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Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education: Interrupting Career Categories [1st ed.]
 9783030536602, 9783030536619

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xviii
Stretching Career Stages (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 1-27
Moving On, Getting Stuck, Going Round and Round: Feminist Educational Journeys (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 29-47
Care(er)ing: Queer Feminist Career Cares (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 49-68
Futures and Failures in Feminist Leadership (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 69-90
Knowing Feminists: The (Mis)use of (Our)selves (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 91-111
Conclusion: Repeating Feminism, Interrupting Ourselves (Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor)....Pages 113-125
Back Matter ....Pages 127-129

Citation preview

PALGRAVE STUDIES IN GENDER AND EDUCATION

Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education Interrupting Career Categories Maddie Breeze · Yvette Taylor

Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education Series Editor Yvette Taylor School of Education University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK

This Series aims to provide a comprehensive space for an increasingly diverse and complex area of interdisciplinary social science research: gender and education. Because the field of women and gender studies is developing rapidly and becoming ‘internationalised’  – as are traditional social science disciplines such as sociology, educational studies, social geography, and so on  – there is a greater need for this dynamic, global Series that plots emerging definitions and debates and monitors critical complexities of gender and education. This Series has an explicitly feminist approach and orientation and attends to key theoretical and methodological debates, ensuring a continued conversation and relevance within the well-established, inter-disciplinary field of gender and education. The Series combines renewed and revitalised feminist research methods and theories with emergent and salient public policy issues. These include pre-compulsory and post-compulsory education; ‘early years’ and ‘lifelong’ education; educational (dis)engagements of pupils, students and staff; trajectories and intersectional inequalities including race, class, sexuality, age and disability; policy and practice across educational landscapes; diversity and difference, including institutional (schools, colleges, universities), locational and embodied (in ‘teacher’–‘learner’ positions); varied global activism in and beyond the classroom and the ‘public university’; educational technologies and transitions and the (ir)relevance of (in)formal educational settings; and emergent educational mainstreams and margins. In using a critical approach to gender and education, the Series recognises the importance of probing beyond the boundaries of specific territorial-legislative domains in order to develop a more international, intersectional focus. In addressing varied conceptual and methodological questions, the Series combines an intersectional focus on competing – and sometimes colliding – strands of educational provisioning and equality and ‘diversity’, and provides insightful reflections on the continuing critical shift of gender and feminism within (and beyond) the academy. More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/14626

Maddie Breeze • Yvette Taylor

Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education Interrupting Career Categories

Maddie Breeze School of Education University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK

Yvette Taylor School of Education University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK

ISSN 2524-6445     ISSN 2524-6453 (electronic) Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education ISBN 978-3-030-53660-2    ISBN 978-3-030-53661-9 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover pattern © John Rawsterne / patternhead.com This Palgrave Pivot imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Foreword

A few anecdotes from the feminist starting out in academia: It’s my senior year of college at a small U.S. liberal arts school and I’m working as a research assistant for a professor in the English department. Let’s call her Dr. Jane Doe. She is new to the university, and though it’s the first time I’ve worked with her I know her by reputation: strict, exacting, with high expectations. She is one of the youngest professors in the department, a woman of colour, and a wheelchair user.

We’re having a meeting in her top-floor office when another English professor comes in for a chat: Dr. John Smith. He’s the spitting image of the mad professor: an elderly white gentleman always wearing stained, creased tweed with wiry white hair like a mop hit by lightning. His office is a dank den of old books littered with student essays and paper plates of free food he’d taken from campus events (he once offered me a roasted pepper from a plate on the floor. I declined). He’s what people think of when they picture an academic. Dr. Smith pops his head into Dr. Doe’s office and asks us what we’re working on. I explain that ‘Jane has asked me to develop an annotated bibliography on Afrofuturism within contemporary U.S. fiction.’ When Dr. Smith leaves, Dr. Doe turns to me with a hard look. ‘Katie, please do not call me Jane. My name is Dr. Doe. I worked extremely hard for my PhD and earned that title.’ My face reddens and I apologise profusely.

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Later, though, I don’t understand. On this small, ‘community values’ campus, I call all of my professors (including John) by their first names. Why does this professor insist on the use of her title? * * * Fast forward three years and two graduations. I’m in the first year of my PhD, now living in Scotland and cultivating a career as a performance poet alongside my academic work. It’s my first time teaching a university course: a first-year Creative Writing seminar. Marking assignments, I spend an hour on each piece, providing detailed, tailored feedback. Many of the students have shared what seem to be deeply personal accounts of trauma, oppression, and mental health challenges through their poetry and fiction. I want to honour the trust they’ve placed in me by sharing their stories, so I take care to be sensitive in my feedback. Once I’ve finished, I realise I’ve spent four times my allocated paid time on marking. On the next assignment, I struggle: do I expend the same effort and fulfil my pastoral responsibility to these students, or do I mark less carefully and thus respect the value of my time and labour? * * * I meet one of my PhD supervisors for a meeting while she’s in the process of returning from maternity leave. She brings along her energetic, bouncing baby boy. She keeps apologising for his gurgles interrupting our conversation, seemingly worried she’s being unprofessional. I couldn’t care less—he’s adorable. I keep biting my tongue from asking to hold him, worried I’ll seem unprofessional. * * * I am invited (by the authors of this text) to deliver a poetry performance lecture at the biennial meeting of the UK & Ireland Feminist and Women’s Studies Association. I’m deeply honoured and simultaneously feel the worst imposter syndrome I’ve ever felt. I’m a feminist, yes—but am I a proper feminist? I know Judith Butler wrote an important book in the ‘90s and that bell hooks is a badass but I couldn’t cite them off the top of my head—isn’t that a prerequisite? I non-ironically watched Love Island last summer, for goodness sake! Why did they choose me?

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On the evening of the talk, I stand before the room of eminent scholars and sweat, madly wondering if it was a bad call to shave my legs and wear lipstick (they’ll find out I’m not a proper feminist!). (It goes fine). * * * At my other PhD supervisor’s retirement party, the department chair politely asks what I’m currently working on. Gripping my plastic cup of prosecco, I say that I’m preparing for my viva and working part-time at a not-for-profit supporting local artists. The reality: I haven’t looked at my thesis since I submitted it and I’m working four days a week selling art in a mall (mostly working the cash register, restocking, and mopping), plus multiple other part-time precarious jobs trying to make ends meet. I have £10 in my bank account, the department is two months late paying me for teaching work, and I’m exhausted. * * * On the train to my university on the morning of my viva, I blast Cyndi Lauper through my headphones and carefully apply makeup. I’m mindful of a recent article claiming that men tend to be uncomfortable when women apply makeup in public settings, feeling it rude. I place the binder containing my printed PhD on the table in front of me next to my makeup bag and coffee cup. I feel it inoculates me somehow: I’m painting my face for a purpose, to excel in the performance of being A Serious Academic. Humming along to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” I blush my cheeks and mentally revise the taxonomy I devised of performative authenticities within contemporary U.K. performance poetry. I pass my viva with six months of corrections. On the train home, I cry non-stop, mascara running, unable to perceive this as anything other than a failure. * * * A few months after my viva, I attend a dermatologist’s appointment. The doctor, a kindly middle-aged man, addresses me as Miss Ailes, without a hint of condescension (it’s what was on his forms, after all). Drunk on my new power and summoning the courage the #immodestwomen campaign stirred in me, I correct him—‘Um, actually it’s Dr. Ailes’—and

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immediately feel like an utter numpty. It’s not the heady rush of empowerment I expected at proudly claiming my title: Gloria Steinem has not materialised to applaud me, nor Beyonce to belt my praises. I’m in the dermatologist’s office because I’d kept an infected earring in too long and developed an ugly, scarred lump. Not exactly my greatest display of intelligence. But the doctor is lovely and gracious, asking curiously about my research, and he uses my title for the rest of the (painful, humiliating) appointment. * * * Clearly, being a feminist (or at least attempting to be one) within academia is not always a simple endeavour. Alas, feminists are not all professorial Rosie the Riveters brandishing thumb-drives of our illustrious CVs, hair swept back under glamorous velvet graduation caps, vanquishing the systemic inequalities of the academy! More realistically, and as this text carefully documents, being a feminist within academia means embarking on a winding journey full of setbacks, interruptions, and the need for reconsideration of how to practice one’s values within a flawed system. This journey can feel never-ending: we navigate a field in which the goalposts are constantly blurry and shifting. When do we ‘arrive’ in academia—as newly minted Dr.’s, Early Career Academics, Senior Lecturers? When should we claim our titles, assert our legitimacy: and in what authority is that legitimacy rooted? And how, as feminists, can we simultaneously occupy positions of academic power and status while actively resisting the problematic facets of these systems and working to dismantle them? As this text consistently demonstrates, often the same actions have both liberating and oppressive potentials. Decisions to respect one’s own value and health (i.e. only marking during paid time) can grate against feminist actions (practicing care with students; building mentor-mentee relationships). Sharing one’s personal accounts of setbacks, failures, and discrimination as a feminist within academia can be a deeply empowering practice making others feel less isolated; yet it is also important to question whose stories are demanded and valued and who is less able to openly confess to struggling. At times throughout my academic journey I have been a bad feminist, an empowered feminist, a conflicted feminist: but, most importantly, I have been a learning feminist open to new ideas and more compassionate relationships. I now have a clearer understanding of why Dr. Doe, as an

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early career female academic, a woman of colour in a majority white state, and a wheelchair user working on the top floor of an old building, so firmly insisted on the use of her title. To occupy academia while not fitting the stereotype of ‘the academic’ means a daily struggle for legitimacy and respect in which these status signifiers are deeply meaningful. Now too I better appreciate how the precarity of academic labour, particularly in traditionally feminised roles such as the provision of pastoral care, is intimately connected to wider issues of gender-based inequality. And yes, I now know that wearing makeup does not disqualify me from being a feminist, no more than having hairy armpits last summer made me a good one. * * * Last week, filling out the ‘title’ section of an order form, I furtively, deliciously select “Dr.” from the drop-down list. It still feels like identity theft, a secretive deception. When my parcel arrives addressed to my distinguished alter ego, I giggle: then, proudly, I open it. Katie Ailes

Acknowledgements

We write this acknowledgement as an interruption. Interruptions are a central methodological device in the book, as we work to interrupt and reconsider feminist conventions in taking up academic space across the career course, including by interrupting ourselves. We have, in truth, interrupted ourselves, and each other, over an extended period of time in writing this book. Sometimes these interruptions have become repetitions and frustrations: we arrive in each other’s inbox, amidst the bursting emails, promising and reminding, and apologising for redrafts not-yet-­ completed, work deferred and returned to. We knock on each other’s office door and promise to stick to the deadline next time. We strike, we go on the picket lines. We forget what the book is about, we add it to our CVs, we talk about it as if it’s published already, and we remind each other that it’s not. In this, we think about the deadlines we hold ourselves to and acknowledge that there will always be repetition and interruption in our feminist efforts. In this book we consider the ways that feminism is done and re-done in higher education, necessarily and insistently repeated. Some acknowledgements are smoothly integrated into feminist academic work; the flow of thanks does not necessary interrupt working days. Saying ‘thank you’ can be a learned impulse, an automatic reaction; in emails, ‘many thanks’ and in person, ‘thanks for taking the time to meet’. Feminists might also encounter the expectation that we should be grateful for having achieved academic entrance, thankful just to be here, for being allowed in. We are so grateful for the corporate well-being and mentoring programmes teaching us how to be more efficient, more flexible, and to just DO MORE, all the while maintaining a positive mental attitude. xi

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We can trace academic relationships, and inequalities across the career course, in official thank yous: differences in (un)expected thanks, those thanks that do and do not interrupt the flow, and consider who is thanked for their work in the departmental meeting, in promotion rounds, in professional societies and on #academictwitter. Thanks can re-inscribe the status of the thanker, I gratefully acknowledge the Society for Elite Research Funding, without which I would not have been able to take two years away from teaching to write this book. In which direction along the career course, vertically, horizontally, do thanks flow? Reading into who is not named, acknowledged, and thanked hints at a different stories, including beyond performing #academickindness. Saying thank you can have the effect of acknowledging the source of ideas, work, connections, resources that otherwise would not be spoken in official academic discourse, interrupting and diverting the flow of recognition. Thanks can gloss over the conditions of academic labour. Thanks to my wife for typing. Thanks can surprise us, in the unexpected acknowledgement in the PhD thesis, the generous note in the post from an admired colleague, an email that says our article or book was useful. Thanks can initiate an affecting pause, feelings of gratitude and recognition, a pleasant surprise. Being left off the thank you list can cause embarrassment, guilt and anger. Hopefully we have thanked the people in our lives before, during, and after the completion of this book and we thank them again: thank you. Thanks can acknowledge the labours and cares often invisibilised across the career course, and they work as affective gestures, even humanizing the distant neutral academic made familiar by revealing partners, parents, children, and pets, situating thankers in relation to normative family forms, and the support they offer. Thanks (again) to my wife for typing. We turn to acknowledgement pages often before delving into a book, and we may understand the personalization as also a politicization, including, for example, of queer cares and queer families. These acknowledgements may in fact legitimize us as authentic subjects, demonstrating and living a ‘feminist life’, including by citation, association, membership and so on. You may hear our ambivalence and commitment to thankful acknowledgement. We are thankful for feminism and to the feminists who repeat and hold a feminist presence in the academy, for many reasons, even as we feel our feminist complicities in distributing thanks. Thanking those who are not usually thanked can muddle the successes that herald academic careers, and disrupt the myth of individual, meritocratic achievement. But sometimes academic acknowledgements re-tread

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a path pointing to success; the writer acknowledges the teacher, the supervisor, the mentor, who encouraged and advocated and showed the way. Following in their footsteps and saying thank you can persuade the reader, and the educational institution, of the effectiveness of following on, taking advice; the system works. Exceptional successes, or lucky escapes in winning despite the odds, can also reproduce career course logics and we want to interrupt this and consider how our objective educational successes— for we are both academics—may well be partly produced through failure. Here we think of discouraging teachers, difficult colleagues and the sidelining of feminisms from the curriculum and in the career course. It is important to acknowledge that we finished this book as the Covid-19 global pandemic took hold, and as the deadly social and political life of the pandemic is causing severe and sustained disruption. Like other academics, we have felt rapid and unprecedented changes to our usual work, with university buildings shutting down, redundancies threatened, and teaching, research and administration moving online. Amidst this, we have asked ourselves how might the book still matter beyond a task to be ticked off our to-do lists? In what ways will the everyday feminist repetitions and interruptions analysed here be shaped by the devastating interruption of everyday social life, just as the UK’s political response to the virus repeats lines of continuity in the austerity-driven dismantling of public health and welfare? We leave these as open questions, as we stretch ourselves again, wondering how to do feminism when we are not sure what universities will look like, or do, in the months and years ahead. In between stretching with and against institutional, familial, care and social pressures, we acknowledge and very much thank each other.

Praise for Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education “Why must feminism still repeat itself? What must feminism still intervene in? How can we stretch our colleagues, disciplines, universities and ourselves in our feminist interruptions? How do feminists negotiate the ambivalences of working in the non-feminist university? This vital book responds by creatively attending to unequal educational journeys along intersecting paths of privilege and precarityacross academic ‘career courses’.” —Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen, The Australian National University, Australia

Contents

1 Stretching Career Stages  1 Feminist Repetitions   7 Revisiting Career Categories  10 Methodological Interruptions  14 References  22 2 Moving On, Getting Stuck, Going Round and Round: Feminist Educational Journeys 29 Introduction  30 Institutional (Dis)locations  34 (Inter)national (Im)mobilities  36 Queer Feminists Fixed in Place  40 Conclusion  43 References  45 3 Care(er)ing: Queer Feminist Career Cares 49 Introduction  50 Who Cares?  54 Care-Full Misrecognitions  58 Failing Care Queerly  61 Conclusion  63 References  65

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4 Futures and Failures in Feminist Leadership 69 Introduction  70 Future Feminist Leaders  75 Mentoring: Feminists Holding On  79 (Mis)recognising Feminist Leadership  82 Conclusion  87 References  88 5 Knowing Feminists: The (Mis)use of (Our)selves 91 Introduction  92 Claiming (Mis)recognition: (En)title(ment)  97 Feminist Impositions? 101 Interrupting Feminist Failures 104 Conclusion 107 References 108 6 Conclusion: Repeating Feminism, Interrupting Ourselves113 References 124 Index127

CHAPTER 1

Stretching Career Stages

Abstract  This chapter focuses on how feminists take up academic space via the categorical distinctions of the career course, working to fit into this whilst stretching and unsettling the premises of an academic career. In this chapter we situate our analytic concern with feminist repetitions, thinking about how many aspects of feminist academic work are labouriously repetitive, as insights are glossed over, ignored, and incorporated in the nonfeminist university. Feminists encounter the necessity and frustration of repeating themselves, making feminist moves and evidencing feminist arguments over and over again. We situate these repetitions in relation to research that turns methods back towards the university. We then attend to categorical academic career stages themselves, exploring their contested definitions, questioning how precarity and privilege are inscribed, and how career stages are fractured by enduring educational inequalities according to for instance, class, race, and gender. We make the case for our creative and collaborative interruptions, methods which are broadly auto-ethnographic and combine techniques from collective biography and sociological fiction with insights from feminist criticism of the reflexive turn in social science. We argue that interruptions are particularly appropriate for investigating feminist inhabitations of career categories. Throughout we attend to how feminists in the academy repeat

© The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_1

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themselves, interrupt the non-feminist university, and are themselves interrupted across the career course. Keywords  Feminism • Higher Education • Academic Careers • Feminist Methods

Feminists have long been concerned with gender and work, including paid and unpaid labour, and entrances into professions. Work, and careers, are subject to a wide variety of analyses and activism, from socialist feminist demands through to corporate feminist exhortations to ‘lean in’ (Federici, 1975; Weeks, 2011; Sandberg, 2013). Feminist struggles over the gendered terrain of work include projects of recognising and re-valuing devalued feminised labour, as well as transforming professional fields that have systematically excluded women. We further understandings of the tensions and overlaps between different aspects of the feminist politics of work, via our focus on academic work and how feminists take up academic space via the categorical, hierarchical distinctions of the academic career course. We focus on how feminists occupy academic career categories— from PhD student and the ‘early career’ through to ‘established’, professorial and leadership positions—fitting into whilst also stretching and unsettling career stages and the meritocratic mobility promises of the academic career. In this introductory chapter we situate our analytic concern with feminist repetitions and interruptions, and contextualise the argument for re-thinking how feminists inhabit higher education (HE) via an empirically grounded understanding of academic careers; attending to what feminists do as we take up academic career categories. The career course is stretched under the pressure of neoliberal, entrepreneurial HE, and fractured by entrenched intersecting inequalities, workforce casualisation and regimes of performance management. As we write, we are interrupted by both recurrent university-mandated time-­ consuming ‘accountability and development’ review processes, and ongoing industrial action against pay inequalities, casualisation, workload, and the real terms devaluation of pay and pensions in UK academia. Both these interruptions, managerial audits supposedly necessary for our career development and taking part in collective strike action can be understood, contestably and variously, as feminist engagements. As Ahmed (2017)

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reminds us, ‘we do not have feminist universities’ (p. 110), and feminists continue to struggle for both institutional recognition and the feminist transformation of the institution, just as universities selectively incorporate feminist scholarship (Pereira, 2017). Feminist scholarship, and feminists themselves, occupy ambivalent positions in the academy. In the EU and UK for instance, women’s and gender studies research centres and degree programmes have been subject to closures, as well as the ‘mainstreaming’ of gendered analyses across social science and humanities curricula (Evans, 2011; Griffin, 2009), while feminist academics can be positioned as the lone ‘gender person’, embodying compartmentalised gender expertise for entire departments (Henderson, 2019). Concurrently, feminist scholarship is commercialised, and feminist ways of knowing are legitimated via their financial value to non-feminist corporate and performative universities (Pereira, 2015; Skeggs, 1995). ‘The achievement of feminism within academia’ is an ongoing, incomplete struggle that continues on multiple fronts, encompassing the lasting influence of feminist theory and methods on disciplines such as sociology, as well as the dilution, defeat, and attrition of feminism (Skeggs, 2008, p. 670). Many aspects of feminist academic work are therefore laboriously repetitive, and feminists are interrupted in their work just as we work to disrupt and hope to transform the non-feminist university. To re-think the repetitions and interruptions of how feminists occupy academic space, we focus empirically on career categories. There are lively analyses of feminist repetitions beyond the university, across decades and across recurrent feminist ‘waves’, driven by amnesia and nostalgia (Rivers, 2017), and of grassroots organising interrupting prevailing neoliberal, white feminism (Olufemi, 2020). There is long-standing attention to cycles of progress and backlash (Faludi, 1991) and post-feminist incorporation and disavowal of feminist ideas and arguments (McRobbie, 2008). Likewise Griffin (2009) emphasises the iterative (rather than linear, teleological) character of women’s and gender studies as disciplines. Alongside such accounts of repetitions and interruptions over decades, we turn our attention to the micro sociological, the everyday interactions in which feminists in the academy repeat themselves, interrupt the non-feminist university, and are themselves interrupted across the career course. Feminist academics negotiate the academic career course while working to shift the parameters of academic career success. Accordingly, throughout the book, we attend to four familiar feminist concerns in the form of

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conventional, and contested, recurrent approaches to inhabiting and transforming the academy. We further debates about doing feminist work in HE, by returning to the principles and practices of feminist strategies for taking up academic space. Each chapter focuses on one overarching repetitive feminist concern, and explores how feminists negotiate it via and across academic career stages. Chapter 1 addresses educational mobilities, Chap. 2 collaboration and care, Chap. 3 feminist leadership, and Chap. 4 considers experiential knowledge about becoming academic. In each chapter we question and interrupt such reiterative conventions in order to reinvigorate contemporary feminist academic practice and contribute to understandings of how feminists work to claim academic recognition while simultaneously labouring to transform how such recognition is defined and distributed. We come to this project differently positioned in relation to the academic career course. We have previously written collaboratively, occupying and stretching categories of The Early Career Researcher and The Feminist Professor, demonstrating how such categories are disrupted as well as reified when feminists inhabit and collaborate across them (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Speaking from these categories uncritically can involve the assumption that academics experience career stages homogenously despite differences and inequalities. Taking career stages for granted can re-inscribe the striving, upwardly mobile academic subjectivity, and a logic of progression up the ladder. As such, while our career stage experiences directly inform this book, we are cautious about over-identifying with the categories we currently sit within, and instead emphasise how we have been differently categorised, and that career stage locations are fractured, for instance by inequality regimes (Acker, 2006), institutional locations, and feminist commitments. We work in the same UK university, a research intensive institution, entrepreneurially branded as the place of useful learning. We share ‘corridor talk’ in the same department (of education), moving daily through the same classrooms, buildings, and office floor. Sometimes sticking out as queer feminists, we post information on feminist seminars, research activities and activist campaigns on corridor walls, email lists, and social media. We are friends, colleagues, and frequently mentor/mentee, according to institutional processes, funding applications, and development reviews. We situate ourselves in class-race-gender categories, as white cis women from different class backgrounds (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). However, we also hesitate around such (dis)identifications, and are wary of claiming to

