Clutching the Vacuum

  • Angela C. Coffee


A scholarship recipient within a private upper/middle-class and primarily white space, Coffee experienced high school as a process of unlearning and regulating herself and her social class embodied literacies (Jones and Vagle, Educational Researcher 42(3):318–339, 2013; Jones, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 56(7):525–529, 2013). In this chapter, Coffee describes a moment when she was cleaning a classroom as part of her work-study responsibilities. Coffee examines this flashpoint attuned toward the histories that orient bodies to objects and spaces in particular ways, meritocratic educational narratives and hierarchies that rely on particular labors becoming background, and the powerful resistance and wisdom that resides within the body. In this moment, braced, mind racing, clutching the vacuum, her body knew and struggled within the impossible contradiction it was tasked to inhabit.

Related Further Reading

  1. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Deliovsky, K. (2010). White femininity: Race, gender & power. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Hayes, C. (2012). Twilight of the elites: America after meritocracy. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Jones, S. (2013). Literacies in the body. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 56(7), 525–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jones, S., & Vagle, M. D. (2013). Living contradictions and working for change: Toward a theory of social class-sensitive pedagogy. Educational Researcher, 42(3), 318–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela C. Coffee
    • 1
  1. 1.Century CollegeWhite Bear LakeUS

Personalised recommendations