07 SES 14 B, Schools As Queer Spaces: European Perspectives
Studies have shown that the dominant discourse within schools can be rather heteronormative and that LGBTQ students often experience themselves as marginalized (Epstein, 1994; Mayo, 2013; Lipkin, 2004). Furthermore, textbooks and curricula rarely address LGBTQ issues and topics (see Blackburn, 2011; Ferfolja, 2007). In Iceland, a new National Curriculum Guide for pre-, compulsory and upper secondary schools was released in 2011. It provides the option to teach about queer topics. This study is about the ways in which queer studies can provide a queer space, a kind of a counter-space, which marginalized groups can claim. I draw on Foucault’s concept of heterotopia – the space of the other – that he uses to describe places and spaces that function in non-hegemonic conditions (Foucault 1984), and Fraser’s concept of the counter-publics. She describes counter-publics as ‘parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter-discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests and needs’ (Fraser, 1990: 67). I use the concepts of heterotopia and counter-publics to explore how queer counter-spaces were formed by teaching about queer history in one upper secondary school in Iceland. The data is drawn from an ethnographic study, which took place during a two-week long seminar about the so-called ‘pink holocaust’. The objectives of the research entailed exploring the attitudes of students, who participated in the seminar and if the content changed their attitudes towards LGBTQ issues. Moreover, interviews were taken with gay male students, who experienced the course as liberating and talked about how it made them feel more safe, included and welcoming. The course had disruptive effects, in the sense that it queered the hegemonic discourse of gender and sexuality (Warner, 1993) and thus created a queer counter-space which was ultimately beneficial for all students.
Blackburn, M. (2011) Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and what Literacy Can Do about it. New York: Teachers College Press. Epstein, D. (ed) (1994) Challenging Lesbian and Gay Inequalities in Education. Buckingham: Open University Press. Ferfolja, T. (2007) Schooling cultures: Institutionalizing heteronormativity and heterosexism. International Journal of Inclusive Education 11(2): 147–162. Foucault, M. (1984) Nietzsche, genealogy, history. In P. Rabinow (ed) The Foucault Reader. New York: Pantheon. 76-100. Fraser, N. (1990) Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. Social Text 25 (26): 56–80. Lipkin, A. (2004) Beyond Diversity Day: A Q&A on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Schools. Lanham: MD, Rowman and Littlefield. Mayo, C. (2013) LGBTQ Youth and Education: Policies and Practices. New York: Teachers College Press. Warner, M. (1993) Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.