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speak from avowedly authentic subject positions. Our work can pre-­ emptively and endlessly ‘out’ us, as queer, for instance (Taylor, 2013) and there is a repetitive labour in claiming and naming within which we struggle to stretch beyond the individual uptake of space (Taylor, 2012, p. 52). We focus on careers, and career categories, because becoming academic—via qualification, employment, and promotion—can frame feminists’ claims for resources and recognition for doing feminist work as deserving, achieving and challenging academic subjects (Taylor & Lahad, 2018). In foregrounding how feminists take up academic space via the career course we join those working to understand the connection between academic careers and academic subjectivities, in explorations of being and becoming academic (Brooks et  al., 2017; Gannon, Powell, & Power, 2018; Thwaites & Pressland, 2016). We ask how possibilities for feminist transformations of HE, albeit constrained, play out in the ways that feminists negotiate, re-work, and compromise with the career course. Both the ‘early career’, and feminist leadership in ‘established’ career stages are particularly subject to feminist attention, as are questions of career progression, imagined as negotiating systemic institutional discrimination via glass ceilings and leaky pipelines. Our contribution is in questioning and challenging the very form that feminist academic arrivals take, asking how and to what extent feminist academic presences involve transformative interventions into the structures and hierarchies of the career course, and HE more broadly (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). In dwelling on, and re-­ thinking feminist inhabitations of academic career stages, the book interrupts linear understandings of becoming academic, including the competitive and individualistic logics of contemporary HE. Early, mid, and established career stages come with institutional, and interpersonal, expectations, just as such categories are pressurised by structural sector change. Pursuing an academic career in a landscape of casualised employment contracts involves an element of ‘un/becoming academic’, as imagined professional futures are felt as insecure and marked by precarity (Read & Leathwood, 2018). Feminists’ positionings across career categories are not fixed and are variously (dis)identified with and against: the ‘rising star’ becomes the ‘future leader’, the ‘respected professor’ becomes ‘past it’, as timelines for promotion are accelerated for some and slowed for others, too late for early career funding, too early for promotion. For us, this poses a question on how to theorise feminist labour in HE when we are repeatedly asked to celebrate women’s academic arrivals as a sign of the times we’re in (Leathwood, 2013). Blockages and

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exclusions sit alongside such celebrations, for example, in the disproportionately low number of women professors, particularly Black women professors (Equality Challenge Unit, 2019; Rollock, 2019) and in an underlying ambivalence concerning the academia into which feminists ‘arrive’. Reading, writing, and talking about the thoroughly evidenced exclusions and marginalisations that characterise UK HE, and that re-emerge in avowed institutional commitments to ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘decolonisation’, is a repetitive undertaking. Over and over again, effort is expended to evidence and analyse the ways that universities reproduce stratification according to intersections of class, race, and gender. Accounts of the extremely low numbers of Black PhD students (Williams, Bath, Arday, & Lewis, 2019), and the fact that in the UK women account for approximately 46% of academics at universities while occupying only around 25.5% of professorships, with only 2.1% of professorships held by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women (Equality Challenge Unit, 2019) are referenced repeatedly in journal articles, reiterated in conference keynotes, and recirculated on social media. Pay and promotions discrimination is rediscovered and evidenced anew with each subsequent survey. University and College Union (UCU) warn that ‘at the current rate of change it take another 40 years to close’ the gender pay gap among academics (2016a, p. 5). Personal narratives of academic exclusions, marginalisation, and persistence abound. Working class women have analysed their classed and gendered experiences of the academy for decades (Mahony & Zmroczek, 1997; Tokarczyk & Fay, 1993). Black feminists have long demonstrated the epistemological significance of the ‘outsider within’ (Collins, 1986). Analyses of how women of colour negotiate racist patriarchy in the academy are well established and continually returned to (Gabriel & Tate, 2017; Gutiérrez y Muhs, Niemann, González, & Harris, 2012; Mirza, 1995). As we return to this work we are reminded that it is not for a lack of evidence that the pace of change in HE is so slow. Feminist academics encounter a sense of déjà vu, that ‘we’ already know about the un-feminist character of the university, from lived experience as well as from peer reviewed research findings. Like diversity workers banging up against brick walls (Ahmed, 2012, 2017) feminists repeat themselves because we are often ignored. Likewise, critical scholarship on the university and proliferating understandings of how HE inequalities are reproduced are alone

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insufficient to bring about institutional transformation (Bacevic, 2018, 2019; Boggs, Meyerhoff, Mitchell, & Schartz-Weinstein, 2019). In this chapter we firstly discuss feminist repetitions, situating our contribution in relation to research that turns feminist analytical and theoretical tools ‘back’ towards the university. Secondly we attend to academic career stages and categories, their contested definitions, and begin to consider how they shape and are shaped by feminist academic work. Thirdly we make the case for our creative and collaborative interruption methods, broadly auto-ethnographic and combining techniques from collective biography and sociological fiction with insights from feminist criticism of the reflexive turn in social science, to foreground interruptions as particularly appropriate for investigating academic subjectivities across career categories.

Feminist Repetitions In inhabiting universities and academic careers, feminist academics encounter the necessity and frustration of repeating themselves, making feminist moves and evidencing feminist arguments, over and over and over again. Feminists find themselves saying the same things in departmental meetings, raising the same complaints, and rearticulating feminist insights that have been established for decades. Feminist academics can occupy critical positions as they stretch to take up space within the academy, and can be positioned preemptively as disruptive, challenging, activist presences (Murray & Kalayji, 2018; Sobande, 2018), as feminist commitments interrupt smooth career pathways and perhaps disrupt un-­feminist institutions. The feminist academic is familiar with dismissal, and can be ‘read as a failure… the angry, emotional feminist compared to her “neutral” “objective” “rational” un-emotional counterpart’ Taylor (2013, p.  51). As Butterwick and Dawson (2005) ask: …what happens if, as a feminist, you despise the rules and think that they go against all that you stand for as an academic with an interest in furthering the cause of equality, democracy and social justice? (p. 61)

It is not possible however, to understand feminists’ relationship to the university in exclusively oppositional terms. Feminist academics occupy ambivalent institutional locations, in which ‘the paradoxical precondition for dissent is participation’ (Hark, 2016, p. 84). Feminists struggle for the

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legitimation and recognition of feminist epistemologies and pedagogies within dominant terms, while simultaneously working to ‘transform existing modes, frameworks, and institutions of knowledge production’ (Pereira, 2012, p. 283). However, even critical occupations of academic space can be understood as contributing to institutional reproduction in the sometimes ‘complicit relationship between the practice of critique and the logics of academic capitalism’ (Boggs et al., 2019, p. 7). Amidst calls to attend to ‘all the practices that make [us] “complicit” in exactly what [we] aim to expunge, or criticise’ (Bacevic, 2018, n.p.) it is essential to acknowledge how feminist research on academic work has long been doing precisely this. Skeggs (1995) shows how the expansion of some women’s studies programmes in the 1990s was enabled by right-­ wing reforms and consumerist rhetoric, and Pereira (2017) traces how the institutionalisation of Women’s, Feminist, and Gender Studies scholarship can depend on competitive income generation and the over-work of individual feminist professors, as well as on making feminist epistemologies legible as ‘proper knowledge’ within non-feminist frameworks. Others have analysed the ‘perverse pleasures’ of working in the ‘greedy’ university (Hey, 2004), and the joys of competence and efficiency ‘so pleasurable that we will intensify our subjection in neoliberal terms’ (Davies, Browne, Gannon, Honan, & Sommerville, 2005, p. 353). It is well established that diversity work is both blocked and recaptured as promotional material for the commodified ‘happy diversity’ of the institution (Ahmed, 2009; Swan, 2010). While Gill (2010, p. 229) observes that ‘the experiences of academics have somehow largely escaped critical attention’ they have absolutely not escaped critical feminist attention. Although feminist advances in understanding feminists’ implications in and attachments to the academic ‘objects’ of feminist criticism can go overlooked. The metaphor of recurrent feminist waves orientates us to how ‘the unhelpful notion of a linear progress… can be challenged in favor of acknowledging the more complex and cyclical nature of feminism’s histories’ (Rivers, 2017, p.  3). This is particularly pertinent as we attend to collaboration across career categories, as feminism can be positioned as ‘a kind of familial property, a form of inheritance… transmitted through generations’ (Adkins, 2004, p. 427). Understanding feminism as ‘following a familial mode of social reproduction’ offers a limited imaginary, relying on heteronormative ‘teleological and progressive notions of history’, inspiring calls ‘to decouple histories of feminism from a generational model’ (ibid). Unwarranted biologically reductive assumptions about

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women, and the naturalised work of (social) reproduction can creep in if we imagine feminist histories, and contemporary feminist repetitions, in terms of familial reproduction, visible for instance in analyses of ‘birthing the feminine’ in academic work (Henderson, Black, & Garvis, 2020). In attending to feminist academic careers, and looking beyond hetero-­ familial generational models, we are alert to the possibilities for creativity and change in feminist repetitions. We look for the generative, queer potential of repetition (Butler, 1990) in feminists becoming academic while negotiating the sometimes conflicting demands of academic authority and feminist politics. Returning to feminist academics’ own implications and investments in the ‘objects’ of our criticism, we begin from the presupposition that feminist stretches across the career course are very likely to be ‘kinda subversive, kinda hegemonic’ (Sedgwick, 1993, p. 15). Different feminist theoretical perspectives attend to similar dynamics, for instance Lorde (1984, p.  122) on the ‘piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us’, Butler (1997) on subjectification, and Davies (2005, p. 7) on learning ‘to catch ourselves and each other in the act of taking up the terms through which dominance and oppression take place’. Asking whether feminist inhabitations of career categories are either resistant or complicit, only precarious or privileged is in our view not the most fruitful question (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Instead we look to the ambivalent middle ranges of agency (Sedgwick, 2003, pp. 12–13). While academic exit, quitting and ‘abdicating the competitive rationality of neoliberal academia’ (Coin, 2017, p. 705) remains an option, feminist academics might be understood as cruelly optimistically ‘attached to compromised conditions of possibility’ (Berlant, 2011, p. 21). Mindful that ‘quitting’ academia can be experienced as a forced choice and/or denial of entrance, leaving academia does not equate to entering alternative workplaces free from ‘competitive rationality’, neoliberal performance management, institutional sexism and racism, class stratification, nepotism, institutional cover-ups of sexual violence and so on. Bearing in mind that all conditions of possibility are variably compromised, we begin from the observation that feminist academics frequently encounter imperatives to work instrumentally, strategically within the parameters of the non-feminist university. This means moving between hopeful investments in HE as a site of feminist transformation and acknowledging the hopelessness and futility of repeatedly polishing the institutional furniture (Ahmed, 2017).

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Revisiting Career Categories A sense of being, becoming, and arriving as an academic is stretched, delayed and sometimes permanently deferred in contemporary HE (Taylor, 2014), as the promise of secure employment, achieving long term goals and completing daily tasks alike become ‘ever-receding horizon[s] that cannot be reached’ (Pereira, 2016, p.  106; Read & Leathwood, 2018). ‘Early’, ‘mid’ and ‘established’ career stages offer an unreliable, and unequally insecure framework, but a framework nonetheless through which feminist academics claim and contest academic subjectivities, resources, and authority. The promises of becoming-academic remain seductive just as they are unsettled by feminist perspectives and fractured by HE inequality regimes and the conditions of work in entrepreneurial neoliberal universities. Career stages offer variable access to claims and entitlements, responsibilities and demands, and inform feminist academics’ access to resources (for instance in the parameters of eligibility for ‘early career’ research funding) and to the (mis)recognition of academic authority and expertise (for instance in promotions criteria and professorial zoning exercises). The heightened contemporary discourse of categorical career stages can circulate as an apparently benign truth, appearing to transparently describe a pre-existing state of career progression across hierarchical distinctions naturalised via appeals to meritocracy. However, it is necessary to consider how the use of career categories also re-produces the phenomena they ostensibly seem to only describe. There are variations in definitions, and divergent experiences, of career categories, which are obscured by attending only to the early career, the established professor. If the ‘early career’ is understood as definitionally precarious and marginalised, attention is distracted from significant differences, inequalities, and conflicts within the category. Likewise if ‘established’ career status is defined as automatically and unequivocally secure and privileged, this too erases the class, race, and gender differences within the category as well as those that structure entrance into an academic career and progression up the ladder. Gill and Donaghue (2016, p.  93) suggest that an exclusive focus on precarity as associated with the ‘early career’ risks ignoring how this is embedded in much broader ‘toxic and increasingly unstable work relations’ stretching across the career course. While casualised employment contracts proliferate among PhD students and post-doctoral academics, these are endemic across the sector, with UCU finding that 54% of all

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academic staff are employed on ‘insecure’ contracts (UCU, 2016b). Securing a ‘permanent’, open-ended position is far from guaranteed and the ‘hamster wheel of precarity’ can be a long-term condition (Courtois & O’Keefe, 2015, p.  56). Associating insecure, short-term contracts only with the ‘early’ career can obscure more permanently held forms of precarity in the sector, as well as obfuscating commonalities between ‘early’ and ‘late’ career stages, for instance the insecurity of imagined professional futures described by Read and Leathwood (2018). Here we add the observation that if the insecurity associated with the early career is understood only in terms of progression to ‘later’ career stages, this reproduces the meritocratic logics of the academic career course (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Established feminist perspectives show how the rules of the academic career ‘game’ (Addison, 2016; Morley, 2013), including how intersections of class, race, gender structure academic careers and promotions, are simultaneously well-evidenced and rarely acknowledged in careers advice (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Eligibility criteria for early career funding varies across UK and EU research councils. The European Research Council’s (ERC) ‘Starting Grants’ ask for two to seven years of post-doctoral experience (ERC, 2017a). In January 2020 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) revised the eligibility criteria for their ‘New Investigator’ grant scheme, removing the requirement that applicants be within four years of PhD completion, stating: This remains a scheme for early career researchers who have yet to make the transition to be an independent researcher. Removing the time bound eligibility criteria reflects our ambition to be as inclusive of the increasing diversity of career paths and trajectories as possible. (ESRC, 2020, n.p.)

Variations and revisions in definitions of ‘early career’ demonstrate how this is a contested and mutable category, with access to resources via extremely competitive funding schemes at stake. As casualised employment contracts are normalised, alongside commonplace expectations of inter-national geographical mobility, it can be extremely difficult for ‘early career’ academics to plan a future career (Read & Leathwood, 2018). It is essential here to situate academia in a broader employment landscape characterised by long-term precarity, and avoid academic exceptionalism. While early career academics undoubtedly encounter an inhospitable climate, ‘early career’ as a category also conveys

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‘arrival’ and achievement in a sector that continues to offer the promise of long-term employment for some, just as the category itself excludes both those who having achieved a PhD have not pursued an academic career, and those who have been shut out by discriminatory hiring practices and the normalisation of insecure employment. The ‘early career’ articulates both (relative) privilege and (relative) precarity, and is marked by, for example, gender, race, and class (dis)advantage (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). As definitions and experiences of being early career are stretched up to ten or fifteen years after PhD completion, and fractured according to systemic inequalities, we can see how casualisation works to govern entrance to an academic career. As universities reduce permanent contracts and increasingly rely on temporary and part-time staff across the career course (Courtois & O’Keefe, 2015) it is difficult to sustain belief in the linear ‘progress’ implied by career course temporalities, and impossible to believe that career course mobility is distributed evenly. We need therefore to situate early career status alongside permanently embodied and enduringly ascribed markers of difference among academics. Early career status can be claimed in ways that resonate with well-evidenced educational exclusions while simultaneously conflating such enduring inequalities with the precarity of the early career (Taylor & Breeze, 2020). ‘Mid-career’ is another somewhat malleable category, the boundaries of which vary. The ERC (2017b) Consolidator Grant is open to applicants with seven to twelve years of experience since PhD completion, yet addresses applicants as young scientists. According popular advice promotion to Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer ‘marks entry into the mid-­ point range of a full academic career’, underscoring the striving academic subject ‘looking ahead’ to future career advancement (Carey, 2014, n.p.). Such advice rearticulates the never-quite-getting-there logic of the career course, without acknowledging how, for many, Lecturer or Senior Lecturer appointments can be the culmination of an academic career. While the amount of experience in teaching, research, and administration necessary for various academic roles is codified in job role descriptions and promotions criteria, in practice there is variation in how such criteria are applied between and within departments and institutions. Advice on progressing into and beyond the ‘mid career’ can obscure the hidden curriculum of the career course and discriminatory barriers to promotion. Such advice does however convey a sense of ‘being on time’, as categorical career stages position some academics as ‘too early’ or ‘too late’ for promotion, and academics are vulnerable to getting stuck, ‘trapped’, or ‘caught’ in their careers (Angervall, 2016).

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The homogeneity of an ‘established’ career stage is complicated by divergent and non-standardised career pathways (Acker & Wagner, 2019; Bagilhole & White, 2013), such as transitioning into academia from previous careers or completing doctoral research after working in universities for many years. A categorical definition of ‘established’ career stages is marked by how not all academics become readers or professors, and very few take up the senior managerial appointments which the category can be conflated with. Women and especially Black women and women of colour are under-represented in senior positions, they are also paid less, and are more likely to be found on casual contracts (Equality Challenge Unit, 2017). Morley (2013, p. 116) shows how women’s leadership capacities in HE are ‘relentless[ly] misregoni[sed]’. Women’s presences in senior positions are both reduced and inflated when rendered in brightly coloured exaggerations, for example, in photographs of always-smiling ‘women leading the UK’s top universities’ (O’Connor & Minter, 2015). Here ‘overcoming gender equalities’ can be presented as an individual achievement, of remarkably successful middle-class white women, simultaneously ‘reconstruct[ing] the serious intellectual subject as a masculine one’ (Leathwood, 2013, p. 133). Clearly, there are significant differences in access to resources and recognition between academics at different career stages, and the career course’s future-orientation can promise that if we just strive harder then we will eventually ‘get there’ (Hey, 2001, 80). However, categorical career stages efface not only the well-documented structural barriers to career progression, but elide differences between academics within career categories and the potential connections and complexities across career stages that are visible when we attend to how feminists take up, and negotiate, an academic career. Feminist academics’ experiences negotiating the career course are increasingly lived out publicly and online, on social media and particularly ‘academic Twitter’ (Gregory & singh, 2018) alongside an array of advice columns, blogs, courses, guidelines, workshops, and books on how to ‘survive and thrive’, and ‘be a happy academic’ (Clark & Sousa, 2018; Woodthorpe, 2018). Methodologically, there isn’t necessarily a question of accessing ‘hard to reach’ stories but rather how to navigate the abundance of material on (not) belonging and (not) becoming academic, and asking whose stories are amplified and re-circulated while others are glossed over, as research accounts and popular publications proliferate. We understand the contemporary attentiveness to becoming academic as another

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layer of repetition, as having feminist life before the ‘new’ focus on the ‘neoliberal university’. This requires a return to established methodological debates on how to do research on academic life.

Methodological Interruptions Our interruption methods are grounded in our experiences working together from shifting career course locations, and our observation that feminist collaborations can interrupt as well as reproduce categorical career distinctions. Congruent with principles of feminist research we are interested in the everyday, mundane, worlds of feminist academics (Smith, 1987), especially those with a repetitive character: …the things people find themselves returning to over and over again in conversation, such as the sharing of confidences, complaints… (Butterwick & Dawson, 2005, p. 54)

In telling career stories, there can be a tendency towards neat linearity, positions and promotions following one after the other, articulating a simplified forward motion. Even when the slippages, stalls, and disappointments of the career course are foreground, repetitive, ordinary experiences can be taken for granted as the temptation is to prioritise dramatic turning points: ‘failures’ and quitting the academy (Coin, 2017) as well as moments of success. Our methods re-focus on the routine and everyday aspects of feminist academic careers, including those quotidian ‘documents of life’ (Plummer, 1983) of the career course including CVs, performance reviews, email correspondence, various forms and application documents, notebooks, and social media posts, alongside our recollected and recounted experiences of moving through career categories and the conversations and interactions generated in our on-going cross-career collaborations. Our interruption methods draw on techniques from collective biography (Davies & Gannon, 2006; Gannon & Gonick, 2019) and sociological fiction (Inckle, 2010; Watson, 2016), which we develop and elaborate in conversation with feminist sociologists’ critical readings of the reflexive turn in social science (Adkins, 2002; Skeggs, 2002). Our interruption techniques allow us to show the repetitive, generative processes of returning to, elaborating upon, and interrupting accounts of feminist academic careers. We explain these methods in detail below, after situating them in

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relation to feminist debates about doing research on the university and on ourselves. Knowing Feminist Repetitions In considering the methodological dynamics of feminists making sense of the conditions of their own academic labour, and their own becoming-­ academic, we are alert to the repetitions in this field of inquiry. This means asking ‘what does knowledge do—the pursuit of it, the having and exposing of it, the receiving again of knowledge of what one already knows?’ (Sedgwick, 2003 p. 124 italics added). While such repetitive effort is itself repeatedly acknowledged as ‘never-ending work, in which one is caught over and over again undoing the thing one thought one had accomplished’ (Davies, 2006, p. 500) it is also glossed over, perhaps forgotten amongst imperatives for innovation and originality that shape research. A recurring claim diagnoses a lack of attention to academia as an object of research, what Butterwick and Dawson (2005, p. 51) call ‘the undone business of self-understanding’ among academics. There is particular resonance here with research about academic careers, ‘until we can […] publicly discuss the conditions under which people are hired, given tenure, published, awarded grants and feted, “real” reflexivity will remain a dream’ (Hey, 2001, p. 67). Such claims are repeated contemporarily, for instance: ‘universities resist knowledge of themselves… constantly normalising… modes of forgetting behind the veil of institutional obviousness’ (Boggs et al., 2019, p. 2). In noticing the frequency with which research on academia is described in terms of silences and secrets (Ryan-Flood & Gill, 2010) it is apparent that any taboo around researching academia is not only reliant on erasing a significant body of feminist research, but is also accompanied by an imperative to speak and perhaps confess (Plummer, 1996). Narrating feminist academic experiences can align with self-surveillance in neoliberal institutions, and expectations of the ‘good’ reflexive self (Adkins, 2002; Skeggs, 2002). Knowing more about how feminists inhabit the career course can be considered compatible with the demands of becoming-academic in the neoliberal university. Reflexive self-knowing is congruent with audit regimes and performance management, and according to Adkins (2002), ‘far from the critical practice it is often understood to be for social research’ (p. 346). As such, qualitative methods, especially those which rely on storying the self, risk reinscribing the processes we hope to understand, with collective biography vulnerable to ‘creating yet

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another space in which to evaluate ourselves reflexively’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 198). Feminists have long advocated ‘putting one’s self into the research process… to expose the power, positioning, privilege and complacency of those (usually male) researchers who claimed objectivity’ (Skeggs, 2002, p. 355). However, feminist researchers have also problematised the widespread adoption of reflexive self-knowing, identifying a limited form of reflexivity which allows ‘only certain subjects to speak’ and ‘inscribes a hierarchy of speaking positions in social research’ (Adkins, 2002, p. 332). Not only are expectations of reflexivity unevenly distributed according to class, gender, and sexuality but ‘reflexivity may be an important constituent of such differences, including their reconstitution in late modernity’ (Adkins, 2002, p. 346). Skeggs (2002) argues that ‘…the dictum to be reflexive has become interpreted in a banal way, whereby the experience of the research is of the researcher only and their story’ (p. 60). Such stories are invariably based on the assumption of a singular and fixed researcher identity, working primarily to legitimate the researcher as a coherent and authoritative knowing self, while neglecting and silencing ‘others’ (Adkins, 2002; Skeggs, 2002). To summarise, telling the story of the self has been mobilised as feminist method, but there is nothing inherently or automatically feminist about reflexive self-telling, which can reproduce inequalities in whose self-narrations are recognised as authoritative, whose are compelled, and whose are silenced. Particularly relevant for our methods is how, ‘in order for some people to move, to be reflexive, others must be fixed in place’ (Skeggs, 2002, p. 349), since we look to our own experiences stretching across the career course as sources of empirical material. In the context of tensions around researchers reflexively drawing on their own experiences, how can feminist methods, which remain ambivalently invested in experiential knowledge and autobiographical ways of knowing continue to work in such ‘ruins’ (Lather, 2007)? Via our interruption methods, we endeavour to analyse processes of feminist academic self-formation, rather than simply performing and reiterating such processes in our methods. To do so, we draw upon and develop those elements of collective biography which offer a way to continue to work with reflexive accounts of experience, beyond individual narrations and authorisations of the self. Proponents of collective biography methods argue that they provoke ‘a shift beyond any remnant attachment to the speaking/writing subject towards her dispersal and displacement via textural interventions that stress multivocality’ (Gannon,

