“One of the few portraits of higher education from a postmodern queer analysis that is devoid of painful rhetoric and brutal theorizing. I plan to use it for a course I teach on gay and lesbian issues. A passionately argued and personally revealing postmodern analysis of academia and the queer presence. Rousing, enlightening, and lucid.” --James T. Sears, Professor of Curriculum and Higher Education, University of South Carolina “William G. Tierney amply and ably probes the political charge of the specifics of an out gay researcher versus the unmarked person who does research on gay and/or lesbian topics.” --Patti Lather, Professor of Education and Women's Studies, The Ohio State University “William G. Tierney is a practicing ‘outlaw,’ crisscrossing the horizon where cultural studies meets the academy. One of our premier critics of higher education, Tierney reveals how cultural distinctions shape our relation to key dimensions of everyday life: sexuality, ethnicity, gender, and social class. Academic Outlaws works at the intersections of cultural studies and queer theory by forcing us to reflect on how authors/readers reflect and interact with one another in the construction of a text. The book has a theoretical sophistication and elegance of style that is rare in academic writing. A thought-provoking work that is as courageous as it is provocative.” --Peter McLaren, Professor of Education and Cultural Studies, UCLA “Academic Outlaws lays the foundation for those in higher education who are honestly interested in creating inclusive environments on our campuses. William G. Tierney's ability to translate theory into strategies for change eliminates the common excuses that scholars do not provide blueprints for transformation. The book is communicated with passion, commitment, and love. A model for all those who have not been full participants in higher education.” --Mildred Garcia, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Montclair State University “Simultaneously autobiographical, fictional, and theoretical, this powerful and accessible exposition is essential reading for all interested in cultural studies and politics.” --William F. Pinar, St. Bernard Parish Alumni Endowed Professor, Louisiana State University “William G. Tierney's juxtaposition of critical theory and structural analysis is the most coherent and systematic framework for cultural studies to date. A far-reaching intellectual accomplishment. The bitter, sweet, and loving persona stories inform both sophisticated theory development and superb tactical and strategic planning for faculty and administrators. No other contemporary work connects these epistemological and methodological arenas so deftly and so accessibly. The book sets a new standard for transdisciplinarity in the social sciences.” --Yvonna S. Lincoln, Professor, Texas A&M “Every heterosexual person should read this book. It could be one small step in making for a more peaceful, happier world.” --Clyde Hendrick, Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University and formerly Dean, Texas Tech University Graduate School “William G. Tierney provides a provocative contemporary look into queer scholarship and queer scholars. There is certainly a need for this book as many academic units are currently struggling with issues on the role of gay and lesbian scholars and scholarship in their respective disciplines. The book should definitely make a significant contribution to the field of gay and lesbian studies.” --Larry D. Icard, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle Scholarly yet provocatively written, Academic Outlaws presents a comprehensive discussion of how life in academe is experienced by gay men and lesbian women. Using a narrative style that mixes autobiography, case study data, and fiction, author William G. Tierney provides timely insight into how homosexuals are treated in higher education and proposes an alternative process for redefining long-established cultural norms. He works at the intersection of “hot points” in intellectual, university life, exploring the theoretical and practical implications of cultural studies, queer theory, and critical theory among others. Drawing readers into a comfortable conversation about some of society's most difficult topics, this book demonstrates the need to reframe concepts such as oppression, difference, language, and culture as they affect the social culture of our learning institutions. Of broad and contemporary appeal, this book should be read by researchers, academics, students, and lay readers as well. Academic Outlaws will also appeal to those interested in knowledge production and how we might reconfigure the academy as we approach the 21st century. The policy-related implications will be stimulating to those who are concerned with issues of equity.
Chapter 2: Queer Theory as Cultural Politics
Queer Theory as Cultural Politics
Framing Gay Men
Many years ago, when I was still in the closet and struggling with my sexual orientation, I brought home a college friend who I found out a decade later was gay. When we were classmates, neither he nor I discussed being gay, and we never did anything remotely physical, but there was a certain bond of friendship that enabled us to enjoy one another's company even though we were quite different. He was an engineer and I was an English major; he liked team sports and I liked the solitude of running. He appreciated rock and roll, and I opted for folk music.
One of the first times he left our home my mother commented, ...