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Michela Musto: "Brilliant or Bad: School Regulation of Boys’ Rule-Breaking and the Gendered Social Construction of Exceptionalism in Early Adolescence"
Drawing on 2.5 years of longitudinal ethnography and 196 interviews conducted at a racially diverse, public middle school in Los Angeles, Michela Musto, Clayman Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow, identifies how boys come to be associated with exceptional intelligence. To do so, Musto compared educators’ responses to boys’ rule-breaking by course level. In higher-level courses, where educators tolerated the predominately affluent, White, and Asian American boys’ rule-breaking, students learned to perceive boys as geniuses and prodigies. However, in lower-level courses, where educators penalized the predominately non-affluent Latinx boys’ rule-breaking, students learned to perceive girls as smarter than boys, but not exceptional. She concludes by theorizing how school processes contribute to the gendered social construction of exceptionalism in early adolescence.
Michela Musto is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.