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Walsh, Byers, & Rajiva, 2014, p. 181). This enables a focus, not on individual stories, but rather on ‘processes of subjectification within which subjects come into being’ (Gannon et al., 2014, p. 184). Feminist methodologies have long disputed the notion that research can directly or transparently capture ‘experience’. Feminist researchers point out how experience and subjectivity are at least in part created and produced as textural effects, including autoethnographic and autobiographical research practices (Adkins, 2002; Skeggs, 2002). It is precisely such productive discursive processes that collective biography attends to, reaching ‘toward an understanding of ‘subjects-in-relation’ and ‘subjects-­ in-­process” (Gannon & Davies, 2012, p. 79). Collective biography methods aim to ‘decentre or destabilise the “I”’ (Gannon et al., 2014, p. 184) and ‘loosen the self from the story’ (ibid 186). These aspects of collective biography are particularly appropriate for our purposes. However, in developing our collective biography methods we are wary that ‘new forms of textural technique’ (Skeggs, 2002, p.  363), such as dialogue, multivocality, and feminist bricolage (Handforth & Taylor, 2016) intended to destabilise individual subject positions, can have the effect of simultaneously and self-consciously re-centring the self-­ authorising self. Such a re-centring is a risk in collective biography, as ‘the persistence of the originating subject… who remains most authorised to speak and write… has, at times, provided an awkward undertow’ (Gannon et al., 2014, p.186). In order to negotiate this issue, we combine collective biography techniques with sociological fiction methods (Taylor & Breeze, 2020), committing to interrupting the assumption a singular academic speaking from ‘authentic’ experience. Methods: Interrupting Each Other and Ourselves We began gathering material for this book in the first months of 2018; the start of an extended and iterative two year process of writing together. We moved back and forth between research literatures and our overlapping experiences of doing feminist academic work while negotiating the career course, with the career course itself ‘worth investigating because it is so deeply invested in the standard assumptions and practices of academic life’ (Butterwick & Dawson, 2005, p. 53). We gathered artifacts and prompts, including different iterations of our CVs, documentation from performance reviews, equality audits, our email correspondences with each other, our diaries and notebooks, various forms and application

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documents. We began to write preliminary accounts based on individual and shared memories, and worked with this material to develop the four themes, repetitive feminist conventions in taking up academic space across the career course which structure the book’s chapters: feminist educational journeys and returns, queer feminist career cares, futures and failures in feminist leadership, and knowing feminists. We then organised and began to expand our writing under each thematic heading, elaborating and editing each other’s notes and drafts, working with and narrowing down our selected prompts as examples to think with; ‘…we discovered refrains in our stories’ and kept returning to them (Brooks et  al., 2017, pp.  14–15). We repeatedly exchanged our drafts, adding to remembered shared experiences and cross-cutting each other’s initially individual stories, writing back, replying, and responding. Like Gannon et al. (2014, p. 185) we re-worked texts collaboratively, in a departure from the individual re-writing that can characterise earlier forms of collective biography, and working against singularly individual experiences. Editing, elaborating, and fictionalising initial drafts that ‘belonged’ to one or the other of us allowed us to engage with the ‘experience of misrecognition… detached from a sense of [our] own memories’ (Gannon et al., 2014, p. 186). We met regularly over the course of two years, discussing our writing and sharing responses, in this respect we relied upon conversation and writing as the ‘cornerstones’ of collective biography (Brooks et al., 2017, p. 3). Over time, this collaborative re-working cohered around our technique of interrupting and fragmenting our accounts as we wrote them. This involved developing our initial material into fictionalised data fragements, by way of fabrication as ethical practice (Markham, 2012) and ‘telling tales to speak embodied truth’ (Inckle, 2010, p. 27). In practice this meant developing multiple voices with which to speak back to our accounts, writing ourselves from different career locations, imagining ourselves into (remembered past, and anticipated future) positions, as well as writing fictionalised encounters with composite figures of the academic career course: gatekeepers, mentors, reviewers, examiners, students, line-­ managers, supervisors. This allowed us to develop partial, fragmented, interrupted career narratives as ‘entangled data-stories’ (Brooks et  al., 2017, p.  3) unsettling smooth, coherent linear accounts of career progression. We experiment with different forms of interruption, inserting ‘our’ multiple voices to disrupt singular or unitary locations of experience, as well as striking-out and censoring text to demonstrate the processes of our

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over-writing, developing dialogues and conversations. Throughout the chapters that follow we write from different and shifting positions, switching between first and third person, and between the singular and the collective, occupying I, we, she, they and us at different times to various effect. We occupy and (dis)-identify with academic career categories self-­ consciously in order to draw attention to their contestable character and analyse how feminists occupy and stretch academic career stages (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Our interruptions serve to continually draw our, and readers’, attention to not only the multivocal and dispersed academic subjectivities that emerge when writing across the career course, but to enact the embodied and affective experience of doing feminist work in academia, continually repeating and interrupting ourselves. Methods, including our interruptions, for exploring the ‘new laboring [academic] subjectivities’ (Gill, 2014, p. 12) take place in the context of much longer feminist histories and precedents for auto/biography as ‘signalling the active inquiring presence of sociologists in constructing, rather than discovering, knowledge’ (Stanley, 1993, p. 41). Introducing Ourselves Our collaborations began in October 2015 as Yvette took up a Professorial post at a Scottish University and Maddie applied to a Chancellor’s Fellow scheme in the same department. We began working together on funding bids and publications, and became colleagues in September 2017. We continued to collaborate on research and teaching activities, some of which are codified and formal, in co-authored journal articles, supervising PhD students, and applications for funding that stipulate the identification of a mentor or the naming of a Co-I, in annual review processes that require a reviewer. At other times the substance of our collaborations is less amenable to institutional recognition or procedural documentation; checking-in via email and text, sharing private frustrations and complaints. As we finalise this book we have been working together for four and a half years, and as our collaboration progressed we encountered a sense of stretching the definitions of academic career categories. This inspired us to turn to our own accounts of negotiating the career course as empirical material, and to write together from different career locations, as we both adopted and distanced ourselves from the categories that place us as The Early Career Researcher and The Feminist Professor (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). In writing ourselves in, we are wary of re-circulating only our own

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selves, and re-centring individual academic subjectivities. In combining collaborative biography and sociological fiction methods we are not only searching for moments of consensus and shared experience, but seek the points of tension, disagreement, and difference in collaging and interrupting the ways we write about our experiences (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). Our methods—including how we introduce ourselves here—prioritise interruptions, stretching to find ways to talk about how we are positioned while disrupting the reification of such positionings, we are speaking from somewhere in the career course but we are interested in unpicking that somewhere: Dr Maddie Breeze joined the School of Education as Chancellor’s Fellow in 2017 (Maddie applied for this job in 2015 too, but didn’t get shortlisted, now she claims this status, a reduced teaching workload, expectations of research excellence and accelerated promotion…). She previously worked as a Lecturer in Public Sociology at Queen Margaret University (This makes her sound relatively secure, experienced, but what’s not mentioned here is how this was a part time, 6 month contract…), and as a researcher in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh (This was a zero-hours contract, with a four month delay in payment…). Her book ‘Seriousness in Women’s Roller Derby’ was awarded the 2016 British Sociological Association Philip Abram’s Memorial Prize (Is mentioning this prize a bit out-dated now? Surely she should have moved on to something new, achieved something more recently…). Yvette Taylor acted as School of Education Research Director (2017–2019), and Deputy Head of School (2019) (Yvette was well over her workload). She was previously Professor in Social & Policy Studies and Head of the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University (2011–2015) (She was warned against going to LSBU, as a post-1992 institution. She held the permanent, rather than revolving, Head post throughout university restructure(s), and when funds were diminished redundancies were made) and Senior Lecturer (Sociology) at Newcastle University (2005–2011) (she appealed her failed SL promotion and won). She was peer nominated for the THES Outstanding Leadership and Management Team (2013), as Diversity Role Model (2013), and peer nominated for a Strathclyde Medal (2017) (she received an email telling her she was a bad leader, then received a message of thanks from the same sender…).

In developing elements of collective biography in our interruption methods we modify collective biography conventions; compared to the larger group process of collective biography research, we are only two.

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While this at times involves emphasising dialogue, primarily we multiply and shift speaking positions, drawing on our shared experiences as well as writing from different times and places across the career course; sometimes (mis)recognised as the expert, keynote, or rising star, at other times the awkward, disruptive feminist presence. * * * In foregrounding how feminists take up academic space across the career course, and the repetitions and interruptions therein, we explore how possibilities for feminist transformations of HE, albeit compromised, play out in the ways that feminists occupy the hierarchical categories of ‘the’ career course. This allows us to return to and renew discussion of distinct but interlinked feminist conventions in doing feminist work in un-feminist universities. The book is structured so that each subsequent chapter attends to one such feminist convention. Chapter 2 Moving on, and getting stuck, going round and round considers educational journeys and mobilities, feminist entrance into HE, and progression ‘up’ career ladders, questioning and complicating moments of feminist ‘arrival’, institutional distinctions, and international mobilities. The chapter considers how even as feminist academics move across the career course, their feminism can carry a stickiness and fix them in place. Chapter 3 turns to feminist collaborations, and the queer work of care in the university, particularly as collaboration and care stretch across career categories, contributing to understandings of the devaluation and repudiation, as well as extraction and exploitation of queer feminist as well as feminised labour in contemporary HE. Chapter 4 focuses on futures and failures in feminist leadership, and long-standing feminist concerns with achieving positions of power and influence within universities, questioning the ways that feminist leadership is and is not passed on and recognised. Chapter 5 returns to feminist commitments to situated and experiential ways of knowing, particularly for understanding becoming academic, in light of contemporary imperatives for academics to speak from supposedly authentic, and authentically marginalised subject positions. In each chapter we question the assumptions, politics, and epistemological commitments that inform feminist conventions as ambivalently hopeful investments in the university as a site of potential feminist transformation.

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Hey, V. (2001). The construction of academic time: Sub/contracting academic labour in research. Journal of Education Policy, 16(1), 67–84. Hey, V. (2004). Perverse pleasures: Identity work and the paradoxes of greedy institutions. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5(3), 33–43. Inckle, K. (2010). Telling tales? Using ethnographic fictions to speak embodied ‘truth’. Qualitative Research, 10(1), 27–47. Lather, P. (2007). Getting lost: Feminist efforts towards a double(d) science. State University of New York Press. Leathwood, C. (2013). Re/presenting intellectual subjectivity: Gender and visual imagery in the field of higher education. Gender and Education, 25(2), 133–154. Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press. Mahony, P., & Zmroczek, C. (1997). Class matters: Working class women’s perspectives on social class. Taylor & Francis. Markham, A. (2012). Fabrication as ethical practice. Information, Communication & Society, 15(3), 334–353. McRobbie, A. (2008). The aftermath of feminism: Gender, culture, and social change. Sage. Mirza, H. S. (1995). Black women in higher education: Defining a space/finding a place. In L. Morley & V. Walsh (Eds.), Feminist academics: Creative agents for change (pp. 145–155). Taylor and Francis. Morley, L. (2013). The rules of the game: Women and the leaderist turn in higher education. Gender and Education, 25(1), 116–131. Murray, Ó., & Kalayji, L. (2018). Forging queer feminist futures through discomfort: Vulnerability and authority in the classroom. Journal of Applied Social Theory, 1(2), 12–34. O’Connor, L., & Minter, H. (2015). In pictures: The women leading the UK’s top universities. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian. com/women-in-leadership/gallery/2015/mar/17/in-pictures-the-women-leadingthe-uks-top-universities Olufemi, L. (2020). Feminism, interrupted: Disrupting power. Pluto Press. Pereira, M. d. M. (2012). ‘Feminist theory is proper knowledge but…’: The status of feminist scholarship in the academy. Feminist Theory, 13(3), 283–303. Pereira, M. d. M. (2015). Higher education cutbacks and the reshaping of epistemic hierarchies: An ethnography of the case of feminist scholarship. Sociology, 49(2), 287–304. Pereira, M. d. M. (2016). Struggling within and beyond the performative university: Articulating activism and work in an ‘academic without walls’. Women’s Studies International Forum, 54, 100–110. Pereira, M. d. M. (2017). Power, knowledge and feminist scholarship: An ethnography of academia. Routledge. Plummer, K. (1983). Documents of life: An introduction to the problems and literature of a humanistic method. Allen & Unwin.

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Taylor, Y., & Lahad, K. (Eds.). (2018). Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist flights, fights and failures. Palgrave Macmillan. Thwaites, R., & Pressland, A. (Eds.). (2016). Being an early career feminist academic in a changing academy: Global perspectives, experiences and challenges. Palgrave Macmillan. Tokarczyk, M. M., & Fay, E. A. (Eds.). (1993). Working-class women in the academy: Laborers in the knowledge factory. University of Massachusetts Press. University and College Union. (2016a, May 17). The gender pay gap in higher education: 2015/16 data report. Retrieved from https://www.ucu.org.uk/ media/8620/The-gender-pay-gap-in-higher-education-201516%2D%2Dfull-report-May-17/pdf/ucu_2015-16genderpaygapreort_full_may17.pdf University and College Union. (2016b, April 16). Precarious work in higher education: A snapshot of insecure contracts and institutional attitudes. Retrieved from https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/7995/Precarious-work-in-highereducation-a-snapshot-of-insecure-contracts-and-institutional-attitudesApr-16/pdf/ucu_precariouscontract_hereport_apr16.pdf Watson, A. (2016). Directions for public sociology: Novel writing as a creative approach. Cultural Sociology, 10(4), 431–447. Weeks, K. (2011). The problem with work: Feminism, marxism, antiwork politics, and postwork imaginaries. Duke University Press. Williams, P., Bath, S., Arday, J., & Lewis, C. (2019). The broken pipeline: Barriers to Black PhD students accessing research council funding. Leading Routes. Retrieved from http://leadingroutes.org/the-broken-pipeline Woodthorpe, K. (2018). Survive and thrive in academia: The new academic’s pocket mentor. Routledge.

CHAPTER 2

Moving On, Getting Stuck, Going Round and Round: Feminist Educational Journeys

Abstract  This chapter is about how feminist academics make their ways into, and through, academic careers, and the repetitions involved in feminists moving on up an academic career. Recognizing arrivals in higher education (HE), and celebrating feminists’ presences across the career course is one contested strategy for transformations of the academy. Amidst contemporary attention to ‘becoming academic’ this chapter situates feminist educational journeys in relation to historical educational entrances, rather than imagining the pleasures and pains of academic ‘arrival’ as a novel feminist concern. The chapter examines mobilities and stasis, moving on and getting stuck, across (1) institutional hierarchies and (dis)locations, (2) international (im)mobilities, and (3) the fixing in place of queer feminist academic work. We re-think prevailing understandings of academic career categories, asking what is carried in academic arrivals and circulations. We attend to what fragmented stories of feminist educational journeys do as we re-tell them, and as various interlocutors interrupt the telling, rather than simply reciting educational journeys as ends in themselves. We look to the blockages and knots in feminist career journeys that lurk behind public-facing narratives. Such immobilities can interrupt smooth success stories, just as they can be mobilized politically, as claims to resources and recognition, and as a redress of educational injustice. We pause over how recounting getting stuck can reassert the resilient individual subject, and the uneven distribution of possibilities for telling stories of career immobility. © The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_2

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Keywords  Feminism • Higher education • Mobilities • Queer feminists • Academic careers • Becoming academic

Introduction This chapter is about educational journeys, how feminist academics make their ways into, and through, academic careers. Recognising feminist arrivals and mobilities in higher education (HE), and celebrating feminists’ presences and achievements across the career course is one contested strategy for feminist transformations of the academy, and this chapter questions the repetitions involved in feminists moving on through an academic career. In these opening paragraphs we historicise educational arrivals, contextualising the chapter’s concern with feminist movement and stasis across (1) institutional hierarchies and (dis)locations, (2) international (im)mobilities, and (3) the fixing in place of queer feminist academic work. We re-think prevailing understandings of academic career categories, asking what is carried in feminist academic arrivals and circulations, and how some are stuck as others move on. The chapter expands debates from a limited focus on the early career as definitionally precarious and established career stages as exclusively secure. Amidst proliferating attention to becoming academic (Brooks et al., 2017; Gannon, Powell, & Power, 2018) it is essential to situate educational journeys in relation to histories of educational entrances, rather than imagining the pleasures and pains of academic ‘arrival’ as a novel feminist concern. In returning to historical entrances of those excluded from HE, or ‘space invaders’ (Puwar, 2004), we find celebratory accounts, listing ‘the first women at university’ (Carter, 2018). The Times Higher Education ‘celebrate[s] pioneering women who joined the university 150 years ago’, describing how in 1868 the University of London became ‘the world’s first university to accept women’ (Carter, 2018, n.p.). The sexist racism conditioning entry into HE systems is reiterated according to this recognisable pattern, with lists celebrating, for example, The First Black Students Admitted to 15 Prestigious U.S.  Universities and Their Stories (Siddiqui, 2013), which names 12 men and 3 women, entering universities in the United States between 1853–1952. Such arrivals illuminate ‘… how

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spaces have been formed through what [and who] has been constructed out’ (Puwar, 2004, p. 1). Looking to the history of educational entrances risks locating such exclusions exclusively in the past, as old problems now transcended. This is clearly not the case, as contemporary ‘firsts’ abound, particularly in relation to career progression. The announcement of Professor Olivette Otele as the first Black woman history professor in the UK (BBC, 2018) illuminates a promoted academic subject, ascending the career course. Likewise, the 2020 Phenomenal Women exhibition, curated by Dr Nicola Rollock, showcases Black women professors at ‘the highest level of academic scholarship’ while highlighting how just 35 of 19,285 UK professors are Black women (UCU, 2020, n.p.). The exhibition is framed in terms of both ‘achievement’ and ‘excellence’ and how ‘the sector is failing Black women’ (UCU, 2020, n.p.). Positioning individual success stories and strategies for achieving professorship alongside evidence of the continuing marginalisation and exclusion of academic ‘others’ can both mobilise and undermine the meritocratic rhetoric of the career course. While for Black PhD students at the beginnings of their careers, the ‘pipeline’ isn’t just leaky but fundamentally broken (Williams, Bath, Arday, & Lewis, 2019). The framing of career mobilies matters, and we pause over the effects of naming systems as ‘failing’ and ‘broken’ which might in fact be functioning as intended in stratifying and consolidating hierarchies of race, class, and gender. As exclusions and inequalities persist, they are accompanied by the institutional commodification of ‘diversity’ (Ahmed, 2009) and post-­ feminist declarations positioning feminist concerns in the past, as critiques already incorporated (McRobbie, 2008). Working to complicate celebratory moments of academic ‘arrival’ is a laboured repetition, as feminist scholars draw attention again and again to the stratified character of HE and the classed, racialised, and gendered construction of recognisable academic authority. Here we return to feminist educational journeys, stretching the career course to include how ‘we’ got here, exploring what feminist academics carry into the academy, and questioning how secure, stable, or complete feminist arrivals can be. At School… In the Guidance Office: Mr. Niven [Guidance Teacher]: What kind of girl is Yvette, Mr. Wallace?

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Mr Walllace [Guidance Teacher]: I’m not sure what kind of girl she is Mr. Niven. I mean just look at this writing, look at this jotter! What kind of girl are you, Yvette? They file through the School Report card and read aloud: ‘Yvette has not performed well this year and tends to lapse into idle chatter…Her presentation is often very slap dash…Yvette has now reverted to her previous poor attitude… In class she makes little to no effort to follow the simplest instruction…Yvette has difficulty with basic skills [badminton]’ Aged 7: Please Miss, can I have some homework? Maddie, I’ve told you before, you’re not old enough for homework, there’s plenty of time for that later, I’m afraid my final answer is no, I don’t want to hear about this homework nonsense again. Later… After two years of zero hours contracts post-PhD, the early career scholar is celebrating her first salaried (0.7 FTE, 6 months) post, she’s a lecturer! Emailing her PhD supervisor with the good news, thanking him once again for the (many!) references, expecting congratulations in return, his reply stops her in her tracks: Well done but just make sure you don’t get stuck there, and remember you really should keep on applying for jobs so you can be back on track as soon as possible, research council funding in a top institution is your goal… Much later…. Institutional benefits accrue to the early career academic in the form of promotion, career and geographical mobility: she moves from there to here and seems to fit-in and take up her space. She becomes a Professor, which elicits questions and requires an explanation. Surely this is too soon? Surely she must be too ambitious, too individualistic, too removed from The Family or any emotional cares, able instead to just invest in herself? Does she have children? A partner? Does she have work-life balance or just work too hard? Even (feminist) successes may be recast as failures in normative measures of fitting-in, moving, achieving and (not) caring.

Annual performance reviews, probationary and promotional processes, and continually updated online profiles echo early school report cards. Being assessed and assessing others, we continuously self-evaluate, celebrating potential and lamenting failure, inscribing capacity and diagnosing deficiency. This chapter grew from our experiences of being warned repeatedly of how we might likely get stuck just as we felt ourselves to be

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moving on. Looking back inspired us to question how progress is articulated in stories of academic mobilities, and what and who is left out. Feminist academic presences come from somewhere; we carry collective histories (and futures) with us from different starting points as we take up space in the university. Feminists ascending the career course, individual mobilities and successes can be figured—and contested—as a strategy for achieving feminism in the academy. So, we explore how feminist educational journeys are repeated, and interrupted, and might stretch beyond individual mobility, to encompass varied feminist commitments and collective presences. We are compelled by the stickiness of educational judgments, manifest in supposedly objective grades and person specification criteria, as well as subjective assessments: who gets imagined and propelled into an educational future, as the good, achieving subject and who is stuck at the bottom, perhaps even when they obtain grades, match their peers, and do the work. Re-reading school reports is laughable and lamentable; ‘poor, slap-­ dash, idle’—even in the context of academic achievement—gives us pause. We pause on the ‘lucky girl’ who could have been ‘stuck’ in her working-­ class background, never reaching professorial heights, and the illuminated ‘top girl’ (McRobbie, 1997) whose potential is supposedly at risk of being squandered in a ‘not good enough’ university. Here we think about educational mobility, including across institutional hierarchies, across place, alongside a sense of being ‘stuck’ in the wrong place, or position, and as an awkward, queer feminist presence. Navigating a maze of hopeful opportunities may be an exciting entitlement, as familial, collegial and peer signposts act to orientate and buffer; conversely grasping the next rung of the ladder may involve slippage and a stretch too far. Career moves remain unequal and we can feel the pain in playing the game (The Res-­ Sisters, 2016) in investing in unjust structures. But we can also feel relief from, and an ambivalent entitlement to, educational spaces negotiated via a potentially transformative feminist practice. In what follows, we think about moving on and getting stuck, across (1) institutional hierarchies and (dis)locations, (2) international (im)mobilities, and (3) queer feminist concerns. Attending to repetitive feminist circulations alongside arrivals allows us to analyse what our fragmented stories of feminist educational journeys do as we re-tell them, and as various interlocutors interrupt us in the telling, rather than simply reciting educational journeys as ends in themselves. We look to the blockages and knots of stasis in feminist career journeys that lurk behind public-facing narratives. Such (im)mobilities interrupt the smooth success stories of the meritocratic subject, just as they are simultaneously mobilised politically,

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as claims to resources and recognition, and as a redress of educational injustice. At the same time we pause over how recounting getting stuck can reinscribe notions of the heroic overcoming individual. The consequences of naming career road blocks are unevenly distributed, and we ask readers to pause over whose career dead ends can be re-captured as ‘resilience’ and whose are inscribed as sticky deficiencies of the self, embodied as classed, raced, and gendered enduring educational failures (Loveday, 2016; Taylor, 2013b). We also ask readers to consider how interrupting accounts of smooth educational journeys can make visible the normative white middle-class educational subject, just as attending to feminist arrivals and mobilities neglects those shut out of an academic career.

