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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured

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Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.

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Chapter 10. Present, But Not Present: The Personal and Educational Journey of a Doctoral Student Experiencing Deployment and Divorce (LaWanda M. Wallace)

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10. Present, but Not Present: The Personal and Educational Journey of a Doctoral Student Experiencing Deployment and Divorce laWanDa M. WallaCe Autoethnographer at Heart My love for autoethnography prompted me to journal my experiences when working on my PhD while experiencing the detachment that deployment and divorce can bring. Journaling through the years and now looking back over them has given me the chance, as Grason (2005) says, to “jump off a few cliffs and reveal myself to another human being” (p. xii). In doing so, I have been able to reclaim my space in a world that is overly cluttered with confu- sion and secrecy. I choose to tell my own truth, as uncomfortable as it may make others. This is what is so amazing about autoethnography. It is never about the person reading it as much as it is the person telling it. I have found freedom in this. I am an autoethnographer at heart. In simple terms, “auto” means from one’s own perspective. Thus an autobiography is a piece of work that is writ- ten from and about the perspective of the person who is writing. “Ethno means people or culture; graphy means writing or describing. Ethnography then means writing about or describing people and culture, using firsthand observation and participation in a setting” (Ellis, 2004, p. 26). When “auto” is added to the word “ethnography,” you then have autoethnography, which is to write about the culture of oneself in relationship to others. Ellis (2004) said it...

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