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Title: Queer Writing by Ian Barnard

1:  The Pleasures of Inconsistency

Over the past several years I have been compiling an informal bibliography of queer rhet./comp. scholarship—articles and books by Jonathan Alexander, Harriet Malinowitz, Mark McBeth’s work on contrastive rhetoric, Pamela J. Olano, the 1992 queer issue of Pre/Text,  important interventions into composition commonplaces like “freewriting” in the book The Lesbian in Front of the Classroom: Writings by Lesbian Teachers (see Hart), Paul Robinson’s 1982 account of how he could tell his student was gay from that student’s writing style.

My bibliography is by no means complete, but it’s already several pages long.  However, as two of Jonathan Alexander’s recent CCC articles remind us, silences around queerness continue unabated in our field (Alexander and Wallace; Marinara et al.).  The new Norton Book of Composition Studies (Miller) includes Andrea Lunsford’s interview with Gloria Anzaldúa, but otherwise not one single queer article. Old assumptions about what is central, about what is universal; the reproduction of ignorances.  Eve Sedgwick had plenty to say about how ignorance can perform power, control, and violence (see Sedgwick, Epistemology 4).  About centrality.  Ambition.  “Epistemology of the Closet proposes that many of the major nodes of thought and knowledge in twentieth-century Western culture as a whole are structured—indeed, fractured—by a chronic, now endemic crisis of homo/heterosexual definition . . . The book will argue that an understanding of virtually any aspect of modern Western culture must be, not merely incomplete, but damaged in its central substance to the degree that it does not incorporate a critical analysis of modern homo/heterosexual definition” (Sedgwick, Epistemology 1).

But wait—aren’t you conflating queer with lgbt?