Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life / Edition 1

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Every year, American universities publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success. Yet, although women make up increasing numbers of graduate students, graduate degree recipients, and even new hires, academic life remains overwhelming a man's world. The reality that the statistics fail to highlight is that the presence of women, specifically those with children, in the ranks of tenured faculty has not increased in a generation. Further, those women who do achieve tenure track placement tend to report slow advancement, income disparity, and lack of job satisfaction compared to their male colleagues.

Amid these disadvantages, what is a Mama, PhD to do? This literary anthology brings together a selection of deeply felt personal narratives by smart, interesting women who explore the continued inequality of the sexes in higher education and suggest changes that could make universities more family-friendly workplaces.

The contributors hail from a wide array of disciplines and bring with them a variety of perspectives, including those of single and adoptive parents. They address topics that range from the level of policy to practical day-to-day concerns, including caring for a child with special needs, breastfeeding on campus, negotiating viable maternity and family leave policies, job-sharing and telecommuting options, and fitting into desk/chair combinations while eight months pregnant.

Candid, provocative, and sometimes with a wry sense of humor, the thirty-five essays in this anthology speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family, as well as anyone who is interested in improving the university's ability to live up to its reputation to be among the most progressive of American institutions.

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Editorial Reviews

author of Not-So-Nuclear Families: Class, Gender, and Networks of Care - Karen V. Hansen

"Well-written, personal, insightful and engaging, Mama, PhD gives an accurate glimpse into the feelings and conflicts that mothers in academia don't often reveal because such disclosure is felt to be unprofessional."
author of Waiting for Birdy - Catherine Newman

"All those sleepless nights and dirty diapers and baby food in your hair-where's the discursive construction of motherhood when you need it? It's here, in these smart, funny, poignant essays that struggle to balance mind and body, to balance body and soul."
author of Striking a Balance: Work, Family, Life - Robert Drago

"Through the voices of those who have weathered the storm, Mama, PhD provides invaluable lessons for young scholars-both men and women-striving to navigate family and academic careers."
author of Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Families - Mary Ann Mason

"This is a charming, heartfelt book that expresses the difficulties and the joys of combining a life in academia with motherhood. Each story is different, but the experiences and challenges are widely shared."
Bitch Magazine - Katura Reynolds

"Each writer beautifully articulates the personal details of her own experiences. Whether working to conceal their family lives in order to maintain professional credibility, fighting with administrators for fair and flexible treatment, defiantly toting infants into the offices of their advisers, or dropping out of academia to search for different ways to combine intellect and motherhood, the contributors to Mama, PhD offer themselves up as potential role models to women wondering how to tackle these two demanding responsibilities."
Women's Studies Quarterly - Arielle Kuperberg

"An optimistic narrative of work-family balance among women with PhDs. Mama PhD gave advice about achieving a successful work-family balance in academia, presented several models of success, and left me with a more optimistic view of my chances at balancing child raising with s successful career."
Feminist Teacher

"A unique and potent mixture of memoir, analysis, and advocacy. Mama PhD stands out in its ability to blend testimony, analysis, and advocacy, from a variety of perspectives. This volume raises striking questions about women's changing roles."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813543185
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 891,361
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Elrena Evans received her MFA in creative writing from The Pennsylvania State University, and is a columnist for Literary Mama. Her work also appears in the anthologies Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers and How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel.

Caroline Grant is Senior Editor and a columnist for Literary Mama. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Miriam Peskowitz     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     xvii
The Conversation
The Conversation   Jamie Warner     3
In Medias Res   Sonya Huber     11
Scholar, Negated   Jessica Smartt Gullion     16
Student/Body   Sheila Squillante     20
On Being Phyllis's Daughter: Thoughts on Academic Intimacy   Laura Levitt     25
Engineering Motherhood   Jennifer Eyre White     31
The Wire Mother   Susan O'Doherty     39
Fitting In   Elrena Evans     49
Motherhood after Tenure: Confessions of a Late Bloomer   Aeron Haynie     55
That Mommy Thing
First Day of School   Amy Hudock     63
Two Boards and a Passion: On Theater, Academia, and the Art of Failure   Anjalee Deshpande Nadkarni     66
Living (!) A Life I Never Planned   Rosemarie Emanuele     72
Coming to Terms at Full Term   Natalie Kertes Weaver     77
One Mama's Dispensable Myths and Indispensable Machines   Angelica Duran     80
That Mommy Thing   Alissa McElreath     89
Failure toProgress: What Having a Baby Taught Me about Aristotle, Advanced Degrees, Developmental Delays, and Other Natural Disasters   Irena Auerbuch Smith     93
Infinite Calculations   Della Fenster     103
I Stand Here Teaching: Tillie Olsen and Maternity in the Classroom   Julia Lisella     109
The Facts, the Stories   Leah Bradshaw     116
I Am Not a Head on a Stick: On Being a Teacher and a Doctor and a Mommy   Elisabeth Rose Gruner     123
Lip Service   Jennifer Cognard-Black     129
Body Double   Leslie Leyland Fields     136
Recovering Academic
The Long and Winding Road   Jean Kazez     145
The Bags I Carried   Caroline Grant     149
One of the Boys   Martha Ellis Crone     159
Free to Be ... Mom and Me: Finding My Complicated Truth as an Academic Daughter   Megan Pincus Kajitani     168
Nontraditional Academics: At Home with Children and a PhD   Susan Bassow   Dana Campbell   Liz Stockwell     174
A Great Place to Have a Baby   Rebecca Steinitz     184
Recovering Academic   Jennifer Margulis     189
The Orange Kangaroo   Nicole Cooley    Julia Spicher Kasdorf     201
Ideal Mama, Ideal Worker: Negotiating Guilt and Shame in Academe   Jean-Anne Sutherland     213
In Theory/In Practice: On Choosing Children and the Academy   Lisa Harper     222
Motherhood Is Easy; Graduate School Is Hard   Tedra Osell     231
Momifesto: Affirmations for the Academic Mother   Cynthia Kuhn   Josie Mills   Christy Rowe   Erin Webster Garrett     237
In Dreams Begin Possibilities-Or, Anybody Have Time for a Change?   Judith Sanders     247
Contributors     251
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