“Teaching to Transgress” in the Emergency Remote Classroom
Special Issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies (Spring 2021)
In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks writes, “To enter classroom settings in colleges and universities with the will to share the desire to encourage excitement, was to transgress. [...] Agendas had to be flexible, had to allow for spontaneous shifts in direction. Students had to be seen in their particularity as individuals [...] to create an open learning community.”
Long before the COVD-19 pandemic, scholars called for abolishing the rote, exam-based memorization inherited from the nineteenth-century classroom whose current global penetration is a direct result of colonialism. The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the fact that the needs of students and teachers are no longer served by Victorian pedagogical practice, and, as many of us prepare for our second full semesters of emergency hybrid, hyflex, online, or otherwise “remote” teaching, the need to reconsider our pedagogical approaches has become more urgent than ever.
Issues of accessibility and inclusivity in education have always disproportionately affected marginalized communities at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, age, place, disability, and nation. The pandemic has only exacerbated existing inequities. Food insecurity, homelessness, lack of accessible health care, domestic abuse, insufficient childcare options, unreliable and pricey internet access, financial instability, and lack of personal safety are but a few of the larger concerns that students and teachers continue to face. Over the past ten months, the meanings of “access” and “inclusivity” have shifted dramatically for post-secondary educators and students. What does inclusivity mean for tent teaching during fall and winter months or with “bring-your-own-chair” instructions? What does access mean for learning with masks? Is education possible for students or teachers in quarantine or isolation? For those with increased familial responsibilities? For those who have lost loved ones or have fallen ill themselves? For those who have been deemed “essential workers”?
For this special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, contributions are welcome from teacher-scholars at any stage of their career, at any institution, and from any part of the globe who wish to share strategies, present course ideas, or pose further questions that might ease some of the current logistical burdens of NCGS’s readership—most of them higher-education instructors.
Submissions may take one of three forms.
- First, traditionally theoretical, interventionist essays of about 5,000 words in addition to supplemental materials (e.g., activities, assignments, syllabi, etc.) that would highlight practical classroom applications of the intervention discussed.
- Second, “pedagogy shorts,” as we call them, that is, short essays of 1,000-2,000 words each, that narratively introduce a specific set of materials (e.g., sample syllabus language, assignment and activity prompts, rubrics, etc.).
- And, third, review essays of 5,000 words that would usefully bring topics from disability, gender and sexuality, critical race, trauma, and instructional research studies to bear on nineteenth-century and/or writing studies pedagogy.
The overall goal of the issue is to foster intersectional and collective thought in our choices of texts, our course policies, our LMS designs, our classroom setups, our assignments, and our assessments. How can we “teach to transgress” in the remote pandemic classroom?
Please send proposals of 300 words (for either a full-length essay, pedagogy short, or review essay), along with a one-page CV to Doreen Thierauf (firstname.lastname@example.org), Shannon Draucker (email@example.com), and Kimberly Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 15. Full submissions will be due January 1, 2021.
 bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress (Routledge, 1994).