Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On Ass-Essment

From the 2008 issue of Profession - an annual publication of the Modern Language Association - comes the following gem. I've plucked it from a "queer critique" of "outcomes assessment and standardization" (dunno which of the two sounds worse):

My students are not the general public; they are people who have signed up to take a queer theory class. I'm sure I've said things in the classroom that might sound odd out of context, but the point is that I didn't say them out of context - I said them there, where my rhetorical choices made sense to a group engaged in a common endeavor undertaken in relation to an extensive archive of conversations, texts, and experiences. By the time we discuss pederasty, fisting, or anal penetration, we have built a context in which these topics are proper to our intellectual project.

One: Fisting is not a "rhetorical" choice.

Two: Shared experiences, huh?

Three: "Intellectual project" - well, whatever. I've given up on American academia - even though university life over here is pretty mad in its own way.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I do quite like some 'queer critiques' given their power against some irritatingly reductionist views of the role and salience of gender. If rhetorical fisting is the price we have to pay, then . . .

Chris Williams

headbang8 said...

Well, like duh.

The Wife said...

Chris, a queer perspective might be a good thing once in a while, but when it's the mainstream, you sometimes wonder ....

Headbang: All those academic radicals queering themselves witless are so damned coy. It's all "Verbalerotik", nothing else.

Dale said...

Shorter Queer Theorist: I take steps to ensure that my students are not shocked by fisting.

Then again, maybe that would be better expressed as "More Candid Queer Theorist."

... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Once in a while I lose track of what alienated me from what passes for academic literary studies, and then I encounter something like this, and I am reminded with all the force of, well, a good fisting.

I trust we can throw such terms around in this setting -- that our rhetorical choices here make sense to a group engaged in a common endeavor undertaken in relation to an extensive archive of conversations, texts, and experiences.

Thanks!