Black Women Speak Back, Up, and Out
Chapter Four: Rising Harriett Tubmans: Exploring Intersectionality and African American Women Professors
← 48 | 49 →CHAPTER FOUR
Exploring Intersectionality and African American Women Professors
DARLENE RUSSELL, LISA HOBSON, AND DENISE TALIAFERRO-BASZILE
This chapter focuses on the experiences of three African American women faculty members employed as tenure-track professors at three universities across the United States. In this auto-ethnographic rendering, we sought to identify challenges, obstacles, strategies, and options of/for tenured and nontenured Black women currently navigating higher education. For this project, we examined (a) how the lack of support mechanisms in research and professional associations often define the experiences and limit the success of African American women professors and (b) how challenging and reversing the past social structures would assist in gaining tenure and promotions.
Through our narratives, we engage and interrogate theories of self, rationality, history, voice, place, power, and knowledge as they are shaped by intersectionality, which is the coinciding and contradicting relations of race, gender, and class. Ultimately, we work within a critical approach where we advocate for emancipatory policies (Creswell, 2007).
Some authors assert the most salient and prevailing of the multiple identities of women of color in the academy is race. Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) discussed how race is at the nucleus of American life—it shapes, defines, and stratifies us. Turner (2002) noted women of color in the professoriate experience ← 49 | 50 →multiple marginality, which is evidenced in some of the following ways: pressure to conform, social invisibility, isolation, exclusion from informal peer networks, limited sources of power, fewer opportunities for sponsorship, stereotyping,...
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