Notes: Jonathan Alexander & William P. Banks, “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview”

Alexander, J., & Banks, W. P. (2004). Sexualities, technologies, and the teaching of writing: A critical overview.Computers and Composition, 21(3), 273-293. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.05.005



Alexander and Banks review literature on issues intersecting queer and sexuality studies and computers and composition studies in the introduction to a special issue of computers and writing.

Keywords: Writing Studies, Rhetoric, Composition, Computers and composition, Computers and Writing, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Teaching Writing, Pedagogy, Sexuality


Woodland, Randall. (2000 [1995]). “Queer spaces, modem boys and pagan statues: Gay/lesbian identity and the construction of cyberspace.” In David Bell & Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds.), The cybercultures reader (pp. 416–431). London: Routledge.


“[B]oth sexuality and technology studies are concerned with the intertwined issues of space and identity. Although theorists continue to puzzle out the intricacies of what it means to be queer—as well as what we mean when we talk about the various sexualities that exist—at the heart of such discussions seems to be an agreement that marking spaces as queer, or even marking the role that unspoken sexualities play in class discussions, disrupts easy binaries of representation and reification” (274).

“[T]he failure to pay attention runs throughout popular discussions of technology and its place in the writing classroom, as well as in education more generally. Although Selfe spoke primarily to issues of access, we would extend her concept to include paying attention to the sexed and sexualized bodies that sit in our classrooms and that use various technologies. Yet conversations among techno-savvy academics often fail to deal with inequities and disruptions in computer-mediated and online courses, such as those caused by homophobic flaming and the more subtle intimidations enacted through heteronormative language” (275).

“[A]lthough queer theories—influenced often by Marxisms, feminisms, and the discourses of deconstruction—proliferate, rarely do these theories bring their important ideas to the classroom in ways that make sense to teachers who are not already advocates of queer theories. They simply do not make the important rhetorical and epistemological move toward what Paulo Friere called praxis, the thoughtful blending of theory and practice” (275).

“What if instead of identity we began to think in rhetorical terms about ethos? While identity pretends at stability—and certainly has a cultural connection to fixity in the present climate— ethos foregrounds audience-based performativity and a recognition that some aspects of self are always open for invention, depending on any number of personal and social constraints: confidence, linguistic ability, time, place, rhetorical distance, and audience attitudes, to name a few” (285).


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