Confronting Normative Autobiography Conventions at the Intersection of Queer Literary Theory and Currere: A Fluid High School Homecoming

  • Richard Sawyer Washington State University
Keywords: Queer Theory, Dialogic Currere, Queer High School Experience, Queer Literary Theory


Conventional narrative and autobiography have been critiqued by queer literary theorists as reinforcing heteronormative binaries and biases. In this currere of my experiences as a queer high school student in the early 1970s, I explore the intersection of queer narrative theory and currere as an alternative to such conventional autobiographical/narrative forms.  

I further explore how currere as a curricular language of inquiry provides access to a high school experience in which acting on homosexuality was still illegal in society and erased at school. I examine how the null curriculum of my experience became a site of resistance in the past and re-imagination in the present. To access old memories and create new understandings of the past I examine artifacts from the past—my old high school yearbook as a proxy for the official curriculum and my own photography as a window into my null curriculum. Throughout the inquiry I consider the questions of how to explore erased experience (to add to the historical record experience that didn’t occur) and how to understand and counteract in the present the continuation of homophobic discourses grounded in the past.


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