The exploration and regulation of gender and sexual identities in literacy education
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The goal of this dissertation study was to explore and understand the regulation of gender and sexual identities in literacy education, and the discourses within/around schools involving gender and sexual identities. This dissertation is organized in three articles that separately focus on specific aspects of the study and together present a cohesive body of work. I designed a study to merge theory and methodology, employing a blend of methodologies that call for a deconstruction of the linear format of a traditional qualitative dissertation. I read, questioned, and thought with Butler (1990) and Foucault (1977/1980) to understand how performativity and power/knowledge produced literacy curriculum, teachers, and multiple discourses in a Midwestern public school district. The methodological blend was comprised of postqualitative inquiry (St. Pierre, 2011; Lather and St. Pierre, 2013), thinking with theory (Jackson and Mazzei, 2012), and arts-based research (Baron and Eisner, 2012; Leavy, 2015). This study is significant in three ways: (1) it questions and highlights the ways that gender and sexual identities are discursively created and maintained, and the schools' role in this practice, (2) it seeks to understand the role and significance of the teacher in supporting multiple perspectives, identities, and ways of knowing, and (3) it is important to the issues of our current sociopolitical climate, in terms of marriage equality, religious freedom bills, and (lack of) LGBTQ anti-discrimination policies.
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