William F. Pinar
There are several points to be made about this remarkable and strong collection of examples of “queer thinking.” First, for those of us who identify with the lesbian and gay “community, ” there is in this volume an affirmation in being represented, in hearing our voices. For that, we all owe a debt of thanks to Susan Talburt and Shirley Steinberg and to the other contributors to this important book. The appearance of “queer thinking” in the field of education is recent, its formulation in an early stage, even as the political hour feels late. There is an urgency to this work—people are still dying, being bashed, being discriminated against, still suffering unnecessarily in a myriad of ways, public and private—that demands that we summon our courage, achieve some measure of solidarity, and press ahead. It feels as if there is momentum, however vague and fragile, and the appearance of this collection supports that.
But this book is not only about politics. In this early phase of conceptual development, it is of course important to think about everything. After all, it is “everything”—the straight world—that is our problem. That is evident here: from the opening of a gay and lesbian office on campus to film to television sitcoms, whatever occurs to us is legitimate subject matter for queer thinking. The point is to think about “whatever” queerly, not only to legitimate our own experience, but to teach others, both queer others who might feel isolated and intimidated and disempowered and straights, many of whom remain quite clueless, not only about us, but about themselves. In this regard the diversity of theme, of point of view, and of intellectual method are all strengths in this collection.
In terms of the broad field of education, there is an escalating movement into cultural studies, an umbrella term under which queer thinking, for many, for the moment, rests. Popular culture has become, it seems, a