Perhaps the the single-most important focus of my educating life is trouble. Even before I started writing on my trouble blog in 2009, I thought about trouble a lot. It started in the spring of 1997, when I first encountered Judith Butler’s infamous lines in the preface to the first edition of Gender Trouble.
“trouble is inevitable and the task, how best to make it, what best way to be in it.”
Embracing trouble and developing ways, in my scholarship and teaching, for how best to make it and to be in it and stay in it, have been central to what I do, and in many ways who I am, as a thinker, writer, and undisciplined educator. Directly and indirectly, I used the classes that I taught at the University as laboratories for testing out various troublemaking methods and tactics.
Looking back at my teaching materials, I can find evidence of trouble everywhere, including: entire courses about making trouble and required readings and discussion topics assigned to trace genealogies of troublemakers and critically interrogate troublemaking methods. Lectures and class activities designed for making and staying in trouble. And blog posts from my TROUBLE blog, incorporated into discussions and used for pedagogical experiments and modeling my approaches to engaging with texts and completing assignments.
Since leaving the University and shifting my attention to storytelling, troublemaker has not been my primary identity. Yet, making trouble infuses my storytelling and how and why I tell stories. And, staying in trouble remains central to how I’m surviving the current political climate in the United States.