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Queer Activism in South African Education : Disrupting Cis(hetero)normativity in Schools - Dennis A. Francis
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Queer Activism in South African Education

Disrupting Cis(hetero)normativity in Schools

By: Dennis A. Francis

Paperback | 27 May 2024

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Offering a vital, critical contribution to debates on gender, sexuality and schooling in South Africa, this book highlights how South African educational practices, discourses and structures normalize cisheteronormativity, along with how these are resisted within schools and through contemporary forms of activism.

Not only does it add fresh insights to the existing research literature on gender, sexualities and schooling, it also underscores the valuable contributions of queer and transgender social movements, which have made influential legislative, teaching, learning and support contributions to education. Drawing on ethnographic research with queer and transgender activists, teachers, school managers, parents and school attending youth, the book provides everyday real-life quotes and observations offering a deeply critical contribution to the debates on gender and sexualities, education and activism. Using spatial and affect theories, it troubles the assumptions that frame this field of research to make a novel contribution to the national and international literature and research.

The book provides research-based insights for thinking about and calls for informed action to challenging cisheteronormativity within and beyond schools.

Industry Reviews

"This book is invaluable for those interested in creating inclusive and transformative environments that affirm sexuality and gender diversity. Drawing from rich empirical insights, it traces how cisheteronormativity is normalized in schools and highlights contemporary forms of activism and resistance for social change. Francis offers new solutions for challenging cisheteronormativity within and beyond schools when these institutions join forces with Queer and Transgender Organizations."

Louisa Allen, University of Auckland, Australia; author of Young People and Sexuality Education: Rethinking Key Debates and co-editor of The Handbook of Sexuality Education.

"This book analyzes cisheteronormativity in school contexts - where it is often quite literally compulsory. Using thorough and extensive research that weaves a brilliant tapestry of voices, Francis provides a detailed analysis of how schools continue to propagate homophobic and transphobic cultures. But for once the reader is not left indignant and frustrated. Instead, the exciting potential of collaborating with Queer Social Movements is explored as a way forward. For those of us working to find realistic and creative ways to transform schools into agents of social justice, this book is essential reading."

Renee DePalma, University of A Coruna, Spain; author of Queer pedagogy as an impossible profession.

"We live our lives through stories. Stories are how we give shape and meaning to our experiences. What are the stories LGBTIQ youth would tell about their school experiences? How are queer lives viewed, seen, and understood in a post-apartheid South Africa? What role does schooling play in (re)imaging education as a practice of transformation and freedom? In this book, Dennis Francis brings powerful scholarship to bear on answering these questions by focusing on the agency, resiliency, and resistance of LGBTIQ youth, teachers, school workers, and activists to the forces of cisheteronormativity. Francis brings forth rich and compelling narratives that unpack, center, and re-imagine the transformative possibilities that can occur when we seek to challenge and change schools from the inside out and the outside in by engaging in lessons learned from queer social movements. If we truly believe that schools are at the heart of communities, we must fight for them to become spaces of belonging, truth, and justice for all."

Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada.

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