Sexuality in SchoolThe Limits of Education

Sexuality in SchoolThe Limits of Education

Jen Gilbert

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816686377

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

Sexuality in School: The Limits of Education is a study of the educational breakdowns, conflicts and controversies that emerge as sexuality circulates through the spaces and relations of schooling. I focus specifically on LGBTQ issues and argue that welcoming LGBTQ students, families, teachers and issues into education requires us to rethink our theories of sexuality. Beginning with the contradiction that sexuality poses both a limit and an incitement to education, I turn to psychoanalysis and queer theory to ask: how does sexuality come to bear on teaching and learning? Since sexuality fuels the love, curiosity and aggression that make up our engagements with knowledge, there can be no education without it; and yet education, in its practices, rules and in the relations that comprise schooling, is threatened by the wildness of sexuality. While sexuality pushes education to its limit, education must attempt to limit sexuality. Opening each chapter with a moment of conflict drawn from contemporary public debates on the strange workings of sexuality in schools–from efforts to censor LGBTQ literature from elementary schools to concerns over the bullying of LGBTQ youth to debates about the content of sexuality education–I explore the charged emotional and theoretical terrain underscoring these concerns. Engaging representations from fiction, film, the news, and my own experiences of these conflicts in teacher education, Sexuality in School: The Limits of Education is less interested in settling meaning on an impossible subject than in re-envisioning the grounds for thinking about sexuality and education.