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Stories of the Academy

Learning from the Good Mother


Mary Beth Spore, Marsha Dianne Harrison and Nelson L. Haggerson

Stories of the Academy looks at relationships between women entering the ranks of faculty in higher education and more experienced faculty. Occasionally these relationships are so mutually fulfilling that they lead to great satisfaction and personal reward and can be named Good-Mother relationships. These relationships are deeper and more profoundly influential than traditional professional relationships for they involve a mythic or spiritual dimension. The archetype of the Good Mother provides a way to name and explicate these relationships. Using mythology and philosophy as guides to come to understand these relationships, the book first defines the myth of the Good Mother, demythologizes the myth, presents Good Mother stories told in conversational form, and, ultimately, searches for the mythic meaning in those stories. Written for anyone in the academy, this book also has broader implications for other professionals, particularly women.