Institutional (Dis)locations In the UK, stratification between universities structures access to material resources and reputational recognition and is elided in euphemisms as ‘ancient’, ‘modern’, ‘selective’, ‘recruiting’, ‘red brick’, ‘sandstone’, ‘plate glass’ and in everyday talk of where is a good ‘fit’ for the feminist academic. While there has been much sociological analysis of educational inequalities and the positioning of some places and populations as ‘bog standard’, wasted and wasteful (Reay, 2004), less is said about how this feels in HE and how this shapes feminists’ recurring encounters in-between different institutions. Colleague 1:  Have you heard about the redundancies at Modern University? Not much of a research culture there, so maybe for the best for such a new institution. Colleague 2: Errr…. I work there. Colleague 1: I thought you were still at Respected Elite University? Oh, but you’ll be OK, it’s a springboard position for you, no? Colleague 2: Spring-boarding out of redundancy?! [nervous laughs] Colleague 1: [hearty laughs] Colleague 2: [thinks to herself: I was warned, colleagues at Respected Elite told me to ‘be careful’, ‘don’t get stuck there’] Is it a shared anxiety, when the colleague from a ‘safe’ ‘good’ ‘ancient’ university turns and asks you how insecure and impermanent you are? When your presence may soon become an absence and how you may be shaken up and fall out in a moment of restructured academic hierarchies?

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In ‘swimming’ rather than ‘sinking’ the feminist academic has to become rational, unemotional and enterprising, to work on developing her own thick skin as her institution—and perhaps herself—is positioned as timelessly ‘new’ (Taylor & Allen, 2011). This resonates with those initial, sticky educational judgements, echoing from school guidance rooms, and report cards: An official email from the principle arrives in our inboxes, celebrating and congratulating the university’s 10th birthday, ten years have passed since the institution was fully accredited as a university, ‘university college’ no more. The congratulatory email is swiftly followed by a more sober communication from the university’s press office: there will be no public announcement of this milestone, so while staff can be justifiably proud of all their hard work, we ask you not to mark our 10 year achievement on social media. The lecturer is moving on, as her part time, 12-month contract comes to an end she has (after multiple unsuccessfully attempts) secured another position, this one holds out the promise of permanency with a Fast-Track Fellow contract, at a very ‘entrepreneurial’ university. If she achieves promotion within the specified five-year term she can expect the security of an openended contract. Colleagues’ self-denigration interrupts their congratulations: yes you get out of here while you still can! It’s okay for you—you’re young enough to still have options, to be able to move on, we’re all going to rot here—ha ha ha! We’ll be able to say we knew you when you’re a famous professor! The humour doesn’t quite mask what hovers behind these ‘jokes’, and the lecturer is silent, not knowing how to show that she doesn’t see this university as inferior, but she can’t afford to not try for a full time salary and a more ‘permanent’ position… The same lecturer shares the same news of the same new job with an ex-­ colleague, a retired professor from the Russel Group university where she did her PhD. They’ve bumped into each other at a glossy, over-priced café near the university, full of laptops and tweed. Oh well, I wonder if you’ll get a chance to do any research while you’re there? Yes actually, the post comes with a reduced teaching workload and expectation of funding and fast-tracked promotion. Huurrrummmph perhaps it will one day lead on to a proper job for you after all!

Differences and similarities can be mapped across, in the UK context, Russell Group, Post-92, and Alliance universities, competing in global rankings. Where there is a generalised uncertainly about the future of education, and the future of universities, vulnerabilities re-cast certain viabilities, as ‘top’ universities are seen to be able to come forward as resilient,

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to deal with the blows. In doing so, certain claims may be cemented, where the shake-up—the rise to the ‘top’ and the fall to the ‘bottom’— implies a naturalised order of the good and the bad university: the talented student, like the talented university, is often seen to be able to forge a path through precariousness, to carve out a new, even more deserving position. They can cope, the resilient and enterprising worker, the able university, a supposed ‘scientific fact’ of league tables. Universities’ promotional materials are littered with ‘first’, ‘best’, and ‘biggest’ across which the mobile feminist researcher is expected to journey and ascend.

(Inter)national (Im)mobilities Ideal educational subjects, endlessly moving, taking up space, and reaching out are displayed on university billboards, prospectuses, and websites. The entrepreneurial university is tasked with making an impact in regenerating cities (Sandberg, 2015) as well as producing ‘world changing’ research, and the local and the global intersect in university efforts targeting ‘local’ and ‘far away’ student recruitment and promoting their ‘international’ reach. The once public university must revitalise and internationalise its spaces and subjects through privatised economies of monetary value. New buzzwords of ‘impact’ and ‘engagement’ appear in mission statements, branding the locally, community-engaged institution. Staff and student mobilities across national borders are illuminated and capitalised on as the university promotes itself as global, international, while the same students and staff are subject to surveillance and monitoring by the institution acting as an agent of border control, upon which visa status depends (Dear, 2018). As UK universities establish ‘satellite’ campuses around the world, trading on neo-colonial educational hierarchies, LGBTQ+ staff have been advised to ‘hide their sexuality’ when travelling to states where homosexuality is criminalised (Busby, 2019). Within this vastly uneven and bordered landscape, how is university space experienced in everyday movements? While feminism has likewise and variously concerned itself with world changing, there is an awkward positioning of feminist academics on local-national-international fronts. The feminist academic has taken advice, is following it to the letter: before you apply for any job, make sure you have thoroughly familiarised yourself with the department’s online profile and the university’s website, their branding and

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buzzwords will tell you a lot about the kind of candidate profile they’re looking for, and allow you to tweak the image you present to fit their ideal… Changing the world since the 15th Century. Our people have always been at the forefront of innovation and our past achievements inspire our current world changers [Our current world changers are, as your will see from the display boards on campus, mostly white men: this is our proud history and our continued direction]. University of the year 2019! Our campus [is based right in the very heart of G-town. National Geographic named G-town as one of its ‘Best of the World’ destinations. We’re in the city centre, next to the Quarter, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies [actually, it’s more off-centre, but just move the map…]. Hmmmm, not much use for writing a personal statement and five-year research plan. Procrastinating, she does one last (she tells herself) online search for advice. There’s a useful looking article on the Higher & Higher Education Magazine (glorified rankings business) but before she can read it, a pop-up crowds her screen, shouting COMPARE THESE 24 UNIVERSITIES FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AN IPAD. She clicks through, not paying much attention at first, as she is asked to select between two university logos at a time: which is the most prestigious? Familiar with the supposed status of some of the institutions, less so with others, she notices that the pairings are increasingly ‘international’, an iPad would be useful, she could work on her job applications on the morning bus ride more easily…

Universities—including the one where both authors now work—have been differently bound up in the contested story of city regeneration, each investing in place-based rebranding marking the city as future-orientated, as vibrant, useful, international. Universities trade on different cohorts of students—and staff—recognisable as pulling in and pushing out ‘home’, ‘local’, ‘international’, ‘widening participation’, ‘non-traditional’, ‘elite’ groups, and indicative of a wider economy of educational journeys as universities court high fee paying ‘international’ students. Categories of value and distance, of ‘here and there’, ‘near and far’, ‘us and them’, become attached to atmospheres, architectures and landscapes as well as to embodied academic subjects, and the question becomes how to locate feminist journeys on such paths, as she is encouraged to brand herself as ‘world leading’, and implicated in the automatic emails sent to PhD students, reminding them that their visa is at stake if they don’t engage sufficiently with their studies.

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An undergraduate student guides the group on a walking tour around the university, complete with historical facts, key statistics and noteworthy venues beyond campus [You’d escaped your UK institution for a prestigious USA fellowship, time off, time out, you were strolling around campus…]. She was adding to her CV, her future employability, just trying to get by and facing life-long future debts [Is she getting paid?]. She excelled as a university representative and her enthusiasm earned her resounding applause as she recited how far she’d travelled to get here, her weekly timetable, extra-­ curricular activities, and exam success. Potential students were informed about the extremely competitive 25% admissions success, and accompanied by eager parents keen to find out what their child should put in their personal statement: how to make the special child become part of the special institution, to secure that special future [Abandon the kids, abandon reproductive futurity, fuck the future!]. The sun was shining, and it was hard not to ‘just believe’ as one billboard, quoting words from a smiling student invoked us to do. [You were a mediocre student, didn’t talk in seminars, scraped through, tripped over on stage at graduation …]. The guide is believable, committed, determined. And isn’t that just what you want from the good student? With an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge [this line of sight is university owned and protected], this all seems perfectly plausible. But the tour also hinted at presences and absences beyond these proprietary lines of sight. The emergency poles promise a 90 second response time from on-campus police, if the button is pushed. Campus is made safe for some, students are located, and futures are promised as secure. The student guide has, perhaps, little choice but to align to these directing pathways as ‘good guides’ [You think of your own CV, won’t this visit look good on it, better make the most of it].

Questions of entrance and exit follow the feminist academic in everyday movements between and within HE institutions, as well as in travels across university campuses, which may be felt as a privilege and a pain, a CV point and an escape, a movement of ‘being international’ and a reminder of your ‘far away’ or ‘local’ status. The early career feminist academic borrows a friend’s student card for six months, so she can continue to swipe into the building, teach her classes, and use the printer, after her PhD student status has expired. Her PhD peers face visa fees, NHS surcharges, and the astronomical costs of applying for ‘indefinite leave to remain’, as they negotiate the UK job market. The imperative to ‘be international’ elides the borders and blockages that shape who can travel, and appears in informal advice, in doorways and corridors, seemingly benign and helpful,

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presented with a smile, yet propelling forward the good mobile subject and fixing others in place: 1. [when applying for a job at your PhD institution] They really prefer it if you go away and come back again, get some experience slumming it in a very teaching heavy role somewhere obscure like I did. 2. [when applying for a job elsewhere] Don’t get your hopes up, remember there’ll likely be an internal candidate, the job has probably been created with them in mind, so don’t spend too much time on your application. 3. [when applying for a job at your PhD institution, again] Remember the department is really looking for someone with an international profile, and you’re very local. Perhaps re-think whether you should apply when there’s such a competitive candidate pool, it’s really just wasting the recruitment panel’s time. 4. [when you have secured an ‘international’ post-doc position] Hmmm well of course it would be better if you were here, or in the UK at least, at a well-known university, you know what I mean.

The expectation of easy, frictionless movement across the UK, across international boarders, re-asserts the ideal academic subject as not only exceptionally mobile and able to relocate, ‘free’ from enduring ties to people and place, but as implicitly white, given the racism of the UK’s border regime (Dear, 2018). The feminist academic is caught, positioned as stuck, too local, not local enough, insufficiently travelled, insufficiently ‘international’ and when ‘international’ insufficiently prestigious in the Anglo-­ centric hierarchy. Feminists find themselves in a familiar dilemma: they must negotiate these imperatives and seek recognition and security for themselves and their scholarship via complicity in the foundationally unequal and exclusionary expectations of (certain kinds of) mobility. The postdoctoral research associate, is in a new city, a new country and her head is buzzing with new information, making sense of the role. A review of the research institute is underway, representatives from the funding council are visiting, there will be carefully managed presentations, receptions, displays. It’s vitally important, everyone is stressed; the long-term funding of the institute is at stake. The postdoctoral researcher is surprised to be invited to a meeting with the funding council officers, she will attend with the Principle Investigator of the project she works on. As the long meeting

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unfolds (formal, almost scripted, about 20 senior staff, professors and directors, sitting round a horseshoe arrangement of tables, facing the funding panel) she wonders why she is here. Her role becomes apparent as a funding officer asks, and what about international staff? Can we see a show of hands? The postdoc raises her hand. Anyone from the UK? She keeps her hand raised and is addressed directly: But tell us, where did you get your PhD? An elite, Russell Group university, with a 500 year history and international reputation. A nod, eyebrow slightly raised, a note is made. Later in the corridor the PI spelled it out: the project is regularly dismissed by the institute’s director as ‘unscientific’ by virtue of its feminist framework, being able to showcase The British Academic adds valuable currency in the ongoing battle to legitimate the project in the eyes of the institution.

Moving on—or getting stuck—occurs in gestures, a subtle nod or a raised eyebrow, a back pat to move you on or a slap and a grab to pull you back. In thinking through everyday (mis)placements, Ahmed (2006) traces how we move in space, influenced by ‘orientations’ that have been shaped by cultural discourses of appropriate directions of travel. Going ‘with the flow’ of such travel works to embed the route, it becomes a ‘well-trodden path’, with embedded footprints encouraging others to follow the route. A walk through the space of the university campus encourages certain paths and ways of conceiving the university, and the ideal academic ‘traveller’ through this space (Burke, Crozier, & Misiaszek, 2017; Brooks, Byford, & Sela, 2016). However, helpful orientations are not given to all travellers: set paths in established spaces favour and confirm certain normative subjectivities, as the way forward and the way to take up space, while road blocks are set up to bar the way to academic ‘others’ and to discourage less trodden paths.

Queer Feminists Fixed in Place Alongside distinctions between institutions, markers of diversity are seen to add value to the institution, to indicate and stand for ‘widening participation’, ‘internationalisation’, and to demonstrate ‘outreach’. In thinking about academic journeys, it is worth pausing on who is or might be asked to tell their ‘diversity story’, to tell a story of arrival which evidences the university’s happy, marketable, diversity (Addison, 2012; Ahmed, 2012), an issue we return to and consider in more detail in Chap. 5. In the UK, Stonewall launched a ‘Gay by Degree’ indexing website measuring and

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ranking ‘diversity’ as brand, locale and market. Within the index, the focus shifted from institutional commitments to equality and diverse student-­ staff compositions, to centering cities ranked according to LGBTQ+ scenes (Tucker, 2014). And so a rather consumerist and promotional measure of diversity is again celebrated. In this context we might imagine the queer feminist academic as an asset, illuminated in the promotional pamphlets and billboards of the institution keen to cash in on its progressive credentials, with resources spent to recruit and retain her so she can be counted in gender equality audits and initiatives (Tsouroufli, 2019; Tzanakou & Pearce, 2019). Universities increasingly seek to evidence their rewardable commitment to gender equality in Athena SWAN medals and showcase LGBTQ+ staff and students in various accreditation schemes. However, such efforts often rely on the queer feminist academic undertaking a disproportionate share of diversity work, required to tick the box, while all the while sitting neatly within it, rather than surpassing or criticising the auditing of diversity the purposes of institutional promotion. Feelings wrong or out of place in university spaces—even and perhaps especially when these are accredited as ‘diverse’—can reveal how (im) proper research-teaching subjectivities are circulated and attached to the queer feminist. These are particularly visible in student responses with, for example, students evaluating lecturers’ embodied performances and presentations of gender and sexuality. Here, a ‘critical pedagogy’ and a queer ‘outness’ may be read as a failure and a lack, as the early career feminist doesn’t know her place: I realise sociology is predominantly a women’s subject, hence the large amount of girls enrolled in the topic [okay now apply this observation to the rest of the university, subject choice and disciplinary status…]. But I have never come across a module leader with such a dislike towards boys [where there boys in her class, or adult men?] … I’m sure having gone to a private school didn’t affect her opinion of me [I wonder if you know how your feedback will feed in to my annual performance review?] but felt the slightly obvious feminist views and condescending attitude towards men was a bit too blatant [we discussed this in class—‘the feminist’ becomes the location of blame and shame in even mentioning gender inequality]. There needs to be a re-­ think in her approach towards the men in class as equals, not below women… [do you think that feminist theory can tell us something about appeals to equality?]

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Printing out and putting up the posters for upcoming Feminist Research Network seminars is a regular task on her to-do list, scrabbling for more tape from the stationary cupboard and ensuring the list of upcoming speakers is kept accurate as more names are added throughout the year. Behind the scenes catering is arranged, trains and flights reimbursed, postgrad students involved. [Are the feminist academics relegated to an administrative, organising role? Facilitating guest speakers’ travelling subjectivities, foregrounding PhD students’ contributions?] The posters are big and bright, establishing a feminist presence along the corridor, in the building’s reception among layers of other notices, adverts, calls for participants… Until, the feminist academics notice an empty space: the posters have been taken down, they pause—were they out of date? No! She re-prints posters, re-fixes them in place. Colleagues’ comments echoing in her head as she does so: Are you still writing about lesbians? Don’t limit yourself to a feminist approach, be careful how you frame your work, you might want to remove ‘feminist methodology’ and ‘queer theory’ from your research interests on the departmental website, it could put off potential collaborators, potential PhD students, remember to keep your eye on promotion and orientate your work accordingly.

Feminist academics are familiar with their repetitive positioning as ‘the gender person’ (Henderson, 2019) who can be called upon to teach the singular gender week. As gender studies is ambivalently, awkwardly, partially ‘mainstreamed’ and gender studies centres close and open (Evans, 2011; Griffin, 2009) feminists and gender studies scholars are called upon to provide compartmentalised gender expertise for entire departments, entire undergraduate cohorts: can you do a one hour lecture on gender, sexuality and education? As feminist scholarship is called upon it is simultaneously bracketed and contained, as there isn’t room in the degree programme structure to make space for a proposed module dedicated to gender. Hiring a feminist academic isn’t part of the departmental strategy, PhD students be called upon to provide that teaching. Here feminist scholarship is an afterthought or optional add on, a tick box exercise as is well documented (Tsouroufli, 2019). Feminist contributions can also be cast as an excess: even as universities draw on the work of feminist academics they are quick to delineate when feminism is too much and feminist academics are put back in the box. Even when the topic at hand calls directly for queer feminist expertise, a perhaps unintended side effect of gender mainstreaming is the assumption that anyone can teach and talk about gender and sexuality, as we watch from the sidelines as colleagues

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without expertise organise all white male panels for LGBT History month, the queer feminist’s input is not required. The question of how educational biographies intersect with gender inequalities persists. Questions of potential can quickly become problem issues—even recast as feminist failure. As McRobbie (2008) highlights women’s entry into the workforce, as beneficiaries of and achievers in education, has become a sign of arrival; she has found her place in a (post) feminist world. But she can also go ‘too far’ and (some) women’s achievement has also been seen as a cause and symptom of a male-­underachievement and ‘crisis of masculinity’ (even with his pay differential), and the ‘feminisation’ of the university with women’s (feminist) potential re-cast as too much (Taylor, 2013a, 2013b), fixing her in place and holding her back even as she negotiates the career course.

Conclusion Educational achievement is popularly imagined as a route up and out of poverty, a way to pursue and achieve upward social class mobility. It is also imagined as automatic and unremarkable, a normal entitlement and progression for the ‘right kind’ of middle-class subjects. It is imagined as ‘empowering’ for women, a route to economic independence and self-­ determination, and a fit into proper ways of being as women and girls are re-positioned as (over) achieving educational subjects. Yet there are many disruptions within such shifts, where being seen as (still) out of place and unentitled, combines with a sense of educational entitlement, something which feminists have demanded, but which can also mark her as uncollegial, overly ambitions, heartlessly individual and devoid of care. Moving on, from institution to institution, from place to place, is required if the feminist academic is to negotiate and perhaps ascend the career course, if she is to escape getting stuck. But even when she moves her queer feminist commitments are seen to affix her in (the wrong) place, in (the wrong) time, requiring her to repeat herself, follow feminist circuits round and around in the non-feminist university. In re-telling educational journeys, the temptation is to focus on moments of ‘arrival’, which are vulnerable to being understood in absolute terms, opposite from failing and quitting the university (Coin, 2017). Such moments can repeat over-simplified distinctions, positioning feminist academics as either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the academy, either on track and moving on up the career course or stuck in immobility, fixed in place.

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These kinds of positions, imagined as mutually exclusive, are reiterated when the academic feminist expert and/or queer theorist are positioned as elitist and out-of-touch, emerging from nowhere, and distinct and oppositional to feminist activists. Without glossing over the evidenced inequalities that structure entrance into and progression within an academic career, we are wary of a parallel set of glosses. Such glosses sweep over feminist academics who sit ambivalently within academic career structures, whose arrival is complicated by both the educational journeys they carry with them and their feminist methodologies, pedagogies, and activisms. These feminists are not ‘radical outsiders’ in the academy, but nor are they depoliticised, entirely complicit insiders (Morley, 2014). Feminist academics are conceptualised (again) in terms of movement, from inside to outside and back again (Lipton, 2019) as partial academics (Shipley, 2018), as challenging presences (Murray & Kalayji, 2018) on the threshold of legitimacy (Gannon et al., 2018). We add that feminist mobilities across the career course are intertwined with an on-going stuckness, by virtue of feminist commitments, compounded by enduringly held markers of difference. ‘The Feminist Professor’ and ‘The Early Career Fellow’ (Breeze & Taylor, 2018) do not emerge from nowhere, innocently appearing on the page, from the school report card to the academic CV. In highlighting (dis)connections we trouble a separation between the (im)permanence implicit in ‘starting out’ against having ‘made it’ and we and argue for a more careful recognition of (im)mobility in educational trajectories, and academic careers. We stretch, insist on, and destablise our investment in educational trajectories and career categories; sometimes it is possible to tear up the report card, to laugh out loud at the tick box pages, and yet sometimes these echo all too familiarly and loudly in demarcations of the ‘elite’ university, the ‘international’ academic and the four-star subject. Alongside many others, we are deeply skeptical of stories of meritocratic promise, and we certainly do not aim to convey a problematic beginning, transformed by an educational ‘becoming’ (Skeggs, 1995). Instead, we wanted to query these official stories, profoundly marked by class, race, and gender. When the feminist academic may not have, yet ‘…mastered the basic skills’ (of badminton) but also of neutrality, objectivity, rationality, impartiality, she is dismissed for her political commitments, read as an angry, emotional failure (Taylor, 2013b). When the ‘girl with potential’ becomes celebrated, anticipated, and lamented, as a sign of feminist futures/failures, we need to be attentive to the recirculation of enduring

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inequalities. For some, university space is a tranquil bubble, for others it remains an unsettling, shifting landscape that is hard to comfortably inhabit. Here an awkward question arises, what is expected from the feminist academic once she has (partially, ambivalently) ‘arrived’ in an academic career? Who is she expected to care for, carry, collaborate with? We turn to these questions in the following chapter, exploring queer feminist cares across the career course.

