academic credit but for whom the spark of activism can be lit?
How can we blend our commitment to the affective dimensions of teaching (in which the material covered may indeed be literal matters of life, liberty, and love for instructors and students) while also maintaining the intellectual rigor required by our own training and the pedagogical goals of our institutions? In what ways do concepts both old and new, from “the personal is political” to “engaged learning,” assist in – or detract from — this struggle? Are queer classrooms transgressive simply by virtue of existing at all? Or are there specific approaches, strategies, techniques that produce queer classrooms which exist “not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students.” We hope to range across several broad categories of concern in queer pedagogy — practical concerns (texts, readings), curricular concerns (requirements, program design, “coverage”), theoretical concerns (queer vs. LGBT approaches), and material concerns (embodiment, silencing, activism) – while at the same time questioning the interplay between teaching and transgression, learning and liberation.

We are excited for a variety of approaches to and perspectives on this topic both theoretical and practical, and we intend for the session to include ample time for audience-panelist discussion. Please don’t hesitate to submit your idea or to email with questions.

Send topic, title, and 50-100 word abstract to by Friday, February 7th.
Please include your name, contact info, institutional affiliation and position/level (if any), and any other relevant information.

Notifications will be sent out no later than Tuesday, February 11th.

Contact Milton Wendland at

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