My colleague Dr Emily Cooper and I have contributed a chapter to a new book called ‘Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Perspectives, Experiences and Challenges’, edited by Rachel Thwaites (my fellow BSA Early Career Forum Convenor) and Amy Pressland. We jumped at the opportunity to share our experiences when we first saw the call for chapters. We regularly catch up and share our concerns together as a way of dealing with the pressures of modern academia and felt that it was important to reflect on that in a more public way. We also wanted to be part of a project that exposes those pressures and reflects on ways in which they might be challenged.
In our chapter, we refer to what Gill (2009) has conceptualised as the ‘hidden injuries’ of academia; those experiences that we have dealt with, and continue to deal with in our everyday working lives, that are rarely discussed or challenged. Using ‘reflexive autobiography’, a feminist methodology that enables writers to explore their subjectivity, we share empirical examples of these tensions, as well as strategies for dealing with them. In particular we consider the contradictions inherent pursuing an academic career while also trying to maintain our feminist identities. We further highlight the importance of working collaboratively within a highly individualised, masculinised and competitive environment and consider the role of social media outlets for collective forms of friendship and coping.
Finn Mackay has written a great review of the book for Times Higher Education that can be viewed here. Please do get in touch if you are interested in reading a copy of the chapter.