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CHAPTER 3

Care(er)ing: Queer Feminist Career Cares

Abstract  This chapter is about feminist practices of care across the academic career course. Caring is readily positioned as oppositional to ‘careering’, but we bring the two together. We attend to how universities require a wide variety of caring labours, and how feminists negotiate care as it entwines with the career course. The gendered dynamics of devalued caring work sits at the centre of feminist ambivalences, as working care-fully is positioned both as a hindrance to career course success, and as a feminist strategy for negotiating and resisting the care-less university. Feminist practices of collegiality and relationality can be co-opted by the institution, which depends upon devalued feminised caring work and social reproduction just as it disavows their necessity, leaving the feminist and her cares behind. We wonder what feminists can do when feminist care and collectivity are at risk of being recaptured by the institution and misrecognised within normative gender regimes. In this context we explore (1) Who is expected to care for others across the career course, when embracing (or demanding) care-full collaboration as feminist praxis risks repeating over-burdening feminist academics with devalued work. (2) The (mis)recognition of queer feminist cares in dominant care frameworks, as these interrupt normative (re)productive family forms, and unsettle the gender essentialism and heteronormativity of care. (3) How in failing care queerly, feminists can care (and not care) across the career course in ways that resist recapture by greedy institutions ever hungry for feminist, as well as feminized, labour. © The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_3

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Keywords  Care • Feminist • Higher education • Collaboration • Queer cares • Gender • Failure

Introduction This chapter is about feminist understandings and practices of care across the academic career course. The double meaning of ‘careering’ is evocative here, speaking to ‘frantic and frenetic’, out of control efforts towards career mobility, as well as designating an ‘individualistic strategy’ to negotiate the pressurised and excessively competitive career framework (Clark & Knights, 2015). Caring is often positioned as oppositional to ‘careering’, but here we bring the two together. Much of the literature focuses on ‘academics with caring responsibilities’ external to the university workplace (see Henderson & Moreau, 2020). However, academic work itself involves a wide variety of caring labours (Burford, Bosanquet, & Smith, 2020), and we are particularly concerned with how feminists negotiate the work of care as it entwines with the career course. Despite the neutral language of caring responsibilities in university human resources policy, care continues to be popularly imagined in hetero-­reproductive terms, prioritising care for children within a nuclear family, just as care work and the labour of social reproduction are naturalised as essentially feminine, ‘women’s work’ done for love rather than money. We explore feminist care(er)ing in this context, via examining (1) who is expected to care, including in contested feminist strategies of re-­ valuing and recognising care-full academic work (2) how queer feminist cares are misrecognised just as they interrupt the heteronormativity of care and (3) how feminists can care (and not care) in ways that resist re-capture by both normative gender regimes, and the university as an institution ever hungry for our unpaid labour (Coin, 2018; Wånggren, 2018). In a probationary review meeting: You are taking on rather a lot of collegial citizenship duties, be careful that doesn’t take away from your research time, remember to prioritise that. [Thinks: funny how organising research seminars with international speakers, and lead-editing special issues and collections isn’t counted as research activity…]

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A tweet, seen as she rushes between PhD student supervisions: @precariouspostdoc Profs who aren’t materially supporting early career colleagues can do one! Offer spare rooms when we’re in town for conferences, invite us to talk in your departments, workshop our job applications, cover our travel costs, AT LEAST buy us dinner. It’s all talk and no action. #academickindness #academichypocrisy [Thinks: How entitled! Even though she can and does fulfill many of the demands, she does so voluntarily, invisibly…Who feels entitled to care, should this be another feminist task to-do? Who will buy her lunch?]

Knots of ambivalence surround feminist approaches to care across the career course. Feminist cares are interpreted as hindering careers (she cares too much, her collegiality is taken advantage of, supporting students and colleagues is not recognised in promotions processes) and as helping the feminist to advance (we need to look out for each other, build our own networks, lift each other up, find a mentor!). Avoiding characterising academic care work as either inherently feminist or as an automatic block to career progression, this chapter is contextualized by four overlapping insights about care and academic careers. Drawing from a rich and long-established field of feminist scholarship, we offer a brief summary of these perspectives to help frame the rest of this chapter. Firstly, the university is theorised as care-less; an institution in which caring is an unwelcome interruption to the avowedly rational-intellectual character of academic endeavor. As Lynch (2010) emphasises, carelessness in HE has a long history, originating in profoundly gendered classical Cartesian dualisms that position emotion and feeling as oppositional to a privileged rational intellectualism. In the careless university both caring responsibilities and emotional investments are feminised and rationality itself is defined against ‘the feminine’ (Davies, Browne, Gannon, Honan, & Somerville, 2005). Intellectual labour is supposedly an autonomous, individual effort, devoid of relational inter-dependence. Feminist cares have long been positioned as an excess of investment and attachment: the denigrated other against which claims to objectivity, neutrality, and ‘fact’ rather than ‘value’, take their meaning. Likewise, feminist forms of collectivity are devalued against the heroics of avowedly individual achievement inscribed in sole-authored publications, first author and principle investigator status. The career course is characterised by the valorisation of care-less individualised competitiveness and ‘24/7 culture of availability, and migratory and transnational lifestyles’ (Lynch, 2010, p. 63). The ideal

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academic subject is construed as care-free: ‘unencumbered by caring responsibilities’, defined by a ‘declining sense of responsibility for others’ (Lynch, 2010, p.  57). Feminists continue to analyse how this ‘ideal’ is explicitly gendered, grounded in heteronormative masculinity and imagined as ‘either a perennial bachelor or a [straight] male academic with a wife who tends to the home’ (Henderson & Moreau, 2020, p. 72), illuminating how the ‘care-free’ academic is perhaps better understood as the recipient and beneficiary of unacknowledged, unrecognised caring work. Secondly, the university depends upon devalued and unpaid feminised caring and relational labour, both in the domestic sphere and in the workplace, so that negotiating an academic career can involve ‘free-rid[ing] on other people’s care work, both within and without the academy’ (Lynch, 2010, p. 60). Traditionally, academic wives have been responsible for the domestic labour necessary for reproducing the academic workforce, while also performing largely unacknowledged intellectual labour. As Brady’s (1971) poem I Want a Wife satirises: ‘I want a wife who will type my papers for me’ (n.p.). Wilson’s (1977, p. 4) acknowledgements for Women and the Welfare State likewise points to the convention of thanking nameless ‘wives’: ‘Since I have no wife, I am indebted only to myself for typing and general domestic servicing’. The gendered dynamics of social reproduction are mirrored in the workplace, as academic women are ‘disproportionately encouraged to do the “domestic” [and care] work of the organisation’ (Lynch, 2010, p. 56), sometimes termed academic ‘housework’ (Heijstra, Steinthorsdóttir, & Einarsdóttir, 2017). The care-less university ‘simultaneously repudiate[s] and depend[s] upon feminised forms of labour’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 195). Care has never been external to or eradicated in academic work, but rather constitutes the ‘infrastructure serving the [supposedly] great [implicitly] male mind’ (Rudberg, 1996, p. 292). One starting point for this chapter is that academic work is always care-full, depending on devalued feminised care work in the workplace and in the home. Even when the university explicitly rewards and valorises carelessness, this depends on the continued exploitation of care. Thirdly, both those academics with caring responsibilities, and those made disproportionately responsible for ‘plugging the institutional-care gaps’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 195) encounter discriminatory barriers to career progression: ‘there is an inverse relationship between who cares and who advances’ (Cardozo, 2017, p. 408). Caring responsibilities impede career mobility, and positions of leadership (see Chap. 4) are ‘defined as

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precluding those who have care-full lives outside of work’ (Lynch, 2010, p. 58). The gendered dynamics of care are reinscribed, as academic women are pressured and expected to take on caring work in the form of ‘collegiality’, ‘citizenship’, and pastoral responsibilities, only to find such activity interpreted as a lack of productivity that counts against them in promotions processes (Cardozo, 2017). This is compounded when we consider how minoritised academics visibly marked as ‘embodying diversity’ are disproportionately responsible for doing care-full institutional diversity work (Ahmed, 2009). Caring for others is work typified by its devaluation and naturalisation, in both public-professional and private-domestic spheres, notoriously unpaid and underpaid and dismissed via a positioning as not real work. The idea that care-full relationality and collectivity are barriers to career progression is repeated in the ways that feminist academics negotiate the career course, as one of Acker and Wagner’s (2019) participants put it: ‘There is this fantasy around feminist research that we can all work collaboratively, but people still have careers’ (p. 11). Fourthly, caring in the care-less university, and especially enacting care-­ full feminist collectively and collaboration is positioned as having radical potential, disrupting hyper-competitive careless individualism in contemporary HE. As universities ‘push us to […] engage in competition rather than collaboration’ (Gill & Donaghue, 2016, p. 93), care is understood as feminist practice, with the potential to contest such norms. This approach is visible in contemporary calls for ‘radical kindness’ (Burton & Turbine, 2018, 2019) and for ‘a new collective imaginary of academia’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 191). Feminist work makes appeals towards collectively as oppositional to individual career successes as ‘we must remind ourselves that we are working in academia for […] the pursuit of equality for all, not for our own career advancement’ (Res-sisters, 2016, p. 267). However, an important interruption to the positioning of ‘equality for all’ as opposite to ‘career advancement’ is that pursuing equality may involve career advancement for some, and not others, given the relative absence of women and especially Black and minority ethnic women in senior academic positions. Care-full relationality via feminist collaboration is also understood as a strategy for (feminist) career advancement, as necessary to negotiate and remediate the effects of nepotism and entrenched ‘old boys networks’ (Bagilhole & White, 2013) and as supporting alternative career strategies (Angervall, 2016). In what follows, we re-think feminist approaches to doing care, exploring: (1) Questions of who is recognised for their caring labours, and who

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is expected to care for others across the career course, when embracing (or demanding) care-full collaboration as feminist praxis risks repeating the over-burdening of academic women in general and feminist academics specifically with under-recognised and under-rewarded work. (2) The (mis)recognition of queer feminist cares in dominant care frameworks, including how these can potentially interrupt normative (re)productive family forms, and unsettling the gender essentialism and heteronormativity of care. (3) Asking how and whether in failing care queerly, feminists can care (and not care) across the career course in ways that resist recapture by greedy institutions ever hungry for under- and unpaid feminist, as well as feminised, labour, making the misrecognition of queer feminist cares work (Hey, 2004). In doing so we return to, and revitalise, longstanding feminist debates about the relationship between caring and careering, including asking how to make the vital labour of care ‘visible, valued, and equitably distributed’ (Weeks, 2011, p. 13) while simultaneously refusing its exploitation and recapture by the institution.

Who Cares? In the careless university feminist ‘relational labour is co-opted […] to perform the work of neoliberal reform’ (Gannon et  al., 2015, p.  194). While expected to compensate for the careless institution, women academics in general face a promotions penalty for caring ‘too much’. For instance, Fotaki (2013) reports on academic women encountering criticism from senior colleagues for being ‘too collegial’. And yet, we are writing at a time when universities claim to care, to concern themselves with the ‘wellbeing’ of students and staff as well as with addressing gender inequalities, and when care is claimed as feminist practice. In this context, we consider who is positioned as entitled to be cared for and who is expected to care for others when care-full collaboration is understood as a feminist commitment and institutional attempts are made to redress the devaluation of care and collectivity in promotions processes (Grove, 2019). What does embracing (or demanding) care, collectivity, and kindness as feminist praxis and as a formal expectation of academic work mean for feminist academics negotiating the career course? To what degree are the gender regimes of care interrupted, and how is the feminisation of care repeated across the career course?

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The Feminist Professor is hurrying back to her office, another Twitter exchange, glimpsed fleetingly before she absolutely must focus on writing five student references in one afternoon: @collegialprofessor It is not that difficult to be kind to each other! If you think you’re too busy or too important to show some basic human kindness to your colleagues, especially those in the early career, then I don’t know what to say. Kindness matters! #collegiality #care #support [I’ve not had a chance to eat my lunch today, I wonder if I can get a toilet break before the next student …. I need to care for myself!] @ECRfellow Thanks for speaking up! I always appreciate when profs make the effort, it’s the little things that count, buy us lunch! Kindness is a feminist act! [I haven’t bought anyone lunch today, maybe I only score one star for caring … another metric to fail at!] Finally back at her desk, time to write all those references before she can turn to her research tasks. Ping! Ping! Ping! She was sure she’d turned off the automatic email notifications, yet they reappear, a demanding box pops up in the corner of her screen, she cannot not click on the email, subject: FEMINIST KINDNESS [She’s still not had time to eat her sandwich…]. Dear feminist friends, Please forgive the mass email, it is sent in the spirit of collective action and solidarity! I’m writing to you with an invitation: to join me in prioritising kindness in our professional practice. Many have documented a lack of care and compassion towards our colleagues at the earliest stages of their careers, and how acting in kind, careful ways as we go about our daily work can be a powerful challenge to the ruthlessly competitive and individualistic care-less culture of the academy. The majority of us on secure contracts benefit from the work, and solidarity, of our EC colleagues. We also know that collectively, already-marginalised people shoulder a disproportionate amount of diversity work and complaint. We need to all do better at caring for each other, including by speaking up against injustice in our workplaces. So, I have started this email thread with the intention that it can be a place for us to share both interpersonal and more structurally orientated acts of kindness. My hope is that this will serve two purposes, inspiring us all to be kinder in our professional lives, and acting as a forum of recognition and celebration for the caring, emotionally invested labour that is devalued in our institutions.

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I’ll go first: Yesterday I baked some cookies and bought them in to the PhD students’ open plan office, with a note attached offering one-on-one CV and job application feedback sessions. I also took the opportunity to open up about my own struggles over the years, which I think can make a real difference. On a more structural level, last week I emailed John, our Vice Dean who is facilitating a review of our faculty promotions processes. I drew his attention to the vast literature on how collegiality and practices of support, collaboration, and care are not recognised in promotions, and how this results in gender-based discrimination against women. So please, don’t be shy! Reply to all and let us be inspired. All best, A Caring Professor

Hmmm, another email, subject: Recognising and Rewarding Collegiality Dear colleagues, As you may or may not be aware, our promotions processes have recently undergone a re-fresh and equalities audit, and we have embraced opportunities to make the promotions procedure more transparent and equitable. One outcome of the review, that I am very pleased to announce today, is that we are developing new promotions criteria specifically to recognise and reward collegiality, citizenship, and service. We know that this work isn’t always the most visible, and that the nature of promotions can unintentionally encourage self-interested individual competition rather than collaboration. We want to reward the collegial work that many of you are already doing, as well as encourage more collegiate behavior. We want everyone to think about how you can generously support your colleagues as well as students. Full details of the new criteria will be released soon, but rest assured you will soon be recognised for all those careers you’ve supported, whether via collaborative bids for funding, co-authoring publications, nominating colleagues and students for prizes, helping junior colleagues secure their first keynote invitation, or involving PhD students in your teaching. We are field-leaders in this area, so please don’t hesitate to share, and sing our praises on social media, about this new—innovative—initiative in recognising collegiality. Sincerely, John (Senior Vice Dean)

She forces herself to turn away from email, she really must write those references … Ping! Subject: RE: Recognising and Rewarding Collegiality

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Dear all, Just quickly off the back of Dean John’s email, I wanted to take the chance to give another John some recognition, John Johnson, just back from parental leave (see attached photo of John delivering a keynote address last week with his tiny baby in a papoose! So cute!). John’s latest book came out during his leave—see ladies perhaps it really is possible to ‘have it all’! But the main reason I’m writing is to recognise John’s collegiality and efforts in supporting junior colleagues. Recently John selflessly gave his PhD student, Dave Davidson, a number of fantastic opportunities, including teaching John’s undergraduate model for the whole semester, and the privilege of co-authoring a journal article. I’m sure both these generous acts of collegiality will boost Dave’s career prospects in no inconsiderable measure. All best, Head of School The Feminist Professor can’t take much more of the kindness and officially recognised collegiality crowding out her inbox, and can’t help but feel the heavy repetition of who, and what, continues to go unrecognised as others are celebrated… She has to get away on time to get to her gran’s place…. Her (kind) colleagues ask her why it’s always her who has to go and see her gran, isn’t there someone else? Someone else to do the work of care? She grabs the latest letters from the social worker as she heads out the door, she knows she is behind with the care-full list of Things To Do: I have been asked to provide an independent report for the above application for Welfare Guardianship regarding your grandmother. It would be helpful if you could e-mail me your current views on this situation and any other information that would support this application. I note that you are a doctor. Is this a medical qualification? It would be helpful to clarify this.

Feminist cares risk being idealised, incorporated, misrecognised and simply felt as more work, as calls to prioritise ‘kindness’ and institutional initiatives to recognise collegiality can elide the question of who will do the work, and neglect to challenge the unevenness with which care is even recognised as care, let alone as work. Celebratory calls can envision an empowered feminist professor caring for everyone, easily able to buffer, bounce-back, bake, in this she is rendered as the collective, while also individualised, as free-floating, without a family, or a gran, and able to be drawn upon as the resource, always a giver of care. Our feminist professor may not always want to care, or may seek to complicate care, allowing for her to take a toilet break, buy her own lunch, stick to her job description, and go and see her gran. When care encompasses the demand of senior

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scholars’ mentorship, as a test of feminist credentials, it risks a heteronormative repetition of tired ‘mums’ and greedy ‘babies’, both of whom go unrecognised, underpaid and prop-up the institution as is (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). We also already know that women of colour are far more likely to be perceived as un-caring, un-friendly, un-kind and ‘angry’ compared to white women academics (Mahn, 2019) and that feminist cares are fractured by race and class, ‘… the relational practices of our academic work’ even those that seem to offer up feminist hopes for re-valuing care, ‘remain ambivalent, complex, and certainly racialised and classed’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 210)’. Appealing to kindness and care, without attending to how these practices go devalued and exploited, means that the repetitive work of ‘plugging the institutional care gaps’ (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 195) falls on the same shoulders, while perversely reproducing the care-less institution. Embracing care, collegiality and collectivity can sometimes awkwardly re-­ inscribe and repeat the dynamics that feminists otherwise struggle against. For example, caring is not necessarily recognised (as care, as work) when performed by particular gendered, classed, and raced subject positions, yet it is over-celebrated and rewarded when performed by others. Care-as-­ feminist-praxis can reinforce normative assumptions about women as innately nurturing, feeding into disproportionate responsibility for doing gender equality work, with women and feminists ‘sacrificing [their own] career gains’ to support others (Pearce, 2017, p. 15), and being effectively punished for not providing all the care all of the time. Care sits at the centre of feminist ambivalences across the career course, as it is positioned both as a hindrance to ascending the career ladder, and as a feminist strategy for negotiating and resisting the care-less career. Feminist practices of collegiality and relationality can be coopted by the institution, leaving the feminist and her cares behind. In the following sections we further this argument by looking to the (mis)recognition of queer feminist cares.

Care-Full Misrecognitions The heteronormativity of care work, and emotional labour, in academia is well established. Academic women are often expected to function as ‘academic mothers’ (El-Alayli, Hansen-Brown, & Ceynar, 2018), and there is long-standing evidence that students not only expect women academics to be ‘nicer’ than their male counterparts but ‘judge them more harshly when they are not’ (Bellas, 1999, p. 99). For instance, student evaluations criticise women professors for not smiling ‘enough’ (Statham, Richardson,

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& Cook, 1991). While these dynamics were identified decades ago, contemporary evidence shows how little as changed as the gendered bias in student teaching evaluations continues (MacNell, Driscoll, & Hunt, 2015; Mitchell & Martin, 2018). The gender performativity involved in being positioned, and/or positioning oneself as ‘the good [academic] housekeeper’ is clear (Burford et  al., 2020). As with identifications of ‘supportive mother’, ‘sexy girlfriend’, and ‘sunny daughter’ positions (Jackson, 2017), the heteronormativity of academic care work, whereby academic women are located in hetero-familial relation to men with associated expectations of care (Burford et  al., 2020) indicates that these are also sexual subjectivities. Hetero-familial relations are repeated across those positionings seen as disruptive or unruly: ‘ungrateful daughters’ (Res-sisters, 2016), ‘unhappy housewives’ (Ahmed, 2010), and as Burford et  al. (2020) point out, Jackson’s (2017) ‘ungirly woman’ position is—while not located in direct relation to men—nevertheless situated in terms of a failure of hetero-­ femininity, a ‘failure’ which we know resonates in academic lives and careers (Taylor, 2013). Here we think about how queer feminist cares stretch beyond and interrupt the repetition of heteronormative (re)productive family forms in academic care work, just as they are glossed over and ignored. Collegial advice: It’s so great that you published so early, now you’ve got your book out you can concentrate on settling down and having a family while you’re still relatively young! [Thinks: I already have a family, just not a husband or children, which I suspect is what this guy means, and which I never plan on having, and why is my senior colleague telling me I could/should ‘have a family’?!] In a workload allocation meeting: You know that Miranda is on parental leave, we really need someone flexible who can take on her teaching, it’s only two undergraduate modules: you’re so competent I’m sure you can manage, you’ve always been so dedicated to your students, married to the job as it were… I understand it might delay this grant submission but we all have to make sacrifices for the good of the collective [Thinks: yeah yeah yeah, I know the score, I’m not breeding so of course I don’t get to have a life outside the university, what about my gran? And since when was it official ‘care’ policy to over-burden those women who remain when everyone else is on leave?]

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In the open plan office: So many congratulatory greetings cards are passed around the queer feminist looses track, another marriage—congratulations!—another contribution to the inevitable gift. The same jokes and unsolicited advice is circulated along with the cards: You’ll be next ha ha ha! Careful pregnancy is contagious ha ha ha! Maybe she’s waiting until after promotion—don’t wait too long, take it from me! Passing the card on to the colleague at the next desk they exchange a smile, is it a smile of recognition? A slight irony or eye-­ roll even? The queer feminist is out at work (her research interests out her, her social media outs her, sometimes—she thinks—her appearance outs her), but so often when small talk turns to marriage, children, she stays quiet, asking politely after colleague’s family, remembering their partners’ names even, but noticeably not asked about her own. At the conference: She was making polite conversation among peers, or ‘networking’, and was asked about her research. She forgot momentarily that this was a ‘mainstream’ conference space and so talked about the ‘queer suicides’ encountered in her work, feeling recently compelled to think through the ways that, in celebrating new queer presences, others are rendered absent, already lost to public care and concern. She was so pleased that she hadn’t scared away her new acquaintance. Yet as they talked the profound misunderstanding became obvious, her new conference friend thought that she was studying career suicide and she was forced to repeat, raise her voice, then almost shout QUEER, to come-out (again) amongst the background noise. Polite exits were made.

The queer feminist is misrecognised, assumed to share heteronormative cares, just as her queer cares are brushed under the carpet so she can be called upon to support and enable more normative caring responsibilities. Queer frameworks have highlighted how logics and loyalties of care need to be troubled: care in the academy is repronormative, sustaining sacrifices, via a hetero-domesticity (Halberstam, 2005; Skeggs, 1997; Taylor, 2009), just as ‘career sacrifices’ might be expected (from some) in the service of reproductive futurity. The language of care as one of ‘love’ and ‘kindness’ effaces the complications and coercions of care both institutionally and interpersonally. When care is visible institutionally it can be conditional on hetero-, repro- normativity, just as it is positioned as a collective good, from which ‘we’ all benefit, erasing the uneven effects of care-full academic work. The reluctant queer feminist drags her feet, she is not doing her bit. If she doesn’t sign the card, if she refuses to cover parental leave, is she care-less? As Ahmed (2010) writes on happiness, recognising care in the university comes with ‘rather straight conditions’:

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Unhappiness is pushed to the margins, which means certain bodies are pushed to the margins, in order that the unhappiness that is assumed to reside within these bodies does not threaten the happiness that has been given. […] Happiness tends to come with rather straight conditions. (pp. 96–100)

In highlighting other straight conditions, feminists have stressed the connection between hetero-familial caring responsibilities and the reproduction of academic feminism according to a familial mode of inherited property, passed on generationally (Adkins, 2004) perhaps from ‘supportive (feminist) mothers’ to ‘sunny (feminist) daughters’. In working to stretch and disrupt the gendered and sexualised contours of care, we question what caring possibilities are there for queer feminists in refusing to be ‘good mothers’ or ‘dutiful daughters’ while holding on to care-full collectivity, including across the career course, as feminist practice? How can feminists work to stretch and complicate cares across the career course and can this include moments of not caring (too much)?

