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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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Class Dismissed

Class Dismissed

(p.233) Chapter 13 Class Dismissed
My Desire for History

Allan Bérubé

University of North Carolina Press

This essay describes how, in the mid-1990s, Berube was deeply involved in his research on the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union. Beyond the reflections and writing it provoked about how class shaped his own life experience, this work also pushed Berube to think deeply and analytically about how class operates in society. Here, in an address to an academic queer studies conference, Berube moves back and forth between historical episodes and personal experience as ways of illustrating the pervasiveness of class, even as class often gets dismissed in the United States as inconsequential. He calls for making class central to how queer scholars frame their work. Berube asks tough questions of himself and others, including “Whose [class] position do I want to make stronger by doing my intellectual work?”

Keywords:   Berube, life experience, queer studies, historical episodes, personal experience, queer scholars

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