Women Activating Agency in Academia seeks to create and expand safe spaces for scholarly, professional and personal stories and assemblages of agency. It provides readers with the opportunity to connect with the strategies women are using to navigate academe and the core values, linked to trust, relationship, wellbeing and ethics of care, they live by.

The collection offers the stories of women academics from around the globe and across disciplines and showcases their efforts to meaningfully listen and converse in order to resist self-audit and diminished identities. Reflections come from a range of responsive, personal and aesthetic techniques, including writing groups, guided autobiography, auto-ethnography, collective activism and slow scholarship. Chapters engage with themes and ideas such as agency, neoliberalism, ontological security, androcentricity, identity and collegial support, which manifest in unique ways for female academics.

The focus in this volume is what really matters to women in the academy, as they share their efforts to ‘be’ themselves in their work, to ‘care for themselves and others’ and to ‘count what isn’t counted’. It aims to prove how collaborative storytelling and discussion can empower female academics to preserve and achieve these ambitions.

chapter 1|10 pages

Telling stories, gaining wisdom

Putting our voices into our practice
ByMelissa Burchard, Amy Joy Lanou, Leah Greden Mathews, Karin Peterson, Alice Weldon

chapter 2|12 pages

You’re not alone

Discovering the power of sharing life narratives as academic women
ByMichelle Barker, Ann Webster-Wright, Deanne Gannaway, Wendy Green

chapter 3|12 pages

Responding to longings for slow scholarship

Writing ourselves into being
ByAlison L. Black

chapter 4|10 pages

“We would love to have you over …”

Building career capital in a new academic environment
ByHeidi Harju-Luukkainen

chapter 5|9 pages

How yoga taught me about vocation

ByMelissa Mahoney

chapter 6|13 pages

Intergenerational bodies

Women’s knowledge production in supervisory relations
ByMargaret Somerville, Sarah Crinall

chapter 7|12 pages

Feasible utopias and affective flows in the academy

A mobilisation of hope and optimism
ByJennifer Charteris, Adele Nye, Marguerite Jones

chapter 8|10 pages

Beyond silence and conformity

A reflection on academic activism as resistance to managerialism in the contemporary university
ByChristine Morley

chapter 9|11 pages

Academia as therapy

ByDee Michell

chapter 10|11 pages


Traversing the academic landscape: a dialogue
BySharn Donnison, Sorrel Penn-Edwards

chapter 11|12 pages

Confronting, collaborating, and crafting

An enlivening methodology for academic ecojustice activism
ByPeta White, Sandra Wooltorton, Marilyn Palmer

chapter 12|10 pages

Women writing to ourselves

Rescuing the girl child from androcentricity
ByCecily Jensen-Clayton

chapter 13|12 pages

Embracing the power of the self as a female scholar

ByRena MacLeod

chapter 14|12 pages


An uncomfortable means to a positive place
ByNicole Green, Cherry Stewart, Brenda Wolodko

chapter 15|7 pages


Pivotal Heart Development
BySandra Engstrom

chapter 16|10 pages

Stretching the elastic

Can we change the heart of university management?
ByJudy Backhouse

chapter 17|11 pages

To care for self and others

A collaborative conversation
ByRachael Haynes, Courtney Pedersen

chapter 18|17 pages

I am the compliant academic

ByLinda Henderson