Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Queering of Southern Lines

  • David HermanJr.


Educational spaces extend well beyond the brick and mortar of a school building. In this chapter, Herman considers a familiar structure of Southern Black culture in the United States as an educational terrain where bodies become central to the production of knowledge and agency. Further, Herman explores Sara Ahmed’s concept of compulsory heterosexuality in which she claims that some bodies are marked with privileges and that those bodies labor to perpetuate those privileges as norms on other bodies. This chapter offers up an experience between a teenage daughter and her parents that speaks to a gendered Black body in a heteronormative world and what occurs when traditions, family values, or what Ahmed considers “straightlines” are disrupted and queered.


  1. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gatens, M. (1996). Imaginary bodies: Ethics, power and corporeality. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar

Related Further Reading

  1. Jones, J. (2010). Labor of love, labor of sorrow: Black women, work, and the family from slavery to the present. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Tate, S. A. (2005). Black skins, black masks: Hybridity, dialogism, performativity. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David HermanJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art Education and Art HistoryCollege of Visual Arts and Design, University of North TexasDentonUSA

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