Queer Professors from the Working Class

Edited by Kenneth Oldfield & Richard Greggory Johnson III

Subjects: Education, Lesbian / Gay Studies, Women's Studies, Gender Studies, Men's Studies
Paperback : 9780791476383, 264 pages, December 2008
Hardcover : 9780791476376, 264 pages, December 2008

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
Kenneth Wendell Oldfield and Richard Greggory Johnson III
2. Class, Sexuality, and Academia
Andrea R. Lehrermeier
3. Middle-Class Drag
Renny Christopher
4. From the Altar Boy’s Robes to the Professor’s Cap and Gown: The Journey of a Gay, Working-Class Academic
Timothy J. Quain
5. One in Ten: Teaching Tolerance for Class Difference, Ambiguity, and Queerness in the Culture Classroom
Denis M. Provencher
6. Flying the Coop: Liberation through Learning
Nancy Ciucevich Story
7. No More Rented Rooms
Bonnie R. Strickland
8. Escape from the Bronx: The Making of an Unlikely Leader
Richard Greggory Johnson III
9. My First Closet Was the Class Closet
Felice Yeskel
10. One Bad Lecture Away from Guarding a Bank: Identity as a Process
Michallene McDaniel
11. Becoming (Almost) One of Those “Damn, New York, Pinko Intellectuals”
Donald C. Barrett
12. Weaving the Self with Gender: Uniting Race, Sexual Orientation, and Social Class
Terell P. Lasane
13. Possibilities
Angelia R. Wilson
14. Hate Is Not a Family Value
Susan E. Borrego

First collection of essays by queer scholars with working-class backgrounds.


Academia can be overwhelmingly foreign and hostile to those who have poor or working-class backgrounds. For people who are from the working class and also queer, the obstacles to earning a graduate degree may prove insurmountable. Frequently discouraged from attending college in the first place, these students often struggle to pay for their education while they simultaneously battle prejudice and discrimination because of their sexual orientation and blue-collar backgrounds. Resilience offers inspiring personal stories of those who made it: thirteen professors and administrators provide their moving accounts of struggle, marginalization, and triumph in the accomplishments that their parents, guidance counselors, and sometimes even they themselves would have thought out of reach. These scholars write in a manner that will enable readers to reconsider their own assumptions and to empathize with the oppression that accompanies being defined as "other. "

Kenneth Oldfield is Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Richard Greggory Johnson III is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont.


"By addressing two outsider statuses, queer and working class, within higher education, Resilience makes a contribution to a number of academic areas, such as higher education, queer studies, and class studies, and a variety of audiences, including policy-makers, administrators, faculty, counselors, and students. " — H-Net Reviews

"The 13 personal and professional stories of young people journeying towards professorship were all different, riveting, and well edited. Oldfield and Johnson have done the field of current and prospective faculty, as well as scholars and researchers in the field[s] of higher education, gender studies, and sexuality study, great service by selecting compelling life accounts to illuminate varied aspects of this profound, hitherto invisible, and silenced journey. " — New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

"This book began, like many good ideas, as a conversation … the result is a collection of thirteen moving, beautifully written autobiographical essays, each charting a unique, usually roundabout path from working class conditions to the professoriate. " — Gay & Lesbian Review