The renewed interest in personal essays in composition complicates the contested, tricky personal identity negotiations for students and faculty in first-year writing, particularly in manifestations and representations of the body in both the classroom and writing spaces. This is especially complex for minority subjects, including queer students and faculty. Such collections as The Teacher’s Body (edited by Freedman and Holmes) and Professions of Desire (edited by Haggerty and Zimmerman) explore the pedagogical underpinnings of the body, and Ellis Hanson’s essay in the Gay Shame collection (2009) further complicates and interrogates the ways queer bodies are represented and problematized in the classroom. This article explores our own experiences in first-year writing: as students within a mind/body binary exploring through the scaffolding of composition, and as faculty who are increasingly exposed through our body projections in the classroom and depictions of our body and sexuality in an increasingly savvy media in which Google, Facebook, and social networking sites create matrices of identifications and disidentifications that inform our classroom experiences. The article traces the ways our bodies are aligned with cultural norms, and the ways that first-year writing complicates, contests, reifies, or disrupts these norms—for both students and faculty.
Rob Faunce; Contested Bodies. Pedagogy 1 January 2015; 15 (1): 183–191. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2799340
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