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Mentoring and Communication

Theories and Practices

Edited By Diana Trebing and Ahmet Atay

Although mentoring occupies a paramount role in higher education and is part of a faculty’s expected duties, nowadays increasingly so, it is not an area to which graduate schools pay close attention. There is no formalized training and faculty and graduate students alike are expected to know how to mentor effectively once they graduate or start a new teaching or administrative position. This book tackles two interrelated issues: the role and importance of mentoring in the communication discipline as well as critical/cultural studies and using critical communication to illuminate the ways in which students and junior faculty among others are mentored in higher education. The authors of these chapters present a position or an issue in regards to mentoring students and faculty or the lack of it in higher education. Their goal is to generate a scholarly discussion by utilizing qualitative and narrative-based research approaches and critical and cultural perspectives to promote awareness about the importance of mentoring. Additionally, the authors highlight some of the important issues in mentoring as a form of critical communication pedagogy and present some guidelines, ideas, and examples to mentor more effectively. This edited book will be helpful for various audiences. First, it will provide guidance for graduate students, junior and senior faculty members who are asked to mentor others at various stages of their academic careers. Second, it will help students and faculty who are currently trying to identify and work with mentors. And third, it gives ideas on what to do and not to do in successful mentor-mentee relationships.
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chapter 6 Being a Spoilsport: The Feminist Killjoy as Critical Mentor


Meggie Mapes and Alexandria Chase

Feminist pedagogues are often tasked with empowering, mentoring, and inspiring students in meaningful and political ways (Brown et al., 2014). As feminist academics, we too believe in the synergy created from practiced mentorship through a lens of critical pedagogy, exploring what and how knowledge is created and privileged through co-constituted relationships. Unfortunately, mentors are often cast into pre-determined categories, whereby women are, for example, foreseen as caregivers (Valle, 2002), embedded in the happy fantasy of femininity (Ahmed, 2010). However, as mentors, we embody dual roles as women and feminists, carrying the baggage of the unhappy spoilsport, or what Sara Ahmed (2008, 2010) coins the feminist killjoy. Put simply, our feminism ruins the fun by operating outside the presumed economy of femininity and cultural expectations of a good, happy academic.

In this chapter, we expand on Ahmed’s (2008, 2010) arguments to consider the feminist killjoy as enacting critical mentorship, a process of “spoil[ing] the happiness of others” (2010, p. 65) by refusing to assemble or convene around perceived structures of happiness. In other words, we consider the killjoy as a necessary component of critical mentorship by exposing institutional injustice through and with our mentee relationships. Reflecting on our own contextual and shifting ←111 | 112→roles as feminist mentors /mentees, we analyze mundane moments that amplify mentorship as a relational process of critical love that reveal systemic inequities through the killjoy mentality. Like Ahmed (2008), we are “prepared to kill some forms...

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