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This narrative will combine stories with poetry to convey our lived experiences as Black women who took different roads to academia, and serve in differently situated…
This narrative will combine stories with poetry to convey our lived experiences as Black women who took different roads to academia, and serve in differently situated institutions, but who now face similar experiences. We write this narrative, not as generic advice to new academics. Rather, it is a transparent, honest missive from sisters to sisters. It is written from the perspectives of Black women and with Black women in mind. This may be particularly instructive to emerging scholars whose work centers the intersections of race, gender, and class. It provides a glimpse into our work as scholars, teachers, activists, and writers.
We base this work on central tenets of Black feminist thought. The core objectives of Black feminist thought are to clarify Black women's experiences and ideas through self-definition, to refute stereotypical depictions, to validate Black women's situated knowledge, and to resist marginalization that occurs as a result of our intersectional identities (Hill Collins, 2000). Our work as academics is informed by our identities as Black women, and these identities continue to be shaped by our work as academics. Last, our narrative examines how both mentorship from Black and non-Black academics, and sisterhood among Black women scholars, sustain and inspire the work to which we are committed.
The hiring of women of colour faculty is not without unwritten presuppositions. The authors are expected to tolerate racism and to draw from cultural experience in…
The hiring of women of colour faculty is not without unwritten presuppositions. The authors are expected to tolerate racism and to draw from cultural experience in catering to students of colour or when it fulfils institutional needs such as bringing ‘colour’ to all-white committees. Yet, the normative profile of university teachers demands detachment with a focus on high output in terms of students and publications. In the light of this, commitment to social justice seems to be in (certain) disagreements with mainstream interpretations of the academic profession. Women of colour professors are redefining educational leadership. This chapter addresses its effect on emotional wellbeing together with techniques and strategies to strengthen emotional resilience.
Many Black women continue to negotiate their way within higher education institutions, which are influenced by social class, race, and gender biases. Several scholars…
Many Black women continue to negotiate their way within higher education institutions, which are influenced by social class, race, and gender biases. Several scholars contend that Black women’s objectification as the “other” and “outsider within” (Collins, 2000; Fitzgerald, 2014; Jean-Marie, 2014) is still apparent in today’s institutions yet many persist to ascend to top leadership positions (Bates, 2007; Epps, 2008; Evans, 2007; Hamilton, 2004; Jean-Marie, 2006, 2008). In particular, the inroads made by Black women administrators in both predominantly white colleges (PWIs) as well as historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) depict a rich and enduring history of providing leadership to effect social change in the African American community (i.e., uplift the race) and at large (Bates, 2007; Dede & Poats, 2008; Evans, 2007; Hine, 1994; Miller & Vaughn, 1997). There is a growing body of literature exploring Black women’s leadership in higher education, and most research have focused on their experiences in predominantly white institutions (Bower & Wolverton, 2009; Dixon, 2005; Harris, Wright, & Msengi, 2011; Jordan, 1994; Rusher, 1996; Turner, 2008). A review of the literature points to the paucity of research on their experiences and issues of race and gender continue to have an effect on the advancement of Black women in the academy. In this chapter, we examine factors that create hindrance to the transformation of the composition, structure, and power of leadership paradigm with a particular focus on Black women administrators and those at the presidency at HBCUs. From a review of the literature, our synthesis is based on major themes and subthemes that emerged and guide our analysis in this chapter. The chapter concludes with recommendations for identifying and developing Black women leaders to diversify the leadership pipeline at HBCUs and other institutions for the future.
Describes four projective patterns characterizing black femaleprofessors′ experiences with students. Implications for the teacher aschange agent frame the…
Describes four projective patterns characterizing black female professors′ experiences with students. Implications for the teacher as change agent frame the conceptualization of projections inferred from African American female academics′ experiences. The patterns of the “too good” mother; the “degraded” authority; the “exception to my race”; and the “ally” in marginality are supported by anecdotal data from over ten years of clinical practice with black professional women. Each projective pattern is discussed in the light of differential student dynamics within and across race and gender.
This chapter is based upon a five-year qualitative study and focuses on the experiences of 39 black women who entered physics and other science majors. The women reported…
This chapter is based upon a five-year qualitative study and focuses on the experiences of 39 black women who entered physics and other science majors. The women reported feeling prepared to compete; however, they faced challenges in establishing meaningful relationships with faculty and peers. In the classroom they were often stereotyped as less capable then their male counterparts. They relished opportunities to meet other female scientists who inspire and motivated them to succeed. Perhaps most importantly they sought balance and desired to have a full life that includes science as well as other important elements like family.
The article engages the “double identity” of being a feminist activist and academic in a tertiary institution in a post‐colonial society. The aim is to grapple with the…
The article engages the “double identity” of being a feminist activist and academic in a tertiary institution in a post‐colonial society. The aim is to grapple with the personal experiences of a “change agent” in a tertiary education sector that is going through political transformation. The author also reflects on the impact of neo‐liberal capitalism on tertiary institutions, and its depoliticising effect on feminist activism. It engages the establishment of gender studies programs.
