Weekend Reading: On Silences

Weekend Reading: On Silences

May 11, 2017
Weekend Reading - Orange tabby cat wearing glasses reading from an open book

Academic spaces are known for discourse and dialogue. But often what isn’t said matters just as much as what is. Sometimes crucial issues in academia—sexism, racism, mental illness—are mentioned, but rarely are they extensively or thoroughly engaged. We need more opportunities to interrogate the ways institutional structures make it exceedingly difficult to address these things head-on, create lasting change, and make academia a truly inclusive space that acknowledges the whole person. This edition of Weekend Reading brings together pieces that explore the weight of what remains unsaid, the open secrets, and the problematically taboo.

Writer Annie Dillard famously reflected that “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” Amidst the demands of academic life, how can we Chose Presence Over Productivity?

The pressure to “publish or perish” can be overwhelming. What if we re-envisioned the real challenge ahead not as writing more, but as imagining new markers of success?

Our fixation on productivity carries with it real consequences. Too often, discussions of academic work are divorced from vital considerations of mental wellness in a grueling field. We must talk about Academia, Mental Health and the Cult of Productivity in tandem with one another.

The work of crafting a career in a tenuous market, in a tenuous field, should not come at any expense.

Feminist scholars of color continue to push the academy to be more inclusive, to consider the unique needs of those in the academy who are not white, not straight, not cisgendered, and not upper middle class. But merely recognizing difference is not the same as acknowledging (and challenging) how privilege differently shapes academic experiences.

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