Elevate Difference

Resilience: Queer Professors from the Working Class

This anthology of writings from a variety of queer professors and administrators from the working class aims to shed light on the myriad of ways that gender, sexuality, and class intersect and come into play in the academy. Each author offers his or her unique story, producing testimony to the salience of multiple identities in understanding power within the university and more broadly. 

The strength of this anthology is the dialogue between authors of multiple generations and geographic regions. The reader begins to build connections between a young Black man from the Bronx and an older White woman from the rural south. These differences keep the book from falling back on tropes of individualism that often come from 'inspiring' individual stories.  One of the strongest pieces was Felice Yeskel's "My First Closet Was the Class Closet." It highlights how she came to focus on queer and working class issues of social justice, and through collective action found strength in her identities and politics. The narrative became more than just her own story; it also offered historical lessons in social movements and the challenges of developing an intersectional praxis of radical politics.

One of the advantages of an anthology is that every reader finds different pieces insightful and valuable. The editors explain in the introduction that they hope the book will educate people who possess class and heterosexual privilege on the reality of oppression faced by queer, working class professors, and that these qualitative accounts of lived experience will enrich scholarly work around class and sexuality. Resilience certainly provides the material for success.

Written by: Katrina Forman, February 8th 2009

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