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The Critical Graduate Experience

An Ethics of Higher Education Responsibilities


Charlotte Achieng-Evensen, Janae Dimick, Ndindi Kitonga, Maryann Krikorian, Kevin Stockbridge and Barry Kanpol

The Critical Graduate Experience is a collection of scholarly reflections on the possibilities of a new vision for critical studies. It is a remarkable book that provides daring analyses from the vantage of the graduate student experience. Drawing from individual knowledge and research, the authors invite you to re-imagine education for justice. Barry Kanpol opens the work with a brilliant meditation on joy and cynicism in university classrooms and educational theory. The book continues to unfold as an open and honest conversation with doctoral students and recent graduates concerning the ethics of higher education. In a true critical approach, each chapter problematizes a new facet of academic assumptions and practices as they touch the lives of students. The authors explore the ethical implications of acknowledging student spirituality and expanding the role of critical education studies. The book concludes with a transparent self-critique on the process and ethics of graduate students writing for publication. This is a wonderful text, guiding students and professors as they enter into dialogue on the ethics of an authentic critical education studies. Classes on practical ethics, educational spirituality, student voice, collaborative publishing, and critical pedagogy could benefit from the insights offered here. Daring to believe that student experience and knowledge have a place in the world of academic publishing, this book is both a prophetic proclamation of and humble invitation to a new future in the field.
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Afterword: Embodied Ethics



Our experience of writing this book was challenged as we entered the final phases of compiling the chapters. Some of the authors began to problematize the meaning and subsequent methodology underlying our collective contribution. Given that this work was conceived as a reflection on the ethics of responsibility within the academy, we found ourselves pondering the process by which we came to express this particular critique about our understanding of the academy and its workings. The goal of the book, we posited, was to highlight and discuss some of the tensions that we experienced within the academy, within our scholarship, and within graduate studies. Yet, as the chapters were coalesced into one bonded and physical space, the body of our work seemed decontextualized from our intended goal. We began to wonder certain things: Were we engaging in haphazard critique and hoping to bring about dialogue without an ethic of care? Were we allowing the voices of those who were the subject of our critique “a place at the table”? We questioned, Did we, in writing this book, simply reproduce a practice of alienation by pitting one aspect of the academy against another? Perhaps more poignantly, we asked if we were exploiting this opportunity for publication for a line on our curriculum vitae without concern for those who systematically encouraged us to participate within this space of dialogue? We asked, Would our participation in this work...

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