Failing Care Queerly Here we ask if queer feminist academics might do and distribute caring and collectivity, across the career course, in ways that resist recapture by the university as well as by normative gender regimes. These are enduring questions, pauses and even failures, without easy answers: neither caring less nor caring more offer complete solutions for untangling feminist care knots. In caring more we risk recapture of feminist cares as devalued and exploited feminised labours, becoming ‘academic mothers’, (El-Alayli et  al., 2018) the ‘plugs’ for institutional gaps (Gannon et al., 2015, p. 195). In caring less we risk becoming the ambitious, careerist, selfish feminist, relying on but never mentioning the care of others. If the feminist refuses care, where does the labour go? If we do not care about such risks, we might embrace failure and sit uncomfortably with incomplete, ambivalent cares. Our questions mirror how Weeks (2011) describes two feminist approaches to ‘the problem with work’, one of which demands women’s entrance to, and equality within, masculine and male dominated professions while the other demands that devalued and unpaid feminised labour be recognsied as work, for example the wages against housework movement (Federici, 1975) and the sex-worker led Give Your Money to Women (Chief Elk-Young Bear, Lourdes, & Smith, 2015). According to Weeks (2011) neither typified feminist strategy goes far enough in refusing work itself. When it comes to care, feminist academics can repeat this bifurcated

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dynamic, arguing that women academics can be just as ‘care-less’ or ‘carefree’ and/or that care, collegiality and so on should be recognised and rewarded as work. It might be that we need and interrupt both these claims at the same time, also situated within a collective, policistised sense of failing in our queer cares, just as institutions fail us. Attempt 1: Attempting to care for herself, for colleagues and refusing to cover for the failures of the care-less institution [BUT … Institutional failure becomes individual failure, #wearetheuniversity]. She’s redrafted the institutional Atmosphere narrative many times [it’s her labour, she’s Director of Care after all]. It’s important to balance individuals’ profiles with a collective story, to move us in the right direction, foreground, showcase— ensure representation, care for ECRs, care for the material resources solidified in positive reviews [her colleagues grumble as she asks for input… it’s not their job, ‘she’s the Director of Care’]. She this role isn’t accounted for in her workload either, maybe she should step back, ‘just say no’ like the often iterated advice… A male professor enters the room—uninvited—steps in and ‘steps up’, he offers to become Director of Care but re-titles the role, let’s call it Careless Director, now it is recognised, rewarded. The Careless Director is rising in management, quickly promoted he is a busy man. He emails the previous Director of Care, and asks her what’s missing form the Atmosphere narrative. She replies carefully. He thanks her, asks her to redraft, because she ‘knows a lot’. She refuses, says no. She’s collegial, uncaring, uncooperative. He is praised in all-staff emails for rescuing the narrative, taking on the work [the work she’d already done]. Attempt 2: Attending a ‘How to Deal With Angry People’ Workshop [Well, that speak volumes doesn’t it? Where’s the workshop for angry people learning how to be less angry?]. She’s sceptical but she’s also running out of strategies and silences—she’s tried to humour, appease and ignoring the well-known ‘angry person’ [Bully] in her workplace. She’s attempted mediation [No thanks, says Bully]. So, she’s doing what the University Dignity at Work guidelines suggest [The guidelines atriculate a lack of care in the repetitive suggestion of more training, just go on a course…]. The instructor instructs attendees to put their heads down on their desks and think of something really sad, the all-women attendees comply and are rendered duly sad. They are then told to lift their heads, look around and SMILE! Collective grievances against the institution, the bad feelings, the imagined Angry Person all dealt with, with a smile [Smile love, it might never happen]. She cannot, will not, change her face—she mobilises the attendees, they write in complaint, the course was entirely careless, inappropriate, teaching us how to do more emotional labour, express appropriate positive emotional states with our faces… [who is the angry person now?]

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Attempt 3: Employ a queer feminist! A prestigious scholarship is advertised in her department and she can see there is at least one outstanding queer feminist candidate [Future leader potential, use the language of Research Council funding, project a future of becoming, task her up and imagine her 5, 10, 15 year plans…] She is part of the shortlisting committee and has selected the most outstanding, of outstanding feminist candidates, as her 1st choice [She is objectively the best candidate]. A group meeting of ‘Seniors’ is called: no-one else has chosen the outstanding-of-all-outstandings. The candidate has been framed as too niche [Feminist, queer, ‘gender stuff’, you already do that, Feminist Professor, we don’t need any more queer feminists]. Weeks of challenge go by, she’s armed with her highlighter and scores across the candidate’s achievements, rendering these in luminous colours so that her colleagues might finally see these. [The candidate is appointed, becoming part of an excessive group of feminists (n = 2)].

Queer feminist cares can aim to ‘articulate an alternative vision of life, love and labour’ (Halberstam, 2005, p.  6), away from ‘happy’ hetero-­ reproductive futurity and associated interrelating institutions of the family, heterosexuality, and the workplace. In interrupting linear progressions and future-investments of becoming academic, room might be made for the transient, the fleeting, the contingent, and for ‘strange’ temporalities, in the face of pressure to speed up (get over the anger, smile and move on, move up!) (Adkins, 2009; Halberstam, 2005). Such alternative temporalities conjure different futures, where chance, or untimeliness are key elements in any political effort to ‘bring into existence futures that dislocate themselves from the dominant tendencies and forces of the present’ (Grosz, 2004, p. 14). In failing care queerly, it might be that queer subjects could or should embrace non-productivity and resist narratives of futurity explicitly bound to heterosexuality, reproduction and capitalist accumulation (Edelman, 2004; Halberstam, 2005). Queer cares could also involve the gift of attention over time as a distinct value (Skeggs & Loveday, 2012), but it might be difficult to re-imagine ‘gift’, or ‘supportive-­ connectivities’ outside of the mentoring-mentee structures and relationships that we have interrupted. And as Renold (2008) argues, the emancipatory potential of queer possibilities are at risk of being overstated with ‘queer subversions’ perhaps only sustainable from places of power.

Conclusion This chapter has explored some of the feminist repetitions and interruptions of caring careering, and caring across the career course: to ‘care’ invokes (in)capacities, which bring forward—or fail—certain versions of

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being, including being a feminist in or for the university workplace. Care is mediated by gendered normativities (who should care, who demands care, who sees themselves as entitled to care, whose cares are and are not recognised and rewarded), practical materialities (resourcing ‘care’ and the costs of ‘carelessness’) and the emotional and embodied affects of care (circulating around specific bodies in need of—or beyond—care). ‘Careering’ is invoked here, speaking to the out of control, frantic and frenetic efforts in navigating careers and cares. Caring in the care-less university may be mobilised as a feminist strategy, negotiating the career course via care, as a way to re-orientate, and re-think the relationship between public care work and ‘private’ cares. Feminist research has long problematised the binary between ‘private’ and ‘public’ cares, asking questions about the recognition—and remuneration—of gendered care across and in-between these sites. Feminists have convincingly argued for expanded definitions of work, to include the revaluing of traditionally feminised and unwaged labour. Yet, feminist scholarship—and feminist careers—can themselves be invested in normative versions of care, seeking to bring forward certain cares as the proper place of investment, as a site even of feminist futures (Adkins, 2004). We witness the entanglement of emotion and care in the seductive pleasures and joys of performing well, succeeding, exceeding expectations even, becoming an exceptional (exceptionally productive) academic subject, in putting the embodied, affective self to work in an academic context that simultaneously devalues passionate investments and incorporates them (you have to love what you do, academia as a vocation, a labour of love). We also witness the disavowal and distancing from feminised labour, caring work, and the challenge and celebration of women’s rational-intellectual capacities, as caring leaders, for example, but less may be known about how to refuse the terms of recognition and participation. The language of care is often one of ‘love’, ‘happiness’ and ‘inclusion’, effacing the complications and coercion of care institutionally and interpersonally (Ahmed, 2010). Cooper (2007) explores some problems with ‘feminist cares’, as reliant on the reiteration of asymmetry and need; her critique poses various questions not only about what practical or affective activities constitute care but also how cares collide and orientate us as subjects and citizens (Ahmed, 2010)—and also as researchers, with our own stories, and cares, to tell. Writing this chapter, thinking with the repetitions and interruptions of feminist cares across the career course, has

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not led us to any easy answers, and we cannot simply recommend caring less, caring more, or even caring differently as feminists find themselves caught between rocks and hard places in the care-less university, that depends on feminised labour, and feminist cares, just as these are repudiated and disavowed. While the argument that care, and caring across career categories, can be mobilised as a feminist strategy, the same cares present ‘barriers’ to career progression, and can be recaptured to do the work of institutional reform. Feminist strategies of re-valuing and recognising care-full academic work encounter the risk of achieving recognition only via appeal to normative gender regimes. This doubling, and folding over of feminist cares is repetitive and familiar, to feminists who in working to transform the non-feminist university encounter the paradox of sustaining the very institutions we hope to transform. With these tensions firmly in mind, ‘care’ has been stretched and extended in troubling what kinds of care and careless-ness circulate in higher education. Feminist ‘care(er)ring’ might take us places but it might also lead us away from leadership, as we explore in the following chapter.

References Acker, S., & Wagner, A. (2019). Feminist scholars working around the neoliberal university. Gender and Education, 31(1), 62–81. Adkins, L. (2004). Passing on feminism: From consciousness to reflexivity? European Journal of Women’s Studies, 11(4), 427–444. Adkins, L. (2009). Out of work or out of time? Rethinking labor after the financial crisis. South Atlantic Quarterly, 111, 621–641. Ahmed, S. (2009). Embodying diversity: Problems and paradoxes for Black feminists. Race Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), 41–52. Ahmed, S. (2010). The promise of happiness. Duke University Press. Angervall, P. (2016). The academic career: A study of subjectivity, gender and movement among women university lecturers. Gender and Education, 30(1), 105–118. Bagilhole, B., & White, K. (2013). Generation and gender in academia. Palgrave Macmillan. Bellas, M. (1999). Emotional labor in academia: The case of professors. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 561, 96–110. Brady, J. (1971, December 20–27). I want a wife. New York: Magazine. Breeze, M., & Taylor, Y. (2018). Feminist collaborations in higher education: Stretched across career stages. Gender and Education, 32(3), 412–428.

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Burford, J., Bosanquet, A., & Smith, J. (2020). ‘Homeliness meant having the fucking vacuum cleaner out’: The gendered labour of maintaining conference communities. Gender and Education, 32(1), 86–100. Burton, S., & Turbine, V. (2018, March 31). Solidarity in the neoliberal university? Acts of kindness and the ethics of care during the UCU pensions dispute. Discover Society. Retrieved from https://discoversociety.org/2018/03/31/ solidarity-in-the-neoliberal-university-acts-of-kindness-and-the-ethics-of-careduring-the-ucu-pensions-dispute/ Burton, S., & Turbine, V. (2019, July 3). ‘We’re not asking for the moon on a stick’: Kindness and generosity in the academy. Discover Society. Retrieved from https://discoversociety.org/2019/07/03/were-not-asking-for-the-moonon-a-stick-kindness-and-generosity-in-the-academy/ Cardozo, K.  M. (2017). Academic labour: Who cares? Critical Sociology, 43(3), 405–428. Chief Elk-Young Bear, L., Lourdes, Y., & Smith, B. (2015). Give your money to women: The end game of capitalism. Model View Culture. Retrieved from https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/giveyourmoneytowomen-theend-game-of-capitalism Clark, C. A., & Knights, D. (2015). Careering through academia: Securing identities or engaging ethical subjectivities? Human Relations, 68(12), 1865–1888. Coin, F. (2018). When love becomes self-abuse: Gendered perspectives on unpaid labour in academia. In Y. Taylor & K. Lahad (Eds.), Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist fights, flights and failures (pp. 301–320). Palgrave Macmillan. Cooper, D. (2007). ‘Well, you go there to get off’: Visiting feminist care ethics through a women’s bathhouse. Feminist Theory, 8(3), 243–262. Davies, B., Browne, J., Gannon, S., Honan, E., & Somerville, M. (2005). Embodied women at work in neoliberal times and places. Gender, Work and Organisation, 12(4), 343–362. Edelman, L. (2004). No future: Queer theory and the death drive. Duke University Press. El-Alayli, A., Hansen-Brown, A. A., & Ceynar, M. (2018). Dancing backwards in high heels: Female professors experience more work demands and special favour requests, particularly from academically entitled students. Sex Roles, 79, 136–150. Federici, S. (1975). Wages against housework. Falling Wall Press. Fotaki, M. (2013). No woman is like a man (in academia): The masculine symbolic order and the unwanted female body. Organization Studies, 34(9), 1251–1275. Gannon, S., Kligyte, G., McLean, J., Perrier, M., Swan, E., Vanni, I., et al. (2015). Uneven relationalities, collective biography and sisterly affect in neoliberal universities. Feminist Formations, 27(3), 189–216.

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Gill, R., & Donaghue, N. (2016). Resilience, apps and reluctant individualism: Technologies of self in the neoliberal academy. Women’s Studies International Forum, 54, 91–99. Grosz, E. (2004). The nick of time. Duke University Press. Grove, J. (2019, October 31). Glasgow to rate ‘collegiality’ professorial promotions. Times Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/glasgow-rate-collegiality-professorial-promotions Halberstam, J. (2005). In a queer time and place. New York: University Press. Heijstra, T. M., Steinthorsdóttir, F. S., & Einarsdóttir, T. (2017). Academic career making and the double-edged role of academic housework. Gender and Education, 29(6), 764–780. Henderson, E., & Moreau, M. (2020). Carefree conferences? Academics with caring responsibilities performing mobile academic subjectivities. Gender and Education, 32(1), 70–85. Hey, V. (2004). Perverse pleasures: Identity work and the paradoxes of greedy institutions. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5(3), 33–43. Jackson, L. (2017). The smiling philosopher. Emotional labour, gender, and harassment in conference spaces. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 51(7), 693–701. Lynch, K. (2010). Carelessness: A hidden doxa of higher education. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 9(1), 54–67. MacNell, L., Driscoll, A., & Hunt, A.  N. (2015). What’s in a name: Exposing gender bias in student ratings of teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 40, 291–303. Mahn, C. (2019). Black Scottish writing and the fiction of diversity. In M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, & C. Costa (Eds.), Time and space in the neoliberal university: Futures and fractures in higher education (pp. 119–141). Palgrave Macmillan. Mitchell, K., & Martin, J. (2018). Gender bias in student evaluations. PS: Political Science & Politics, 51(3), 648–652. Pearce, R. (2017). Certifying equality? Critical reflections on Athena SWAN and equality accreditation. Centre for the Study of Women and Gender. Renold, E. (2008). Queering masculinity: Re-theorising contemporary tomboyism in the schizoid space of innocent/heterosexualized young femininities. Girlhood Studies, 1(2), 129–151. Rudberg, M. (1996). The researching body: The epistemophilic project. The European Journal of Women’s Studies, 3, 285–305. Skeggs, B. (1997). Formations of class and gender. Sage. Skeggs, B., & Loveday, V. (2012). Struggles for value: Value practices, injustice, judgment, affect and the idea of class. British Journal of Sociology, 63(3), 472–490. Statham, A., Richardson, L., & Cook, J. A. (1991). Gender and university teaching: A negotiated difference. State University of New York Press.

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Taylor, Y. (2009). Lesbian and gay parenting: Securing social and educational capital. Palgrave Macmillan. Taylor, Y. (2013). Queer encounters of sexuality and class: Navigating emotional landscapes of academia. Emotion, Space and Society, 8, 51–58. The Res-Sisters. (2016). ‘I’m an early career feminist academic: Get me out of here?’ Encountering and resisting the neoliberal academy. In R.  Thwaites & A. Pressland (Eds.), Being an early career feminist academic: Global perspectives, experiences and challenges (pp. 267–284). Palgrave Macmillan. Wånggren, L. (2018). Feminist trade unionism and post-work imaginaries. Journal of Applied Social Theory, 1(2), 102–124. Weeks, K. (2011). The problem with work: Feminism, marxism, antiwork politics, and postwork imaginaries. Duke University Press. Wilson, E. (1977). Women and the welfare state. Tavistock.

CHAPTER 4

Futures and Failures in Feminist Leadership

Abstract  This chapter is about feminist approaches to academic leadership, as occupying senior positions can be understood as a strategy for institutional transformation. We attend to repetitions in how feminists inhabit and conceptualize leadership. Firstly exploring how both feminism and leadership are positioned in terms of a deferral by which the (potential) feminist leader is encouraged to wait. The future feminist leader is readily denigrated in terms of excess, with feminism as something to be saved-for-later in the career course. Secondly, we consider how leadership is practiced in mentoring as well as formalized in ‘women’s leadership development’ programmes. The former depends upon vital yet devalued feminist labour and can involve sharing feminist strategies for both playing the game and changing the rules; the latter can repeat a deficit model offering women the leadership skills they supposedly lack. Thirdly we look to how feminist leadership is made institutionally recognisable in equality initiatives such as Athena SWAN, asking how feminist leadership is made to count. Throughout we are concerned with the contradictory expectations placed on the feminist leader; as fixer and problem solver responsible for remediating the un-feminist institution? Should the feminist leader embrace the ‘failure’ and contradiction inherent in the role, as subversive and radical potential, or will this simply leave her out of a job and illthought of, failing her feminist colleagues?

© The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_4

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Keywords  Feminist leadership • Mentoring • Academic careers • Leadership development • Athena SWAN • Failure

Introduction Academic leadership has long been subject to feminist attention, and occupying senior positions can be understood as a strategy for institutional transformation. While increasing numbers of women in leadership can be mobilised, even celebrated, as evidence of ‘gender equality’, there is a crucial distinction between women in leadership positions, and feminist leadership. Celebrating women in leadership can position ‘overcoming gender equalities’ as a remarkable achievement, of successful middle-class white women, demonstrating ‘resilience’ in the face of adversity and individualising the problem (Redmond, Gutke, Galligan, Howard, & Newman, 2017). We are cautious therefore about equating feminists’ achievement of seniority with feminist transformation of the institution, wary of ‘incorporation into masculinist managerial practices’ (Morley, 2013, p.  116). Like Morley (2011), we start from the position that ‘higher education is gendered in terms of its values, norms, processes and employment regimes’ which persists even as feminists take up space in higher education (p. 223). Women in leadership positions can be limited to achieving seniority within existing hierarchies, whereas feminist leadership can involve leveraging seniority in pursuit of feminist goals, including interrupting such hierarchies. In this context we attend to repetitions in how feminists inhabit and conceptualise leadership. Firstly exploring how both feminism and leadership are positioned in terms of a deferral by which the (future, potential) feminist leader is encouraged to wait (not now, not yet, don’t rock the boat, wait for promotion). The future feminist leader is readily denigrated in terms of excess (too feminist, too ambitious, working too hard, ascending too fast), with feminism as something to be saved-for-later in the career course. Secondly, we consider how leadership is conceptualised and practiced in feminist mentoring as well as formalised ‘women’s leadership development’ programmes. The former depends upon vital yet devalued feminist labour and can involve sharing feminist strategies for both playing the game and changing the rules; the latter (in some ways an

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institutionalised iteration of mentorship) can repeat a deficit model offering women the leadership skills they supposedly lack. Thirdly we look to how feminist leadership is certified and made institutionally recognisable in equality initiatives such as Athena SWAN, asking how feminist leadership is measured and made to count, sitting awkwardly within, and stretching to interrupt, dominant definitions and discourses of academic leadership. Throughout we are concerned with the contradictory expectations placed on the feminist leader once she has arrived: how do we expect her to carry herself and others; as mentor, buffer, collaborator, feminist fixer and problem solver responsible for remediating the un-feminist institution? Repeatedly positioning feminism as a challenge to interlocking structures of domination in universities involves an awkward embracing of feminist leadership failures (Taylor & Lahad, 2018). The feminist leader walks the insider-outsider tightrope, vulnerable to failing feminism as an incorporated sell-out and to failing leadership when feminist commitments interrupt ‘incorporation into masculinist managerial practices’. Should the feminist leader embrace the ‘failure’ and contradiction inherent in the role, as subversive and radical potential, or will this simply leave her out of a job and ill-thought of, failing her feminist colleagues? Failure has been reframed and reclaimed queerly ‘as a way of refusing to acquiesce to dominant logics of power and discipline and as a form of critique’ (Halberstam, 2011, p. 88). Reclaiming failure as subversive is easy to situate within a critique of neoliberal institutions, and dominant modes of academic leadership, leading us the wrong way. But it is trickier to locate or attach queer, generative failure to a ‘failed feminism’, or even to a ‘failed feminist’. To subject feminism—and the feminist—to more criticisms and failures is fraught, as well as necessary, where it is important to return to the institutional failures that sit alongside celebrations and condemnations of women in leadership. @RoleModel Women should know their worth and go for full professorships! Stand up for yourself, advocate, actually ASK for that pay-rise, ASK for that promotion. I’m setting a personal goal to get #fullbyforty as a feminist act! @NewProfessor I just got confirmation, thrilled to announce that I’m a professor! Updating my email signature RIGHT NOW.  So proud to be #fullbyforty #womenprofs #womeninSTEM

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@StillHangingOn Reject this #fullbyforty nonsense that is doing the rounds, what an unrealistic goal! #57yearoldteachingassociate @AngryFeminist Can we *please* just pause on #fullbyforty—surely it is possible to celebrate achievements AND deconstruct competitive individualism and the structural discrimination of academic promotions?! #cheesedoff @WiseWomanProf When I see how hungry some of my junior colleagues are for promotion my immediate response is to tell them to slow down, it’s a marathon not a sprint! Don’t rush promotion, enjoy the journey! Burnout is real and we need feminist academics who can go the distance. #NOTfullbyforty

Conversations about feminist leadership speak of ‘coming forward’, echoing self-help approaches such as The Coach’s Guide for Women Professors: Who Want a Successful Career and a Well-Balanced Life (Seltzer, 2015). Such advice can be received as an endless list of things-to-do, and conveys a gloss of gender equality, projecting women leaders as proxy for institutional change, responsible for evidencing the ‘happy diversity’ of the institution (Ahmed, 2010). Stainback, Kleiner, and Skaggs (2016) argue that women leaders can work as gender equity ‘change agents’, where organisational power may help to undo rather than gloss over inequality. Others have argued that ‘women are socialised not to desire/imagine themselves—or other women—as academic leaders’ (Munar et al., 2015, p. 16). Such notions can be quickly and disingenuously reduced to individual problems of self-esteem or confidence, rather than recognised as socially produced (Breeze, 2018). Given the gender regimes of HE, women may realistically decide ‘not to aspire to an object that statistically they are unlikely to acquire’ (Morley, 2014, p. 119). At the same time, feminist leadership practices and potential are rendered as excessive, too much feminism or the feminist herself ascending the career ladder too fast (while perhaps not fast enough for her feminist colleagues and mentees, who may wonder if she will fail to carry them, or if she may ask them to bear their own feminist weight). While senior positions (professor, dean, department head, centre ­director, and so on) can often be considered as a successful career ‘end point’, we attend to how feminist leadership resonates across the whole career course, including in cross-career mentoring (Breeze & Taylor, 2018a). In considering feminist leadership as stretching across the career course we can see more clearly the fractures in leadership ‘success’ and ‘failure’, in contrast to official renderings of leadership in terms of rising

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stars to follow, identifying ‘future leaders’ in the earliest career stages (UKRI, 2019). The meritocratic ideology inscribed in the career course positions ‘early career’ as a temporary status, from which the successful academic will soon move on. This obscures more permanent forms of precarity and eclipses enduring forms of marginalisation according to for instance, class, race, and gender across the career course. Social inequalities structure who embarks on a PhD and pursues academic employment in the first place (Williams, Bath, Arday, & Lewis, 2019). In this context, to be an early career feminist, has been identified as a precarious positioning (Thwaites & Pressland, 2016). However, ‘uncertainty is not simply experienced by casual academics and PhD students whose futures remain in a state of flux, but by [feminist] academics who have reached the sought-­ after, permanent university position’ (Gannon, Powell, & Power, 2018, p. 265). This underscores the importance of attending to the career course as a whole, and questioning the potential of future leadership and career progression inscribed upon the early career for some, while others carry more enduring precarity. In this context, feminist mentoring has a heightened significance, regularly identified as a form of feminist practice. Acker and Wagner (2019) found that feminist research leaders were ‘determin[ed] to support and mentor junior colleagues’, seeing mentorship as an ‘integral’ feminist commitment, although support is often structurally limited by forces beyond feminist leaders’ control, including the prevalence of short-term, insecure employment contracts (p. 11). We may think of mentoring as a set-up at once both promising and circumscribing feminist possibilities, since it responsibilises the feminist leader, who can never do enough in the non-feminist university, failing feminist mentees and feminist futures. Mentoring relationships are formally required in many early career funding schemes applicants must identify a mentor at the host institution, and recommended in formal leadership development programmes for women. Feminist mentoring can involve sharing strategies for doing feminist work in the non-feminist university; however this ‘passing on’ (Adkins, 2004) may be stretched and interrupted, in the compromised possibilities for ‘achieving feminism’ in the academy (Skeggs, 2008). We see another stretch in branded ‘leadership development’ programmes, that continue to trade on the notion that women lack leadership skills, and advance a business model based on remedying this supposed deficit. Feminists encounter familiar problems of achieving recognition for feminist leadership, and of making feminist leadership count within the

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recognition structures of the non-feminist university. Equality initiatives and audits, including Athena SWAN in the UK, offer examples of such contradictions, afforded resources and prestige yet often awkwardly perpetuating rather than resolving inequalities (Teelken & Deem, 2013). Initiatives often seek to include, celebrate and sustain diverse groups of staff while responsibilising disadvantaged groups to be role models and leaders, and action their own ‘coming forward’ in institutional space; individualising both the problem and solution and working primarily to the benefit of white middle class women (Bhopal & Henderson, 2019). Here we think alongside existing engagements with institutionally branded gender equality certification schemes (Tsouroufli, 2019; Tzanakou & Pearce, 2019) to consider the implications of making (and failing to make) feminist leadership recognisable within the dominant terms of academic leadership. While prevailing discourses and policies on ‘women’s leadership’ continue to centre on both deficit models and the meritocratic upwards ascendancy of the career course, feminist leadership offers an interruption, reimagining leadership not solely as individual ascendancy but maybe even as rebellion in the ranks. That said, feminist leadership also necessitates a pausing on what feminist expectations are and how these materialise across the career course, rather than as arising from and attached (only) to the feminist leader, who is judged as succeeding, surpassing or spoiling our collective feminist (career) objectives. Feminists encounter the perennial tension in negotiating imperatives to become recognisable (and rewardable) as an exemplary leader and simultaneously working to shift the terms of that recognition and redefine ‘leadership’ itself, working to transform the institution rather than only to achieve status within it. In these efforts, however, we recognise the likely failure in being ‘set up’ and the inevitability of some element of failure in even relatively successful attempts to combine feminism with academic leadership; the feminist leader encounters her failure in being too feminist to lead and/or too invested in normative forms of leadership. In this chapter we interrupt the positive gloss over ‘women in leadership’ so often taken as a proxy for gender inequity, embodied in exceptional one-off women, while questioning both optimistic investments in ‘hopeful’ models and queer reclamations of failure (Halberstam, 2011). If ‘leading’ means taking a certain route and pursuing a particular direction, how might feminists get lost and find new ways? How might the university mislead us? How might we avoid repeating sexist conventions in academic

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leadership and propping up institutional commodifications of diversity? This chapter focuses on the (dis)connections in becoming a feminist leader, whether #fullbyforty or not, thinking across early-established career points, and interrupting the narrative of becoming certified, recognisable, ready, and deficient no longer. Firstly, we explore how feminist leadership and feminism itself are both positioned in terms of a deferral by which the (future, potential) feminist leader is encouraged to wait, in early career funding schemes, peer-to-peer feedback and friendly feminist careers advice. Secondly, we turn to how leadership is held and sustained, looking to feminist practices of mentoring as well as ‘leadership development’ programmes. Thirdly, we attend to how feminist leadership is certified and made institutionally recognisable in equality initiatives such as Athena SWAN, as well as in professorial zoning exercises, asking how feminist leadership is measured and made to count in in the non-feminist university.

