Maintaining Balance


The personal narratives of faculty and graduate students of color tell stories of resiliency in the face of repeated traumas.  Regardless of ethnicity, the women academics represented in these works discuss campus climates and classroom environments that question their competencies, subject them to microaggressions, and attempt to invalidate their cultural knowledge.  The authors discuss individual strategies they’ve developed to not only cope, but to excel in academia.  The works examine the gendered nature of organizational structures that disadvantage those female academics who are also caregivers.  Recent works attempt to shift discourse away from ‘at risk’ students or faculty to ‘at risk’ institutions—institutions with roadblocks for women of color and other diverse populations seeking to transform the academy.

Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams, in D.I.V.A. Diaries: The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured, discuss the role of their group —the Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (DIVAS) Collective—that was formed to address the unique concerns facing Black female doctoral students attending  predominately White institutions.  The collective aims to empower them to succeed “at all odds.” Asian American women, while not considered underrepresented minorities, lend their voices to scholarly discussions on ‘otherness’ and encounters with invisible barriers within academia in Bow’s Asian American Feminisms.

Leslie Bow. Asian American Feminisms. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Averil Y. Clarke. Inequalities of Love: College-Educated Black Women and the Barriers to Romance and Family. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

Joanne Kilgour Dowdy. PhD Stories: Conversations with My Sisters. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2008.

Cherrel Miller Dyce, and Toni Milton Williams. D.I.V.A. Diaries: The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured. New York: Peter Lang, 2015.

Eletra S. Gilchrist. Experiences of Single African-American Women Professors: With This Ph.D., I Thee Wed. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011.