chapter
15 Pages

Introduction

BySantosh Khadka, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, Keith Dorwick

When the three of us came together to plan this collection, it was out of a shared sense that there was a need for academic outsiders—those of us who, for any number of reasons, do not clearly fit within the scholarly mold—to share our stories. In our initial investigations, we found a number of studies about select groups, including queer faculty, disabled faculty, faculty of color, and international faculty, published by academic journals and organizations such as the Modern Language Association and Association of American University Professors, publications such as Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as countless government-sponsored national and international studies. Yet with the exception of very few texts, such as Presumed Incompetent, edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Gabriella, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed; articles such as Patience Elabor-Idemudia’s “Equity Issues in the Academy: An Afro-Canadian Woman’s perspective” and Eric Anthony Grollman’s Inside Higher Ed–affiliated blog Conditionally Accepted, the vast majority of the studies we encountered were more or less exclusively concerned with analyzing statistics: the numbers of minoritized populations on college campuses, their likelihood to earn tenure and promotion, their acceptance into graduate programs, their recruitment and retention. While those studies provide crucial information, we were struck by the lack of first-person explorations of what it means to be an outsider working within; around; and, at times; in spite of the system. We were eager to learn more about the actual experiences of minorities in higher education—to hear from the subjects themselves about the conditions of their work lives, their insecurities, the various oppressions they face in their places of work, their responses to and suggestions for working within institutions that were not built for them and often exclude them from full participation. The enthusiastic response we received from our call for papers confirmed our assumptions that academics were keen to discuss their experiences, not only for themselves but also for others like them. This collection is but a brief sampling of some of those experiences, written by people who comprise a significant portion of the higher education workforce. Our 2collection is by no means comprehensive—that would be impossible. But we hope that as much as is possible Narratives of the Marginalized Identities in Higher Education: Inside and Outside the Academy offers critical insight into the difficulties, pain, triumphs, and subtle victories that greet minorities in colleges and universities around the world. In this collection, you will find 17 chapters by academics at every level—adjuncts, graduate students, tenure-track professors, and administrators—from locations around the world. Their experiences intersect and diverge in complex ways, as do their identities. We are hopeful that by providing a space for academics to discuss their personal experiences within theoretical frameworks, we might work toward devising better strategies for inclusion, recruitment, and retention, and, ultimately, the humanization of the Other.