Weekend Reading: Hidden Labor in Academia

Weekend Reading: Hidden Labor in Academia

April 27, 2017
Weekend Reading - Orange tabby cat wearing glasses reading from an open book

Academia is showing up in some very public conversations lately. The topic has transcended the lecture hall, department office, and meeting room and fully entered the public sphere. These public conversations range from freedom of speech to institutional integrity, student safety, the right to speak, and the right to an institutional platform. What’s more, these are fundamentally public conversations about race, gender, class, and ability—even when they are not acknowledged as such. In such cacophonous and often contentious debates, we seem to hear many voices, often ungenerously portrayed as shouting back and forth to one another. But what is lost in the melee? Who is missing, dismissed, or silenced? Our weekend reading excavates the hidden labor—largely of women, LGBTQIA people, people of color, and other marginalized groups—that sustain the very spaces up for public debate. It also examines strategies for surviving the inevitably politicized space of academia.

The phrase “impostor syndrome” has caught fire in recent years, but what does the notion that women simply underestimate their worth leave out?

We are relying on women in academia, but not rewarding them for their work.

There are great intellectual, emotional, physical, and financial expectations placed on those in academia, coming both from within the institutions they are affiliated with and from the public at large. But it is important to remember that you are not a public utility.

Even in the relatively rare cases of job security and fair compensation, academic spaces are fraught with racial and gender injustice, draining our psychological and emotional reserves.

Conferences, and the opportunities they provide to share our research and connect with like-minded scholars, are an intellectual lifeline. But for single parents working in academia, they are often inaccessible.

The pioneering civil rights work of Pauli Murray is too often overlooked.

Moonlight brought the complexities of Black queer masculinity to a mainstream public with sensitivity and nuance, but it is far from the only film that explores these issues. There are more Black queer movies we should be watching (and talking about).

Hating comic sans because it doesn’t fit an idealized, streamlined vision of aesthetic worth is commonplace—and also ableist.

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