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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2013

Laboring positions:

Black women, mothering and the academy

Sekile Nzinga-Johnson, ed. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press, 2013; 326 pp; ISBN: 978-1-92733-502-4, paper $34.95 CAD.

Laboring Positions aims to disrupt the dominant discourse on academic women’s mothering experiences. Black women’s maternity is assumed, and yet is also silenced within the disembodied, patriarchal, racist, anti-family and increasingly neoliberal work environment of academia. This volume acknowledges the salience of the institutional challenges facing contemporary caregiving academics; yet it is centrally concerned with expanding the academic mothering conversation by speaking against the private/public spheres approach. Laboring Positions does so by privileging the hybridity between Black women’s mothering experiences and their working lives within and beyond the aca­demy. The collection also intentionally blurs essentialist boundaries of mother and “other,” which dictates and generates alternate border zones of knowledge production concerning Black academic women’s working lives. In doing so, the diverse perspectives captured herein offer us cogent starting points from which to interrogate the interlocking cultural, political and economic hierarchies of the academy.

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