The CLAGS Seminar in the City that I am teaching, “Queer(ing) New York,” will begin this evening, May 1st. Since creating this course, a lot of activists have wondered why we would choose to begin on International Worker’s Day. I see May Day as not only the right to work but the right to learn and to know. Free, open, and accessible education–like Queer(ing) New York–must instead be made common and therefore part of our public commons.
Courses like this are the ways we can reimagine education, and also reimagine and enact equality. Lgbtq people live through and walk through absences everyday, ranging from issues of recognition to acceptance, from using bathrooms to using the subway, from the bar that used to be there but closed to the home that used to be there but doesn’t count you as family anymore. As a group that lives the marginalization of their sexuality on a daily basis–always also intertwined with their gender, race, and class–looking closely at the lives and spaces of lgbtq people allow us a way to reclaim those absences and push for the recognition of all of humanity.
I am thankful to the CUNY Graduate Center for the ability to live stream and record the course for folks to watch later so that students in over eight countries can take part–if not more! While the debates on the usefulness and/or corporatization of the university by massive, open, online courses (MOOCs) rage on and play out before our eyes, Queer(ing) New York is an opportunity to share four focused classes with folks interested in a common issue. With only four course meetings, we are focusing on honing the conversation through blog posts and our Twitter hashtag (#CLAGSqNY). Coming to both deeper and broader understandings about issues of difference through conversations with people different than you opens not only our minds but our possibilities for action, change, and/or a more exciting experience of everyday life.
My labor is education. My purpose is the recognition of social and spatial inequality in the work toward social and spatial justice. How will you labor today?