Dr. Fox

The newly conferred Dr. Fox circa 2003

My name is Dr. Broderick Fox and I'm a professor.

The intellect can be a tricky thing. It can get in the way of feeling things, and getting into action. My years pursuing a doctoral degree and my first years teaching were pretty lonely as I sought to find ways to put theory into practice. Now, having been a professor for close to a decade, I feel like I’m finally able to strike an energizing balance between my thinking and making. My students continually inspire me, and the classroom is a place where I can share my own successes and failures as an independent media maker with students as a shared space of teaching and learning.


There were a number of critical questions that shaped the approaches and content of THE SKIN I’M IN. As the background clip to this page attests, I had been doing a lot of thinking about the psychoanalytic notion of mirroring, and asking where the complex and nuanced cultural mirrorings of LGBT identities were. One of my arguments for the importance of autobiographical media is the need for marginalized voices and perspectives to be seen and heard. In short, if mainstream media won’t tell our stories, we need to mirror ourselves.


This is a step forwards from 20th century notions of identity politics, where certain individuals were eschewed from racial, feminist, or gay liberation movements for not staying “on message.” Certainly in the early years of a struggle, there is a need to have a clear, understandable campaign. Just look at how the repeated critique, first of the WTO protests and now of the Occupy Movement, has been “What is the message?” It’s hard to make posters and march for abstract ideas like “plurality and heterogeneity.” But perhaps we’ve come to a point in identity politics at least, where the individual and the specific don’t undermine a collective message, but rather attest to the infinite possibilities of identity. With each example of straight male body dysmorphia or male-to-female-trans lesbian desire, we begin to uncouple the variables of identity that culture has so long restricted to a meager and insufficient number of binaries: male/female, gay/straight, etc. I’ve in essence described queer theory, which challenges each of us to “queer” or question all cultural norms and givens.

 Join the conversation: queering culture

  • Have you ever been challenged to rethink something you’d previously taken for granted? What was the belief? What sparked the questioning? How did the experience change you?
  • Strategic essentialism is a compelling term to describe the phenomenon of disenfranchised groups choosing to oversimplify their cultural identities and demands as a strategy for political progress and visibility. We can see this in everything from “Asian-American FIlm Festivals” that lump together myriad cultures under one heading, to the marriage equality issue being chosen as the banner issue to advance LGBT rights. Have you had to balance personal interests with party lines in the name of strategic social progress? Share your experiences or perspectives on this strategy.
  • Michel Foucault’s notions of biopower and panopticism allude to the insidious ways in which we often police, censor, and regulate ourselves out of implicit fear of cultural ostracism or repercussion.  Can you see patterns of bio-power at play in your own life? In how you dress, what you do or don’t post online, or in other public performances of “self”? Share your experiences with us.


Share your thoughts and comments in the “queering culture” blog feed below, and I’ll keep posting mine as well.


Join the conversation