A Study of Limits, Ignorance, and Reading Practices: Community Service-Learning as an Exercise in the Vision of Queer Pedagogy
Theories and practices of community service-learning (CSL) have implicated it in a broad project of confronting the unthinkability of privilege and difference, the culturally situated, political nature of knowledge, and the dialogical, transformative potential of reading. I argue that this understanding of CSL largely aligns in vision, directives, and prospects with an exercise in queer pedagogy. With its critical inquiry into pedagogical practice informed by queer theory, Deborah Britzman’s triangulated queer pedagogy not only shares productive theoretical ground with CSL, but can also be seen to inform, enhance, and develop the academic role of service-learning as a methodology of teaching and learning. Through its development in academic institutions in Canada, CSL should look to queer theory’s established lexicon in order to take up precise, thickly descriptive, exoteric language which reflects the two fields’ productive commonalities. Furthermore, where CSL literature often identifies as volunteerism, internship, and experiential learning, queer pedagogy ascribes deep transformative potential to its approach—a perspective and a potential often undervalued by practitioners of CSL. Finally, a bringing together of community service-learning and queer pedagogy illustrates the need in service-learning literature for an approach to systematic archiving which more closely adheres to the field’s emphasis on the creation of deeply reflective and creative academic work.
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