From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Written by teachers, students, and retired academics in styles ranging from formal academic essays to informal personal narratives, each of these twenty diverse and enlightened essays makes an intense and powerful examination of the various realities working-class women encounter in academic life. Several authors write of the difficulties inherent in taking part "in projects to which they are not completely committed" and the contradiction they experience when vying for jobs with "male-identified women" whose "career goals outweigh their sense of responsibility to their community of colleagues and of students." The majority discuss the often confusing and always painful privileged class assumptions predominant in academic discourse. A few, especially those previously trained to perform manual tasks, speak of their difficulty in valuing the activities of reading and writing as real work. And, without exception, all address the academy's failure - often expressed as blatant and hostile refusal - to address the reality of class issues. This collection provides the first forum for many of these scholars to analyze and discuss the recurring affronts they experience as their language, concerns, traditions, and culture are rendered "invisible." Through these twenty singular voices and histories comes a remarkably unified and penetrating analysis. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14
. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen
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