Working-Class Women in the Academy: Laborers in the Knowledge Factory

Michelle M. Tokarczyk, Other
Michelle M. Tokarczyk, Other University of Massachusetts Press $45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87023-834-5
Paperback - 335 pages - 978-0-87023-835-2
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In this stimulating and often heartfelt collection of essays, 20 female academics from working-class backgrounds address the personal, pedagogical and ideological issues raised by their experiences as teachers and students. Though some essays adopt abstract academic language, most are personal narratives, and the issue of the appropriate ``voice'' in academia pervades the book. Pam Annas, after proposing a reading list for a course in working-class literature, explains how she has had her students replace traditional papers with a ``critical reading journal'' in which they analyze works and connect them to other course materials and to their lives. Several writers struggle with isolation and the ``double consciousness'' inherent in their position; bell hooks urges understanding and appreciation but not ``empty romanticization'' of working-class backgrounds. The conventional image of a female scholar, writes Suzanne Sowinska, is ``one of refinement''; her essay, like several others, suggests how ``economic survival strategies'' have shaped an identity defined by struggle. Tokarczyk and Fay teach English at Goucher College and the University of Massachusetts, respectively. (Apr.)
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