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From McBeth: The Queer Art of Failure & Masquerade for 10/29/12, 6:30pm

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    Amanda Licastro

    Dear All:

    On Friday, we saw and heard a pretty amazing set of stories about two eminent scholars–Chuck and Sondra–who have spent a 35 odd years composing an identity in the field of composition and rhetoric. A few weeks ago you may have also heard Jack Halberstam talk about Gaga Feminism–a feminism that re-envisions gender identities and uproots some established ideas about a feminist identity.

    I’d like to take a moment on Monday, October 29 to consider identity in the university based on what we heard Chuck and Sondra said as well as what Halberstam write in her previous book The Queer Art of Failure. (See attached.) While the current university-setting insists on measuring our rates of success and setting standards for excellence, Halberstam offers another perspective by which to view success/failure/progression/regression. For this workshop, we will read the introduction of her book (I suggest reading the entire thing when you have a chance) and then I will bring in some statements from other scholars whose ideas might make for interesting frottage with hers. I hope some generative friction will occur and that the combined synthesis, they may re-lubricate our thinking. (Okay, I’ll stop with the naughty metaphors!)

    Concurrently with this discussion–just because I enjoy multi-tasking–we will also make some masks that will help us think about our own identities as well as those of our students in the Academy. (Halloween does approach afterall.) How do the ideas of success and failure in the university shape how we proceed within its material and psychic systems? Whose failures normally get exposed on the very surface of post-secondary education’s rhetoric? And whose successes always seem to outshine everyone else’s? How do we develop our public and private intellectual identities under the pressures of current (and sometimes normativizing) educational values?

    I’ll bring the mask forms that people can purchase at cost (about $5) and the hot glue guns/glue as well as some other mask-making supplies. Please check your junk drawers for things that you’d be willing to throw in a big pile and share with other folks (beads, ribbon, costume jewelry, an old boa, etc.).

    If you could please RSVP to me so that I know how many masks to bring that would be great. JJMark.McBeth@yahoo.com.



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