Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2017)

Volume 14 Issue 1

ISSN: 1524-6345





How to Teach in High Heels: Porn Studies in the Interdisciplinary Classroom



Kathryn Wichelns

Department of English

University of New Mexico, USA

E-mail: wichelns@unm.edu



Abstract

     This essay traces the experiences of a literature instructor, with a background in queer theory and sexuality studies, teaching two sections of a small, multi-disciplinary, upper-division undergraduate porn studies seminar at a flagship, Hispanic-serving public university. After briefly exploring the ways that—as a literary comparativist—she failed to predict several practical challenges involved in actual interdisciplinary teaching, the author offers some provocations for teaching porn studies and navigating multiple student disciplines in a discussion-format seminar at a large state university with a diverse student body. The author argues that porn and sexuality studies are particularly useful tools in this institutional environment, as they enable organic interrogations of received ideas about race, class, gender, and sexual identity. After a lack of institutional support, the biggest challenge the author notes in her own initial relationship to interdisciplinary porn studies pedagogy is the training humanities scholars receive in “additive” versions of interdisciplinarity—which fail to question the basic primacy of one pedagogical model.

      Keywords: porn studies, queer, feminist, race, literature, interdisciplinarity