Future Feminist Leaders The future orientated academic subjectivities interpellated by the career course can require a deferral as well as the expectation that academics already perform at, for instance, professorial, reader, senior lecturer level before eligibility for promotion. In always stretching, reaching for the next rung on the ladder, we wonder if the feminist leader has fallen between the rungs, and if this represents a subversive side-step and/or a painful fail. Here we consider how both leadership, and feminist practice, are put-off, deferred to a receding and slowly cancelled academic future self, requiring perhaps a permanent, indefinite delay (Fisher, 2013; Shipley, 2018). It is unlikely that feminism—or the feminist—will ever be cast as a flagship initiative, as fast-track, ‘brightest and best’: The flagship Future Leaders Fellowships scheme will attract and sustain the best early career research and innovation talent. By inviting applications from across all disciplines, the programme will foster new world-leading research and innovation and fast-track career paths. Providing long term, flexible funding will allow the best and the brightest to tackle intractable challenges, open novel avenues of research and receive the training, development and mentorship that they require. (see UKRI, 2019)

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The shine of world-leading achievement is palpable in such blurbs, although the assumed simplicity of identifying the ‘best’ belies the intersectional social inequalities that we know structure assessments of academic work (Gutiérrez y Muhs, Niemann, González, & Harris, 2012). Here we also see the potential inscribed in future leaders, as if leadership is a latent capacity, identifiable and already possessed but in need of development. Training and mentorship will be provided, although it is unclear who will perform the work of developing future leaders. The recipients of such grants are not leaders right now, not just yet, but the clear expectation is that they will be. It is not only early career funding schemes that locate leadership in the future, which we must wait patiently for while striving to achieve. We can trace similar configurations in both peer-to-peer feedback initiatives and friendly feminist advice. She has the makings of a world-class academic—could get right to the top of the tree. She could carry on as now, and will doubtless be promoted to SL and Professor in due course, and then not need to worry. Or she could make steps to fit in more with the subject area, and be a bit more collegial, and really make a feminist difference here as well. Or she could leave and do very well wherever she goes. [Perhaps this feed-backer could reflect a little more on whose faces ‘fit’ and the unmarked class, race, gender and sexuality of the academic fitting in… Are they telling me to be less ambitious? That it would be more honourable (and more feminist?) not to pursue promotion? Noticeably promotion here is positioned in opposition to ‘really making a difference’…] She’s a colleague and a friend: very hard working. She will clearly move into SL and Prof: she’s very determined and will push for that. But she needs to accept the reality of the hierarchy, and part of the journey will be learning tolerance of the grey areas: and relax a bit about that. Not everything has to be a battle. [If the future feminist leader accepts the ‘reality of the hierarchy’ is she still a feminist? Why do I get the feeling that my determination is held against me, as too pushy, too hardworking?]

Feminists’ ‘very hard work’ attracts criticism—as going too far and being out of balance. An ‘imbalanced’ colleague is, it would seem, neither a good role model nor a good leader, and the un-timeliness (out of time, too early for promotion, too late for a timely promotion) of these presences and absences are worth pausing on. Reading between the lines of this anonymised feedback (is it supportive? is it feminist?) in-between the positive notes (world class, top of the tree) another message is conveyed:

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the feminist lecturer doesn’t fit in, doesn’t make a difference to the department, she is too determined, battling, not accepting the hierarchy. She could do with slowing down, waiting her turn, being more… how can we put this… being less feminist. Don’t push these things, chill out a bit. The question of who can afford to ‘relax’ about academic hierarchies and their ascension is elided. The feminist lecturer encounters the advice to delay her leadership ambitions, but a parallel recommendation of deferral circulates, save your feminism for later: She’s passed her PhD viva, later on in the pub the external examiner (feminist hero!) has some advice to share: ‘listen, once your department isn’t holding promotion over you like a carrot and a stick, then you can do what you want, speak your mind, kick up a bit of a fuss and challenge things. But you have to secure that promotion first and that involves doing what you’re told for a few years, keeping your head down, being agreeable, letting go of the feminist fight temporarily’. Promotion sounds great, but I need a job first she laughs, grateful for the advice but aware that promotion is a long way off for her. Later she wonders, what happens in all those years of doing as she’s told, being a good girl. How does that compliance in exchange for far-from-­ guaranteed later security and autonomy shape the very wants that she will one day supposedly be able to pursue.

The advice to wait until you can be heard to speak may be viewed as pragmatic and realistic, while the promise of deferral is unreliable and meanwhile implies a feminist leader who has arrived and can take up, and hold, feminist projects and politics for all. There are particular risks in being pre-emptively positioned as a ‘challenging feminist presence’ in the early career (Murray, 2018). Drawing on Ahmed’s (2010) figure of the feminist killjoy, Murray (2018) explores how being a challenging presence is not always a role that the early career feminist actively chooses to inhabit, as ‘sometimes existing in a space is enough to be seen as a killjoy regardless of one’s political intentions’ (p. 164). This dynamic stretches across the career course however, and the early career feminist may still be read as a challenging presence even if she holds back on her feminism, as the feminist lecturer receives her peer feedback and feels anything but relaxed, and as the feminist professor negotiates how to hold, and hold onto, feminist commitments:

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The PhD students are angry, at the sexist dismissal one of them has experienced from a supervisor. They’re in the office of the feminist professor, who glanced at her social media before the meeting: @PoliticalPhD: Institutional sexism and abuse of power is rife, how can this be allowed to continue in 21st century academia?! #everydaysexism It’s not clear exactly what the PhD students are asking for, and they’re not sure themselves what they need from her, approval, support, advice… The feminist professor listens patiently while they talk animatedly, feeling the responsibility of her role. When the PhD students have made their case, she speaks: ‘I don’t say this lightly and I know it isn’t what you are hoping for, but please hear me out’. She shuts her phone in the desk draw, flashing notifications show she’s been tagged: @DrFeminist Who’s inspired you in academia? List your 10 favourite, inspiring feminist academics and pass it on #awesomeacademics #fangirlfeminism ‘I don’t think you should do anything about this, you’re in vulnerable positions right at the very start of your careers. Making a complaint will be a mark against you and there will be unpleasant consequences. Please focus your energies on your research and being the best academics you can be so we can get more feminist voices in the academy. You’re the change makers of the future, but for now you should let me and other secure staff handle this. Let’s check institutional guidelines on social media too.’ Conflicted, deflated, as the PhD students trudge out.

The feminist professor may (still) not be able to fully resolve feminist fights or fix the non-feminist institution, even as she has seemingly ‘arrived’ in a promoted post, in a permanent post, or in a position of leadership which holds out the possibility of making feminist waves. Rather than abandoning feminism as forever deferred, ‘failures’ in feminist leadership demonstrate the ever-interrupted, paused, stalled and repeated character of working towards ‘feminist futures’ in the university (Breeze & Taylor, 2018b). Feminist leadership is full of conflict, contestation and ambiguity, and is constituted in these interrupting and interrupted dynamics. Here trying to ‘make a difference’ and pursue the feminist transformation of the institution risks being caught out (‘she’s a feminist’, ‘she’s not a very good feminist!’) and often overloads the go-to-feminist with more work (be more feminist! Tone down your feminism!). Institutionally, feminists deal with the delay of leadership, and the deferral of feminism to a later date, as well as the feminist possibilities of leadership, of ‘passing on’ feminism (Adkins, 2004) via mentorship, and the impossibility of

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straightforward transmissions. The lone feminist in the department may still be called on to remediate a lack of institutional support across the career course. Feminism—and feminists—are often over-loaded with the expectation of providing support, and leadership rendered as supportive. And so our feminist leader is likely still failing normatively, as she fails queerly, as she digests her anonymous peer-feedback, while she hurries to her mentorship meeting and continues to invest hopefully, ambivalently in the possibilities of feminist leadership.

Mentoring: Feminists Holding On Mentoring can be understood as feminist practice, as an integral feminist commitment and method for instigating institutional change and increasing the feminist presence in the university, so that feminist approaches, strategies, even leadership, can be ‘passed on’ rather than passed over. Where leading is equated with primacy, dominance and ascendancy and women’s leadership is likely to be framed, and dismissed, as ‘soft’ (Eden, 2016) how might feminists hold on to mentorship as leadership in ‘ …desiring, dismissing or being disqualified from senior leadership positions’ (Morley, 2014, p. 114). Learning feminist leadership involves negotiating displacements and misrecognitions, as well as struggling to transform dominant conceptions of leadership. Cross-career feminist mentoring can be formalised and institutionalised for instance in the UK and Ireland, the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (FWSA) offers to pair early and mid-career feminist scholars with a more experienced mentor: The FWSA Mentoring Scheme aims to foster a strong feminist community that encourages supportive and collegial relationships between members of the Association. […] With academic work becoming ever more precarious and competitive, the aim of the mentoring scheme is to counter this environment with a collective feminist politics and a supportive environment for feminist colleagues. (FWSA, 2019, n.p.)

Often mentorship is framed as a question of how the feminist leader should support her early career colleagues, rather than asking how the university, or other colleagues, might support them both, or how forms of support can be reciprocal and collective. As well as thinking through the possibilities—and limits—of ‘feminist leadership’ we need to attend to

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how cross-career feminist mentoring picks up the slack, supplementing and buffering a broader lack of support. Within the stretched support structures of the neoliberal academy, there is a repetitive call that we need more women on the committee which is reiterated without attending to why women might be reluctant to step forward to ‘fix’ the problem, nor to what might be expected to change if indeed more women were active. Practices of feminist mentorship are formalised and incorporated as a component of leadership development programmes, such as Advance HE’s Aurora scheme, aiming to ‘address the under-representation of women in leadership positions’ (AdvanceHE, 2019). This programme has a competitive selection process, targeting women to develop their leadership skills. The feminist mentor herself is rendered somewhat absent in such programme’s recruitment materials however, and we wonder how the feminist mentor (her labour glossed over just as it is drawn upon) would respond. Led by a team of experts, participants will explore four key areas associated with leadership success: Identity, Impact and Voice; Power and Politics; Core Leadership Skills; Adaptive Leadership Skills [How about being led by decades of feminist scholarship to identify three key areas associated with leadership: Gender, Race, Class]. Aurora seeks to support women and their institutions [I’m sorry whose institutions?!] to fulfill their leadership potential through thought provoking activities, collaborative problem solving activities and motivating stories supported by inspirational women role models [Can we problem solve patriarchy?! In my experience the problem isn’t a lack of motivation or inspiration, feminists have been doing this for decades!]. Participation embeds strong networks of early career women across the sector to share best practice, insights and experiences [We already have strong networks, we already have leadership skills… what about the best practice of not over-promoting mediocre men? Branding and ‘recognising’ existing feminist practices without acknowledgement as feminist… now where have I seen this all before?]

The potential excess of feminist leadership is accompanied by a persistent inscription of deficit and misrecognition. Morley (2013) shows how women’s leadership capacities in HE are ‘relentlessly misrecognised’, and if recognised then such capacities are misconstrued as ‘soft’ leadership in terms of caring and collective well-being (Eden, 2016). Getting into leadership development programmes can carry a sense of illuminated potential, recognising that the feminist academic can—with the right push in

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the right direction, the right kind of support—one day lead. Delegates are identified as bearers of leadership potential, while addressed as lacking, in need of this training course in order to progress up the career ladder. It is the first day of Stella the biggest women’s leadership development programme in the UK.  The slogan LEAD—EMPOWER—SUCCEED is embossed on lanyards. Not once has there been any mention of feminisms, feminists. The activity badged as Embodying Credibility aims to ‘explore some of the behaviours that let us down’. The facilitator on stage asks everyone to imagine the most competent, most convincing leader in their field, the catch? This leader must be a man. Delegates are instructed to stand up, get into groups with their designated mentors, and practice introducing themselves as this exemplar leader would; with handshakes (not too firm, not to limp), eye contact (not too confrontational, not too shy and self-effacing) and by saying a few words (make an impact, draw their interest). Awkward laughter resonates as 200 people practice shaking hands, meeting gazes and practicing becoming comfortable with the gestures and intonations of confident belonging and entitlement. Habituating what is presumed to come naturally, effortlessly, to those who are not targeted to go on specially designed leadership training programmes for women. Next the facilitator instructs delegates to imagine a foolish figure, an airhead, a bimbo. A ditzy woman. Well meaning. A bit confused. Compensating for her uncertainty by obsequiousness and servility; over-­ apologising, over-attentive, trying to be likeable, eager to please. How does this clown introduce herself? Now do that. Speaking fast (too fast), in high pitched voice (too high). Gestures of haste and sounds of flustered breath. I’m sorry to bother you, sorry to interrupt, sorry to take up your time. I’m just so sorry.

In seeking to transmit normative, and normatively gendered, embodiments of leadership, in posture, language, even handshakes, gendered judgements are conveyed re-signalling authority, credibility, and leadership as masculine, and as something that (implicitly white) academic men effortlessly and naturally embody. Ideas about feminist leadership, feminist analyses and feminist practice are notably absent from such exercises, where is the feminist leader? An unsuccessful applicant responds: I never got onto the women’s leadership programme, the apologetic email came through—‘high demand’, ‘not enough places’, ‘try again next year’. I hesitated, disappointed, then composed an email, querying the decision,

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evidencing my eligibility, my leadership potential, my feminist contribution to ‘equality and diversity’ in the university, and asking about the representation of women of colour on the course. ‘The programme is not about tackling racism—it’s about gender inequality’, came the response. ‘And remember mentors are always available, have you considered seeking a mentor to support the development of your leadership skills?’

In women’s leadership development programmes, strategies and capacities for embodying credibility and achieving recognition for latent leadership potential are presented as benign possibilities available for uptake, if the feminist academic would just apply herself, practice that handshake and work on a more confident posture, more authoritative style of speech. We know such opportunities and possibilities are most often directed to particular kinds of academics, illuminating some and ignoring others have you thought about leadership opportunities? While completing the leadership course provides another line on the CV for the successful applicant, feminist knowledge about leadership, how to do it as well as how to challenge the classed, racialised, and gendered construction of ‘leadership’, is glossed over; just as the feminist mentor is called upon to paper over the cracks and fix the problems with the formal provision of leadership development opportunities perhaps you could get a mentor instead? Repeating or re-directing the question of how to become a leader does not necessarily challenge how academic leadership is conceptualised or practiced.

(Mis)recognising Feminist Leadership Despite various attempts to identify, credentialise and certify leaders, ‘academic leadership’ is defined differently and used variously. Sometimes ‘leadership’ is used as a synonym for promotion, or achieving seniority in the academic hierarchy, or occupying a managerial or directorial role, or producing ‘world leading’ research. It can mean leading-by-example as a role model, supporting and mentoring colleagues, ‘championing’ diversity. Feminist leadership is often effaced, including in gender equality initiatives. The feminist leader might interrupt and contradict Athena SWAN even as she is counted, showcased, and called upon as evidence of a rewardable commitment to gender equality. Directives, such as Athena SWAN, designed to measure and accredit departmental and institutional gender equality, aim for transparency in promotion and review processes, rendering leadership knowable—with targets, goals and assessments.

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Athena SWAN medals (gold, silver, and bronze) are issued when the ‘right number’ of women can be counted. However, it is worth pausing on the costs and consequences of engaging with such bureaucratic processes— asking who will do the work (Pearce, 2017) and what kind of visibility will be offered to the feminist leader who ticks the box and is subject to review. The tagline for the Athena SWAN Charter: Recognising advancement of gender equality: representation progression and success for all (AdvanceHE, 2020) offers a palatable gloss over the entrenched sexism that structures academic career courses; recognition and representation are presented as the solution to such structural problems. Athena SWAN arguably does make an attempt to transform the institutional sexism of promotions processes, acknowledging that ‘there are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career… which require the active consideration of the organisation’ (AdvanceHE, 2020, n.p.). In practice however, the work of gathering and submitting evidence for a submission to Athena SWAN requires a repetition of grindingly familiar feminist efforts towards recognition. Here we imagine what the figure of Athena—goddess of wisdom—might say in response. Dear Athena, I have significantly benefited from working relationships with existing staff members who have previously put a great deal of work into mentoring my bids for funding (female professor), and with whom I have collaborated with on further grant applications and publications (female professor, female lecturer, male lectures (x2)). These forms of perhaps more ‘informal’ support have been invaluable for me as a future new member of staff getting to know the department. Sincerely, Lecturer Seeking Recognition Dear Lecturer Seeking Recognition, I appreciate your submission, but in return you must also try and appreciate just how many of these I receive, and that my wisdom and eons of experience mean that I can very much read between the lines. A ‘female professor’ mentored you applications for funding? Why don’t you just come out and say it? I know she’s a feminist professor. I suppose if you did name her feminism it would upset the thin veneer of anonymity demanded by these institutional exercises: everyone knows there’s only ever one feminist professor per department. Imagine, two feminist professors! I can’t see it

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happening in my lifetime to be honest. I also note that you don’t give the status of these grant applications, so I’ll go ahead and assume they were unsuccessful. Interesting that you choose to describe the support you’ve received as informal, when the activity involved is very much the bread and butter business of the university: attracting research funding, and publishing research findings. Perhaps by mentioning their ‘informality’ you’re trying to draw attention to how this kind of support, or feminist leadership as I would say, is unpaid labour? Takes place outside of standard working hours? Off campus in coffee shops over the weekend? On the feminist professor’s own, private, personal time? You’ve worked collaboratively on publications and grant applications that you’re not paid for, and that the university itself fails to recognise as evidence of leadership activity. I see. It is a shame that the empirical details of this kind of activity, the feminist commitments and cares, are so often erased in the submissions I receive. Anyway, no bronze award for your department, the university as a whole really needs to do better in recognising, and valuing, the full range of feminist work, and leadership activities that I can see in your department—but it’s no good to me unless you spell it out! Sincerely, Athena

Caffrey et al. (2016) show how gender inequity is reproduced in Athena SWAN processes, as institutions often task all women working groups and ‘self-assessment teams’ with undertaking a disproportionate amount of Athena SWAN work. This this has negative impacts on individual women’s career progression, with women ‘sacrificing [their own] career gains’ to support others via Athena SWAN processes (Pearce, 2017, p.  15), and early career researchers encountering difficulties in even accessing Athena SWAN initiatives (Caffrey et al., 2016). Universities can be criticised for approaching gender equality accreditation schemes as a rather instrumental tick box exercise, once the ‘gold medal’ is achieved gender equity falls back off the agenda (Harrison, 2018) and the contribution of the feminist leader is forgotten. We wonder, what is lost when feminists engage in gender equality accreditation schemes and audits, and what aspects of feminist leadership fall out of view? Alongside Athena SWAN, performance management reviews are widespread, ensuring the feminist leader meets her objectives to be, for example, ‘world leading’. (Some) feminists are entering the ranks of professors and senior managers but the question becomes ‘what kind of professor

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will she be?’. Having seemingly ‘arrived’, the feminist professor will now be zoned and her salary adjusted accordingly: Zone 1: An appropriate number of high-quality postgraduate research students attracted on a continuing basis [Where does our commitment to widening participation fit? ‘High quality’ becomes ‘elite’ and becomes, continuously, again, ‘white and middle class’]. Successful contribution to research strategy advancement [income]. Undertaking lead roles, including involvement in research conference organising and research networks/consortia [Does rearranging and cleaning the tables also count?]. Zone 4: Widely acknowledged as one of a small group of world leaders in the discipline. [Widely acknowledged… by whom? Where is the feminist zone? Will she ever get there? ].

Institutional procedures for measuring and assessing leadership often do not recognise women, and an imagined, hoped for ‘feminist zone’ may not remedy this, as women professors report having to demonstrate both care and higher levels of experience and competence simply to be rated equally to their male peers (whispered over a departmental email announcing the latest promotion: I literally have more than double his publications and grant income…!). The routinised expectation of over-performance as necessary to be recognised as equal can quickly be felt as a failure not only of being passed over for promotion but as an essentialised character flaw, where the professor also risks becoming a bad feminist, a sign too that feminism is bad (too ambitious). Reviewer: (picks up the as yet untouched, unread document outlining his colleagues’ SMART1 targets, flicking through the many pages): You’ve been busy! Reviewee: Yes? (to herself: Have I been busy enough, have I been too busy? Am in keeping up with colleagues? Am I keeping up with myself?) Reviewer: Well, let’s make this more of an informal conversation (he has not read this!) Reviewee: Sure (but I could be ‘re-zoned’ depending on this, my salary could be cut…). Reviewer: You’ve really exceeded all our expectations in the first year of your professorial role, especially in terms of research outputs and grant income, leading teams, successful attraction of funded PhD students, 1

 SMART: Sustainable, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Transparent.

