Staging Women's Lives in Academia

Gendered Life Stages in Language and Literature Workplaces

Edited by Michelle A. Massé & Nan Bauer-Maglin

Subjects: Education, Higher Education, Women's Studies, Gender Studies, Feminist
Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Paperback : 9781438464206, 380 pages, January 2018
Hardcover : 9781438464213, 380 pages, February 2017

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Table of contents


Part I. Graduate School

1. A Job That Gets Old Fast: Age Studies, Academic Labor Criticism, and the Graduate Employee
Heather M. Steffen

2. Discourse of Aspiration: A Community of Nontraditional Women Students
Nancy Scott Fox

3. The Accidental Academic, or How to Succeed in Academia through Failure and Doubt
Jennifer Ann Ho

4. Uses of My Anger: Negotiating Mothering, Feminism, and Graduate School
Martha Pitts

5. The Chaos of Kairos: Conflicting Discourses of Timing, Mothering, and Flexibility
Jessica Ketcham
Part II. Early Career (Including Pre-Tenure)

6. Working-Class Women on the Tenure Track
Lynn Arner

7. My Double Life in Academia, or Extreme Parenting on the Tenure Track
Mariana Past

8. Solo on Stage: The Single Mother’s Solitary Path to Tenure
Hélène E. Bilis

9. Square Peg, Round Hole: My Journey toward Professor of Practice
Kheli R. Willetts

10. Currency
Elline Lipkin

11. Settling Down without Settling: Reflecting on Ambition, Agency, and Acquiescence
Jessica McKelvie Kemp
Part III. Midcareer (Including Post-Tenure)

12. Lives Like Mine: Notes at Midlife on Career Change
Cynthia Miller Coffel

13. The Good Enough Academic Mother at Midcareer
Devoney Looser

14. Solitary in the South: Confessions of a Single Academic at Midlife
Cynthia Port

15. (In)Visibilities: A Woman Faculty of Color’s Search for a Disabled Identity That Fits
Ellen M. Gil-Gómez

16. Voicing Discontent: Gender, Working-Class Values, and Composition Studies
Rhonda Filipan

17. Staging Women’s Lives on the “Altac” Track
Brenda Bethman and Donna M. Bickford

18. Gratitude, Agency, and the Reformation of the Stage Approach
Kathryn D. Temple
Part IV. Late Career and Retirement

19. The Academic Slow Lane
Katie J. Hogan

20. Relentless Improvising: A Full Professor Struggles to Manage Work, Family, and Health
Carol Colatrella

21. An Academic Evolution: From Chicanita to Mamá to Abuela
Angelica Duran

22. Love’s Labors: Taking Care of Mother
Ruth Perry

23. A View of Her Own
Lynn Z. Bloom

24. The Work of Retirement
Deborah Kaplan

25. Retirement in Two Voices
Evelyn Torton Beck and Deborah S. Rosenfelt

Argues that institutional change must accommodate women’s professional and personal life stages.


Staging Women's Lives in Academia demonstrates how ostensibly personal decisions are shaped by institutions and advocates for ways that workplaces, not women, must be changed. Addressing life stages ranging from graduate school through retirement, these essays represent a gamut of institutions and women who draw upon both personal experience and scholarly expertise. The contributors contemplate the slipperiness of the very categories we construct to explain the stages of life and ask key questions, such as what does it mean to be a graduate student at fifty? Or a full professor at thirty-five? The book explores the ways women in all stages of academia feel that they are always too young or too old, too attentive to work or too overly focused on family. By including the voices of those who leave, as well as those who stay, this collection signals the need to rebuild the house of academia so that women can have not only classrooms of their own but also lives of their own.

Michelle A. Massé is Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University, and President of the Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages. She is the coeditor (with Katie J. Hogan) of Over Ten Million Served: Gendered Service in Language and Literature Workplaces, also published by SUNY Press. Now retired, Nan Bauer-Maglin was Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and Academic Director of the City University of New York Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. Her books include Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make (coedited with Donna Perry).