The article is a viewpoint and uses the personal reflections of a feminist scholar at a South African university to illustrate issues of personal location at a university as a site of struggle, but also location in the global South. It elaborates on the difficulty of changing male dominated institutional cultures and ways in which feminist activism is subverted.
The article shows how the experiences of being a change agent make “the personal political” and this contributes to taking a psychological toll. It exposes the intransigence toward change in hierarchical male dominated institutional cultures and recommends feminist solidarity across tertiary institutions, as well as using institutional opportunities for feminist purposes as counter measures to co‐option.
The value of the article is located in the reflection of a feminist scholar on her own experiences in the context of a South African university but may open a space for feminist scholars in tertiary institutions globally to relate to these experiences.
This chapter intends to provide a reflexive discussion of the experience I loosely refer to as the ‘supervisory relationship breakdown’, which led me to withdraw from a…
This chapter intends to provide a reflexive discussion of the experience I loosely refer to as the ‘supervisory relationship breakdown’, which led me to withdraw from a Professional Doctorate in the penultimate year of completion. The event left an indelible impact upon me; a reminder of my blackness, the contrast between that and the ivory tower of academia and the emotional toil I endured as each incident unfolded, ultimately leading to my exit and the shattering of my emotional wellbeing. The term ‘supervisory relationship breakdown’ is a superficial reference to a complex entanglement of what I deemed to be dysconscious racism and attempts situated historically to control people of colour through education. I will explore how I as a black woman in academia believe I am perceived through a dysconscious racial lens, a lens shaped by a perception to maintain white privilege. I posit how a misalignment existed between who I am and who I was perceived to be by my doctoral supervisor. The space between this misalignment became filled with inequity, tension and oppression, culminating in the relationship breakdown. I present an ‘implosion’ of the relationship as a metaphor for the embodied affect having to withdraw from the doctorate had on me; it felt as though my ‘self’ – body, mind and spirit – were broken, in a state of collapse which I did not know how I would recover from. I conclude with support and renewed hope, I returned to academia and found an alternative approach for completing my doctorate.
Over the last two decades, the academy has made positive strides toward gender equality across its academic and administrative functions. However, the structural…
Over the last two decades, the academy has made positive strides toward gender equality across its academic and administrative functions. However, the structural discriminatory constructions of the academy as a workplace for women of color persist, including geographic, remuneration, promotion, tenure appointments, and research support (Marwell, Rosenfeld, & Spillerman, 1979). In South Africa, a country with a historical heritage of racial and gender discrimination, the experiences of women of color in business schools are amplified in relationships with students, white male-dominated big business organizations, peers, and colleagues. Subliminal and overt questioning of the academic legitimacy of women of color and, by inference, the education quality of Previously White Institutions that hire women of color is exclusionary. This autoethnographic narrative describes lived experiences of questioned professional “legitimacy” that impact career progression and collegial relationships. I also reflect on practical approaches and tools that have been effective in enabling professional thriving in spite of the persistent challenges.
What are the factors that encourage or discourage a successful university experience and how is this subjectively understood by Black (African, Caribbean and Asian) students? How might university cultures and subcultures better enhance the development of Black students and staff, particularly Black women in the UK? This will be considered by imagining what a more inclusive academy might look like, in the light of associated theorizing. There is, as part of the above, an interrogation of what being a university is and might be. There can be emptiness in policy statements, as well as avoidance, on the one hand; on the other, moments of courage, and struggle, to remind us of what a university can be; a place where difficult issues are addressed, in reflexive, intellectual yet also humane ways. A critical race theory framework is used to theorize and examine the way race and racism implicitly and explicitly impact on social structures, practices and discourse, and asserts itself within the corridors of higher education. It paints a picture of what the more inclusive university might be like, alongside an understanding of how difficult it is for humans to engage with the complexity, of race, stereotyping and discrimination.
We evaluate the use of metaphors in academic literature on women in academia. Utilizing the work of Husu (2001) and the concept of intersectionality, we explore the ways…
We evaluate the use of metaphors in academic literature on women in academia. Utilizing the work of Husu (2001) and the concept of intersectionality, we explore the ways in which notions of structure and/or agency are reflected in metaphors and the consequences of this.
The research comprised an analysis of 113 articles on women in academia and a subanalysis of 17 articles on women in Political Science published in academic journals between 2004 and 2013.
In the case of metaphors about academic institutions, the most popular metaphors are the glass ceiling, the leaky pipeline, and the old boys’ network, and, in the case of metaphors about women academics, strangers/outsiders and mothers/housekeepers.
Usage of metaphors in the literature analyzed suggests that the literature often now works with a more nuanced conception of the structure/agency problematic than at the time Husu was writing: instead of focusing on either structures or agents in isolation, the literature has begun to look more critically at the interplay between them, although this may not be replicated at a disciplinary level.
We highlight the potential benefits of interdependent metaphors which are able to reflect more fully the structurally situated nature of (female) agency. These metaphors, while recognizing the (multiple and intersecting) structural constraints that women may face both within and outwith the academy, are able to capture more fully the different forms female power and agency can take. Consequently, they contribute both to the politicization of problems that female academics may face and to the stimulation of collective responses for a fairer and better academy.