“what gives you the moral authority?”

So here’s something that happened to me yesterday at the AERA Annual Meeting: I gave a talk about my dissertation (.pdf)  in a roundtable sponsored by the Queer Studies Special Interest Group. I began my presentation with a rationale for my work: I talked about the material and symbolic violence committed against trans bodies and then described how misogyny and transphobia get internalized really early and that in order to counteract this it’s important to help kids think about … Read more

academic conference advice: Navigating social events

Ugh, social events. We’re all in this together, people.

Let’s be real—a super important piece of the AERA Annual Meeting is its social events. Attending business meetings, receptions, and social gatherings offers the following benefits:

  • (re)connect with people who do similar work
  • (re)connect with people who are affiliated with your current or former institution(s)
  • secure free food and/or free drinks

Everybody should go to social events, but I’m talking especially to graduate students here: These events are fantastic ways to Read more

academic conferences: advice for navigating the Q&A

ugh, AERA. I mean, hooray, AERA!

In the land of educational research, a pretty enormous conference is coming up–the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

I’m the Communications Chair of AERA’s Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group, and I sort of like distributing advice for navigating this most intimidating of conferences. Today, I’m offering advice on how to navigate one specific aspect of this conference–the question-and-answer section of presentations. Advice is divided into two sections. The first … Read more

letter of concern regarding Jack Halberstam’s position on trans identity politics, trauma, and trigger warnings

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, I attended a talk by Jack Halberstam at the University of Colorado Boulder. I was deeply concerned about the content of Dr. Halberstam’s talk, which I considered to be reflective of transphobic, transmisogynistic, and ableist discourses around identity, language use, and the impact of trauma on learning.

I know I’m not the only one who feels frustrated and disappointed by the rhetoric of Halberstam’s position on these issues (see guerilla feminism, feministing, colored Read more

In case you were wondering about my position on marriage equality

This week the U.S. Supreme Court hears two cases about marriage equality. Today it’s Prop 8; tomorrow it’s DOMA.

In case you were wondering, here’s how I feel about the fight to extend marriage benefits to all couples regardless of sexual orientation:

I think the LGBT rights movement is far too fixated on this issue, at the expense of some other really important issues that need our attention. I think marriage remains an institution of questionable economic and social … Read more

It Gets Better: the LGBTQ Pride Film Festival, Dead Poets Society and Stephen Schwartz’s “Testimony”

When I was 12 years old, I went with my family to see the Robin Williams movie Dead Poets Society. One of the movie’s main characters is a troubled, sensitive teenager whose actions are controlled by his overbearing father. Here’s the description, pulled from Wikipedia, of one of the key events of the film (warning: contains spoilers):

Without his father’s knowledge, he auditions for the role of Puck in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His

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gender bias: (yet) another reason to worry about MOOCs

Image source: http://cogdogblog.com/2012/07/17/mooc-hysertia/

You may have heard that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are going to revolutionize and/or destroy higher education as we know it. A MOOC, in case you need a quick primer, is a free online course, generally offered through a university or through one of a small handful of educational technology companies (Coursera, Udacity, and edX are the most prominent these days). The goal of the MOOC model is to open up education–to make it possible for … Read more

adventures in teaching Educational Psychology

This semester I’m teaching a new undergraduate course of my own design, a class I’m calling “learning in out-of-school contexts.” The OFFICIAL course title is General Educational Psychology, and it’s designed as a survey of the big ideas of Educational Psychology, targeting people who are not necessarily planning on becoming teachers. So far it’s been a challenging and interesting course, both to design and to teach–one of the big fat thorny issues of my field is figuring out ways to … Read more

Against ‘Free Feline Friday’

If you live in Bloomington, Indiana, you may have heard about the local man who was arrested for torturing and killing several cats. The story, ripped directly from the Bloomington-Herald Times*, is below.

Lennox, stolen shelter kitten abused by Bloomington man, found alive

By Abby Tonsing 331-4245 | atonsing@heraldt.com
December 5, 2012, last update: 12/5 @ 1:53 pm

Lennox, the 3-month-old orange and white kitten, stolen from the animal shelter and later abused by an Indiana University student is

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