PhD received 13 December 2003.
Queering high school biology textbooks
Article first published online: 23 JUN 2004
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume 41, Issue 6, pages 617–636, August 2004
How to Cite
Snyder, V. L. and Broadway, F. S. (2004), Queering high school biology textbooks. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 41: 617–636. doi: 10.1002/tea.20014
- Issue published online: 23 JUL 2004
- Article first published online: 23 JUN 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 AUG 2003
- Manuscript Received: 12 JUN 2003
As teachers committed to educating all students, we need to learn more about how instructional materials shape representations of sexuality and gender. Through its insistent deconstruction of the norms that structure practice and belief, queer theory offers perspectives from which science educators can question assumptions embedded in textbooks. This article applies queer theory to analyze eight biology textbooks used in the United States. Specifically, we ask how biology textbooks address sexuality outside the heterosexual norm and if they propagate heteronormative attitudes. The textbooks examined offer deafening silences, antiseptic factoids, socially sanitized concepts, and politically correct binary-gendered illustrations. In these textbooks, the term homosexuality was used only in the context of AIDS where, along with iv drug users, they were identified as an affected group. The pervasive acceptance of heteronormative behavior privileges students that fit the heterosexual norm, and oppresses through omission and silence those who do not. We offer implications for practice to help science educators broaden their perspectives on the constructs of sexuality and gender to construct new ways of knowing and understanding differences in science classrooms and the natural world. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 617–636, 2004