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Bodies That Matter: transgenderism, innocence and the politics of 'unprofessional' pedagogy

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The sexual identities of youth constructed within a school context are integrally tied to how the public manages, interprets and presents the embodied performances of the sexual/gendered identities of teachers. Drawing from popular media representations of one case--namely the removal of a transgendered teacher, Dana Rivers, from Center High School outside of Sacramento, California--we examine the complicated terrain of embodied practice and the arbitrary, yet powerful, relationships between public/private and body/mind. In this cultural critique, we argue that the discursive strategy of her opponents to articulate the removal of Dana Rivers, not as an issue of sexuality, but as resulting from 'unprofessional' pedagogy, relies on a limited conceptualization of both teachers and students, and works to neutralize the educational landscape by denying the construction of schools as heteronormative spaces.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hampshire College, Amherst, USA Rhode Island College, Providence, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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