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Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Lifeby Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant
Synopses & Reviews
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.-Robert Drago, author of Striking a Balance: Work, Family, Life 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.-Catherine Newman, PhD, author of Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a FamilyI wish I had this book in the late 1970s when I was a young untenured professor trying to teach five sections of composition and raise a new (adopted) baby. The tales in Mama, PhD could have served as a virtual consciousness raising group for me as I toiled away in academia. Happily the book is available today for women trying to balance the pulls of motherhood and career.-Nan Bauer-Maglin, author of Cut Loose: (Mostly) Older Women Talk about the End of (Mostly) Long-Term RelationshipsEvery year, American universities publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success. Yet, academic life remains overwhelmingly a man's world and the presence of women, specifically those with children, in the ranks of tenured faculty has not increased in a generation. This anthology explores the continued inequality of the sexes in higher education and suggests changes that could make universities more family-friendly workplaces. Candid, provocative, and sometimes with a wry sense of humor, the essays speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family.Elrena Evans received her MFA in creative writing from The Pennsylvania State University. Her work appears in such journals as Literary Mama, Brain, Child, Hip Mama, and the anthology Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers. Caroline Grant is an editor and columnist for Literary Mama. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley.
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.
About 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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