By Jonathan Alexander
Regardless of its centrality to a lot of up to date own and public discourse, sexuality continues to be sometimes mentioned in so much composition classes, and in our self-discipline at huge. in addition, its advanced dating to discourse, to the very languages we use to explain and outline our worlds, is woefully understudied in our self-discipline. Discourse approximately sexuality, and the discourse of sexuality, encompass us—circulating within the information media, on the net, in conversations, and within the very languages we use to articulate our interactions with others and our figuring out of ourselves. It kinds a middle set of advanced discourses during which we technique, make experience of, and build a number of meanings, politics, and identities.
In Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy, Jonathan Alexander argues for the improvement of students' "sexual literacy." one of these literacy is not only considering constructing fluency with sexuality as a "hot" subject, yet with knowing the intimate interconnectedness of sexuality and literacy in Western tradition. utilizing the paintings of students in queer idea, sexuality stories, and the hot Literacy stories, Alexander unpacks what he sees as a crucial--if frequently overlooked--dimension of literacy: the basic ways that sexuality has turn into a key section of modern literate perform, of the tales we inform approximately ourselves, our groups, and our political investments.
Alexander then demonstrates via a sequence of composition workouts and writing assignments how we'd increase students' realizing of sexual literacy. reading discourses of gender, heterosexuality, and marriage permits scholars (and teachers) a serious chance to determine how the languages we use to explain ourselves and our groups are saturated with ideologies of sexuality. figuring out how sexuality is built and deployed which will "make meaning" in our tradition provides us a serious software either to appreciate a number of the basic ways that we all know ourselves and to problem many of the norms that govern our lives. within the procedure, we turn into extra fluent with the tales that we inform approximately ourselves and detect how normative notions of sexuality let (and constrain) narrations of id, tradition, and politics. Such develops not just our knowing of sexuality, yet of literacy, as we discover how sexuality is a crucial, if vexing, a part of the tale of who we're.
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I maintain that we need to explore how we as writing instructors might capitalize on some of the creative discussions that students are already having about sex and sexuality—in an effort to expand our mutual understanding of how constructions of and knowledge about sexuality inform, and are informed by, what passes as “literate” in our society. Inevitably, one book can only do so much, and, as I have worked on this project over the past few years, I have felt again and again remiss in the number of subjects that I have not covered.
Students’ writing in this class revealed a complex engagement with issues not only of marriage, but also of monogamy, polyamory, prostitution, and reproductive rights and responsibilities. The concluding chapter, “Susie Bright in the Comp Class: Confronting Resistances,” considers theoretical and practical issues concerning possible student—and instructor—resistances to considering the interrelationship between sexuality and literacy. Resistances are inevitable; how we cope with them can shape productively how we introduce and work with difficult and “sensitive” topics.
We are already always “inside” such discourses, and paying attention to them is an important first step in developing a critical sexual literacy that will allow us to understand them, challenge them, and critique them when necessary. A failure to pay attention to such discourses, to a sexual literacy, is a failure to prepare students for rich participation in a culture that understands sexuality as fundamental to some of our most important cultural narrations of self and other, as individuals and as various political collectives.
Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies by Jonathan Alexander