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growing the research capacity and culture, you’ve led the organisation of three conferences this year, very strong on internationalisation you’re to be congratulated on an excellent job… But do you think you are being SMART? Reviewee: Hmmmm. Reviewer: From your peer feedback 360 degree review reverse mentoring exercise it’s clear that you’re colleagues see you as very politically engaged, and ambitious, but they would appreciate you dialling that down, perhaps letting your guard down and relaxing a bit… Reviewee [internally]: what the hell does whether or not I’m relaxed have to do with my zone, my salary? Reviewer: [continuing]: And I see from your student evaluations that you can perhaps be a little hard on people, students recommend that you could ‘loosen up’ and ‘chill out’… Reviewee [internally]: WHAT Reviewer: So let’s focus on where you want to be in 1, 3 and 5 years time? Can you think about your SMART objectives on these timelines, send me an updated self-assessment form and then we can agree on your zone for the year ahead, at the moment you’re sitting in Zone 3, but don’t get complacent, maintaining or improving on that will depend on your SMART objectives. Someone from HR will get back to you in 8–12 weeks. Reviewee [later, in an email]: I note that you commented on my exceeding of expectations wrt research leadership, is it possible to have that added to the official record? Reviewer: Please don’t hang on too tightly to anything I say in these meetings, which are really the informal chat part of the process. Zoning reviews are conversational, can even be enjoyable, and not everything has to be recorded officially, compliments are just added extras! Your leadership targets derive from accountable cross-university committees, but ultimately you must decide on realistic and ambitious goals for yourself. It is important to note that at this level not only do we expect world leading excellence as standard, but the regular exceeding of that standard is also our expectation and should be your goal. Remember my door is always open!

Leadership is constituted in contemporary academia through assessment, measurement and review. These processes include equalities audits alongside promotions, professorial zoning exercises, and annual

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development reviews, where there is a palpable risk of ‘misogyny posing as measurement’ (Morley, 2011). In the neoliberal university, academic promotion and leadership opportunities are increasingly linked to via research output. Producing ‘world leading’ research, and being a ‘world leading’ academic are expectations increasingly spread across the career course, even the early career academic needs to evidence her international reputation to be in with a chance. The ways that feminist leadership is—and is not—recognised within the terms of the proliferating leadership initiatives, performance reviews, and equalities accreditation schemes speaks back to the long-held feminist analyses of the gendering of academic leadership. The feminist leader encounters compromised opportunities for recognition, that come at a cost of becoming visible, countable, within institutional processes and agendas; just as she continues to be misrecognised, feminism is glossed over and taken into account in the same processes and initiatives.

Conclusion Returning to the tangled and inevitably compromised possibilities of feminist leadership, and the ever present tensions of failing feminist leadership, we wonder what readers would say now, at the end of this chapter: what do you expect from the feminist leader? Can she carry and hold on to feminism for the university, for Athena? What criteria would you list to define the feminist professorial zone? What is lost as well as gained in seeking and perhaps even achieving an element of recognition for feminist leadership? Can feminists—across the career course—refuse their leadership becoming entirely legible within dominant terms, and what are the effects of doing so? In writing this chapter we bumped up against the frustrations we feel in encountering (again) simple notions of the feminist leader as expected to ‘fix’ and remediate the non-feminist institution, including for her early career colleagues, all the while encountering the imperative to wait and defer both leadership ambitions and feminist commitments. We are wary of uncritical and overly-celebratory approaches to the path-breaking ‘woman in leadership’, and the production and presentation of role-­ models and confidence boosting exercises as solutions to the problems of higher education’s gender regimes. The feminist leader finds herself (again) between a rock and a hard place, too ambitious, too feminist, not feminist enough, selling out, not accepting the reality of the hierarchy… We are wary too of uncritical and overly-celebratory reclamations of failure, at

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the same time as being seduced by queer failures as an acknowledgement that ‘alternatives are embedded already in the dominant and that power is never total or consistent’ (Halberstam, 2011, p. 88). Feminist leadership can be felt as an urgency, a privilege and a responsibility as, ultimately, somebody needs to do it! In coming-forward and taking up space we remember that the (future) feminist leader does not need to ‘fix’ everything, cannot fix everything, and even when she is making a difference, buffering and supporting her mentees, there will still be work to be done in the non-feminist university. Halberstam (2011) suggests that ‘anti-social feminism’ can be grounded ‘… in negation, refusal, passivity, absence, and silence, [which] offers spaces and modes of unknowing, failing, and forgetting as part of an alternative feminist project’ (p.  124). Feminist leadership, like feminist successes more broadly, is always partial, provisional, and contingent, and perhaps it is enough, sometimes, to identify the problem without offering a neat solution.

References Acker, S., & Wagner, A. (2019). Feminist scholars working around the neoliberal university. Gender and Education, 31(1), 62–81. Adkins, L. (2004). Passing on feminism: From consciousness to reflexivity? European Journal of Women’s Studies, 11(4), 427–444. AdvanceHE. (2019). Aurora. Retrieved from https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/ programmes-events/aurora AdvanceHE. (2020). Athena SWAN Charter. Retrieved from https://www.ecu. ac.uk/equality-charters/athena-swan/about-athena-swan/ history-of-athena-swan/ Ahmed, S. (2010). The promise of happiness. Duke University Press. Bhopal, K., & Henderson, H. (2019). Competing inequalities: Gender versus race in higher education institutions in the UK, Educational Review [online first]. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2019.1642305 Breeze, M. (2018). Imposter syndrome as a public feeling. In Y. Taylor, K. Lahad, & K. (Eds.), Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist flights, fights and failures (pp. 191–220). Palgrave Macmillan. Breeze, M., & Taylor, Y. (2018a). Feminist collaborations in higher education: Stretched across career stages. Gender and Education, 32(3), 412–428. Breeze, M., & Taylor, Y. (2018b). Futures and fractures in feminist and queer higher education. Journal of Applied Social Theory, 1(2), 1–11. Caffrey, L., Wyatt, D., Fudge, N., Mattingley, H., Williamson, C., & McKevitt, C. (2016). Gender equity programmes in academic medicine: A realist evaluation approach to Athena SWAN processes. BMJ Open, 6(9), e012090.

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Stainback, K., Kleiner, S., & Skaggs, S. (2016). Women in power: Undoing or redoing the gendered organization? Gender and Society, 30(1), 109–135. Taylor, Y., & Lahad, K. (2018). Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist flights, fights and failures. Palgrave Macmillan. Teelken, C., & Deem, R. (2013). All are equal, but some are more equal than others: Managerialism and gender equality in higher education in comparative perspective. Comparative Education, 49(4), 520–535. Thwaites, R., & Pressland, A. (2016). Being an early career feminist academic in a changing academy: Global perspectives, experiences and challenges. Palgrave Macmillan. Tsouroufli, M. (2019). An examination of the Athena SWAN initiatives in the UK: Critical reflections’. In G. Grimmins (Ed.), Strategies for resisting sexism in the academy: Higher education, gender and neoliberalism (pp.  35–54). Palgrave Macmillan. Tzanakou, C., & Pearce, R. (2019). Moderate feminism within or against the neoliberal university? The example of Athena SWAN. Gender, Work & Organisation, 26(8), 1191–1211. UKRI. (2019). Future leaders fellowships. Retrieved from https://www.ukri. org/funding/funding-opportunities/future-leaders-fellowships/ Williams, P., Bath, S., Arday, J., & Lewis, C. (2019). The broken pipeline: Barriers to Black PhD students accessing research council funding. Leading Routes. Retrieved from http://leadingroutes.org/the-broken-pipeline

CHAPTER 5

Knowing Feminists: The (Mis)use of (Our)selves

Abstract  In this chapter we focus on how feminist academics are invited and even compelled to share and narrate their experiences of becoming academic. Specifically, we explore how personal accounts of (mis)recognition, feeling like an imposter, and failure are implicated in feminists taking up space across the career course. We return to feminist methodological debates, and question how experiential ways of knowing—via the self—are become empirical material. This chapter is inspired and contextualised by three examples of telling or storying academic selves, which take place online as well as face-to-face: the #immodestwomen hashtag on academic Twitter, the increasing attention to and confessing of ‘imposter syndrome’, and the production and circulation of ‘CVs of failure’. We suggest that such instances are fractured by career categories and entrenched intersectional inequalities, and moreover, conceptualise each as an example of how becoming-academic is narrated to both claim and contest academic recognition. We situate the three examples of academics sharing their experiences in relation to enduring feminist debates about the epistemological and political significance of experiential knowledge, including the limits of reflexivity, confessional modes of telling, and the commodification of diversity stories. As such this chapter returns to our methodological concern with feminist research that remains ambivalently committed to accounts of our own experiences as empirical material, as we ask how feminists can continue to work with such methods in fragmented, fractured, and interrupted ways. © The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_5

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Keywords  Academic careers • Feminism • Immodest women • Imposter syndrome • Failures • Feminist methods • Reflexivity

Introduction In this chapter we focus on how feminist academics are invited and even compelled to share and narrate their experiences of becoming academic. Specifically, we explore how personal accounts of (mis)recognition, marginalisation, and failure are implicated in feminists taking up space across the career course. We return to feminist methodological debates, and question how experiential ways of knowing—via the self—are used as empirical material for understanding HE inequalities. This chapter is inspired and contextualised by three examples of telling or storying academic selves, which take place online as well as face-to-face: the #immodestwomen hashtag on academic Twitter, the increasing attention to and confessing of ‘imposter syndrome’, and the production and circulation of ‘CVs of failure’. The #immodestwomen hashtag on academic Twitter emerged in June 2018 after historian Dr Fern Riddell tweeted about using, and not being afforded, her academic title in public engagements, generating approximately 1500 re-tweets and inspiring women with PhDs to add ‘Dr’ to their display name on the platform, playing on the accusation that it was ‘immodest’ to do so. The ensuing online discussion, including via blogs and news articles (Riddell, 2018), centred on whether and how women use their academic titles, as well as sexist, racist, classist responses and double standards. We conceptualise #immodestwomen as an instance of academic women claiming professional recognition, via sharing experiences of misrecognition, and consider what feminist repetitions are carried in advice to use, and practices of using, ‘Dr’ and ‘Professor’, encompassing broader instances of feminists asserting their professional expertise, both online and off. Secondly we consider the recommendation that academics open up about their experiences of imposter syndrome, understood to involve convictions of inadequacy and fraudulence alongside a sense of not belonging, seen as anecdotally ubiquitous among academics (Breeze, 2018). A

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common piece of advice for early career academics feeling like imposters is to listen to more experienced colleagues sharing feelings of inadequacy: …as a professor, you can make a surprising difference just by opening up about your own academic insecurities… Knowing that professors feel like fakers from time to time, too, might help the rest of us feel a little less self-­ conscious—and a little more like we belong. (Bahn, 2014, n.p.)

Advice to ‘open up’, does not take into account how sharing experiences of imposter syndrome carries different risks and rewards depending on how academics are located in the career course, simultaneously mobilising and eliding career course hierarchies (Taylor & Breeze, 2020). We consider how ‘opening up’ about imposter feelings can be a way for academics to claim an imposter positionality or depoliticised ‘outsider’ status, which can gloss over entrenched and enduring educational exclusions. Thirdly, the idea of a curriculum vitae of failures is accompanied by general advice that academics publicly sharing unsuccessful bids for funding, job applications and rejected manuscripts ‘might inspire a colleague to shake off a rejection and start again’ (Stefan, 2010, n.p.). Stefan (2010) suggests that keeping, and sharing, a CV-like list of professional ‘failures’ can interrupt public-facing narratives of success implying that that ‘careers seem to be a constant, streamlined series of triumphs’ (n.p.). Making rejections and failures visible can indeed disrupt the idealised success story of an academic career. However, it is necessary to pause over who can afford to share failure publicly, and how some failure can be re-purposed as claims to resources and recognition. Sharing failures can reproduce the figure of the heroic achieving individual, overcoming adversity and evidencing resilience. It is necessary to ask whose career blockages and dead ends can be re-captured and whose failures are inscribed as sticky deficiencies of the self, embodied as classed, raced, and gendered enduring educational failures (Loveday, 2016; Taylor, 2013). @doctordoctor That’s it I’ve had enough, adding my title to my twitter bio and email signature right now and promising myself I’ll correct EVERYONE who calls me ‘miss’ in future #immodestwomen @imposterprofessor Taking my own advice today and confessing my deeplyfelt sense of inadequacy, I’ve been doing this job for 20 years but I am constantly plagued by the conviction that my work is not good enough and one day that will be discovered, I must stand out like a sore thumb. #imposter

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@failingupwards Another notification of an unsuccessful grant application today, reminding myself of my (above average!) one-in-four record: for every successful application, three are rejected #onwardsandupwards

We suggest that such instances are fractured by career categories and entrenched intersectional inequalities, and moreover, conceptualise each as an example of how becoming-academic is narrated to both claim and contest academic recognition. Different forms of academic telling alert us to layers of repetition as feminist debates about experiential ways of knowing are glossed over. In this introductory section we situate the three examples of academics being invited, advised, or compelled to share their experiences of (mis)recognition, feeling like an imposter, and professional failures, in relation to enduring feminist debates about the epistemological and political significance of experiential knowledge, including the limits of reflexivity, confessional modes of telling, and the commodification of diversity stories (Adkins, 2002; Ahmed, 2009; Skeggs, 2002; Taylor, 2013). As such this chapter returns to our methodological concern with feminist research that remains ambivalently committed to accounts of our own experiences as empirical material, as we ask how feminists can continue to work with such methods in fragmented, fractured, and interrupted ways. While advice to open up about academic insecurities and failures circulates as we write, talking about it has a much longer life as feminist practice, including in the ‘consciousness raising’ so often taken as typifying second wave feminist activism in the UK and USA (Browne, 2014). Naming, narrating, and sharing experiences of the gendered inequalities and harms of the academy is also understood as a feminist strategy. For instance, Pereira (2016) cautions us not to underestimate ‘the power of academic “small talk”’, since ‘talking about it… can have profoundly transformative effects’ (p.  107) including via recognising the structural character of such experiences and collectivising what might otherwise be dismissed as individualised inadequacies. Producing and circulating experience-­based narratives about (mis)recognition, marginalisation, and failure can therefore be usefully thought of as part of a broader project of feminist transformation. However, neoliberal governance in HE also ‘requires individuals to tell the stories of their own lives’ (Gill, 2010, p. 4). The formal requirement to tell happens via promotions and review processes, and endlessly updatable online portals for tracking and auditing grants, publications, citations

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and so on. Self-promotional stories of the good, achieving academic self are also told informally, via personal research and/or teaching blogs and social media activities as ‘creating an online presence or brand has become almost as important as building a robust CV’ (singh, 2015, p. 272). So while recognising the transformative potential of feminist academics telling their stories of (mis)recognition, imposterism, and failure, we are also cautious about how personal narratives might ‘remain locked into a profoundly individualistic framework’ (Gill & Donaghue, 2016, p.  91). Especially on ‘academic Twitter’ where expressing personal experience, alongside sharing accomplishments and outputs, can become a sought-­ after resource for employers in the online academic reputation economy (Gregory & singh, 2018). We are writing at a time when, for instance, the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Times Higher Education1 can ask on Twitter: What are the ways in which you have been excluded or “othered” for being working class in higher education? #workingclassacademic. (Phil Baty, 31st May 2019)

This tweet received 120 replies (as of November 2019) with academics telling, in 280 characters or less, their working-class stories. One way to reply to such a request would be to suggest that Phil Baty turn to one of the many, many publications that document working class experiences of the academy, evidencing and analysing—across decades—the way that UK higher education excludes and marginalises students and staff with working class backgrounds (Mahony & Zmroczek, 1997; Tokarczyk & Fay, 1993) rather than expecting working class academics to revisit their experiences of marginalisation, and generate more (repetitive) evidence on the stratified and stratifying character of higher education. We cannot understand how feminist academics are invited and compelled to share their experiences without attending to how personal stories of ‘being diverse’ are extracted as a valuable commodity through which the university can promote itself as happily inclusive (Ahmed, 2009, 2012; Taylor, 2013). Here the supposed deficit of an out-of-place educational 1  The THE describes itself as: ‘the leading provider of higher education data for the world’s research-led institutions. Our work with individual clients builds on the foundations of our World University Rankings, which have been adopted as a geo-political indicator as well as an aid to strategic management of institutions and a crucial factor in the study choices made by millions of students around the world.’ (THE, 2020).

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subject becomes a potential asset to the institution. In being called on to ‘be diverse’ feminist academics can differently tell stories of being first-in-­ family to go to university, and of experiencing and overcoming sexist, racist, and queerphobic discrimination when they arrive there. Being ‘diverse’ and telling one’s story for and in the institution can be an awkward premium and a personalised pain, an enduring sore point that harms while diversity is hastened and harnessed as promise, cure and capital (Ahmed, 2012; Taylor, 2013). When universities invite those academics marked as embodying diversity to share their experiences, the resulting stories can emphasise arrival, presence, and comfort, as private feelings publicly conveyed via institutional websites alongside glossy images for recruitment, outreach and celebration. Given what is already known about the commodification of diversity stories, some awkward questions arise for feminist methodologies that continue to prioritise, as well as problematise, experiential ways of knowing about becoming academic. In this chapter we return to an overarching methodological concern, the tensions in feminist methods that turn to researchers’ own experiential accounts. Pursuing recognition for feminist ways of knowing is a repetitive endeavour, especially when epistemological boundary work is not always successful and is fractured by, for example, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and nationality (Pereira, 2017, 2018). Long-standing feminist debates make the case for feminist auto/biography disrupting ‘divisions of self/ other, public/private’ and as signalling ‘the active inquiring presence of sociologists in constructing, rather than discovering, knowledge’ (Stanley, 1993, p. 41) against the idea that ‘the danger of rooting knowledge in the description of individual experiences is that one never moves beyond them’ (Oakley, 1998, p.  723). These debates endure in contemporary feminist collective biography methods which set out to displace a singular self-narrating subjectivity and ‘move beyond’ individual experience via a collective, distributed, multivocalitiy with which we can explore the production and contestation of academic identities (Gannon & Gonick, 2019). While ‘telling one’s story may look like an innocent method’, reflexive autobiographical methods can ‘reproduce histories of inequality’ by functioning to authorise a coherent self while de-authorising others (Skeggs, 2002, p. 369). This is particularly the case when researchers focus exclusively on their own identity-based stories, ‘usually articulated as a singularity’ which ‘authorises itself to speak’ (Skeggs, 2002, p. 360). There is an expectation, unevenly distributed across class and gender, that feminist researchers must situate themselves, which can be (mis)interpreted as

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iterating identity categories and social locations. This can lead to reiterative ‘coming out’ narratives, naming and claiming a working class background, or queerness, (Taylor, 2013; Tauqir et al., 2011) which involves the underlying assumption that there is an authentic and static subject position from which we can speak. However, collective biography shifts the focus away ‘from individuals (telling their stories)’ and towards subjectification processes, exploring, rather than reinscribing, how academic subjectivities are produced (Gannon, Walsh, Byers, & Rajiva, 2014, p. 184). Our interrupting methods elaborate and stretch this element of collective biography, allowing us to investigate how feminist academic subjectivities are constructed in the production and circulation of stories about 1) (mis)recognition, 2) feeling like a marginalised imposter, and 3) professional failures.

Claiming (Mis)recognition: (En)title(ment) Dr as an academic title depends upon successful PhD completion, a critical moment in the academic career. Being Dr-ed is a marker of legitimacy central to becoming academic, even as this involves ‘unstable academic identities’ (Gannon, Powell, & Power, 2018, p. 262). PhD completion is imbued with a sense of achievement, yet the promise of arrival and entrance upon becoming a PhD stretches into a future orientation, with the challenges of post-doctoral employment in a landscape marked by austerity, casualisation, and competition. #Immodestwomen and the associated debate around women ‘Dr-ing’ themselves illuminate connections and conflicts across the career course and within career categories, around academic (mis)recognition, and the classed, raced, gendered inclusions and exclusions of higher education, including who can expect to be recognised as in place, entitled, authoritative, and who is celebrated for identifying and correcting their misrecognition. ‘Talking about it’ works to legitimate certain subjects, even and perhaps especially when the talk is about experiences of being denied legitimacy and entitlement. Feminism articulates a political entitlement for women to ‘come forward’ to tell and change their stories. However, amidst all the chat, or tweets, are subjects which ‘stick’ (Taylor, 2013), highlighting the enduring race, class gap between those whose speaking is easily recognised and legitimated and those for whom speaking comes with the cost of being re-positioned as illegitimate, noisy, excessive, and demanding. The claims of entitlement are variously (mis)recognised, telling a story of

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misrecognition works for some and backfires for others. To illustrate these dynamics we quote tweets from key figures using #immodestwomen on Twitter. The responses to Dr Fern Riddell and Professor Priyamvada Gopal’s tweets about their professional titles noticeably differed, and while this chapter aims to interrupt rather than repeat this ‘talk’, the below give a sense of what is at stake in claiming entitlement via accounts of misrecognition: @FernRiddell My title is Dr Fern Riddell, not Ms or Miss Riddell. I have it because I am an expert, and my life and career consist of being that expert in as many different ways as possible. I worked hard to earn my authority, and I will not give it up to anyone. (June 2018) @PriyamvadaGopal I don’t think that women of colour are allowed to be #immodestwomen. We are uppity, arrogant, entitled etc. Please don’t forget this or you’ll be flamed alive. (June 2018)

While we quote verbatim two high-profile tweets from Riddell and Gopal, which indicate how racism structures whether accounts of misrecognition can successfully be leveraged to claim recognition, the challenge is to think through broader instances of this dynamic, both online and off. Feminists narrating experiences of misrecognition can be a way to claim recognition but may also perpetuate the same classed, raced and gendered conditionality. Here, academic recognition is done by mobilising individual story-telling to evidence the uneven distribution of academic status, while simultaneously making claims for that same status. In looking to a moment from academic Twitter we join digital sociologists ‘moving beyond easy distinctions between “online” and “offline” and […] understanding the deeply entangled relationships between technology, media, bodies, and data’ (Orton-Johnson et al., 2015, n.p.). As Hines (2017) notes, ‘online dynamics often heighten tensions that are then debated off-line’ (p. 11). Using academic titles can be contentious and fraught, we pause over titling ourselves and others in emails, conference programmes, and (in)formal introductions for visiting speakers, checking that we have the correct title, and that the list of recent achievements is complete. Small talk before the research seminar: Just graduated PhD: Do you think I should add ‘dr’ to my social media? It feels a bit weird…

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Tired professor: Listen, I’ve always let my students know that I won’t respond unless they address me with my correct title, this is a feminist lesson in recognising women’s expertise and a teachable moment about the gendered dynamics of academic authority… Unsure lecturer: I don’t know, I’ve added my title to my social media a couple of times and then removed it, I have a lingering sense of discomfort, like I’m getting ideas above my station, it feels like leveraging a technology of distinction that continues to exclude and stratify… Non-feminist professor: I really don’t see the problem here, I’ve always been happy for my students to address me by my first name, I think it’s about breaking down barriers and using the informality in pedagogically radical ways… My colleagues rarely omit to give me my full title anyway so I leave it off my email signature… am I missing something?

As is expected by our university, we do our academic entitlements online, our claims to recognition are repeated on professional platforms such as Academia.edu and Research Gate. Our outputs are uploaded to our institutional profiles, we remind each other to announce new publications on social media. In doing all this there is a risk that we become excessive, propelling only ourselves forward and thus vulnerable to the anti-feminist sentiment that she has gone ‘too far’. We pause over making too many recognition claims, making them too loudly or indeed immodestly. For feminists, attentive to the unequal landscape structuring how academic status is and is not bestowed, claiming recognition via telling of misrecognition is particularly fraught and ambivalent. Ping! Another email arrives in her inbox, the department head is proud to circulate the new promotional materials for student recruitment. She quickly scans the material, including a bullet-pointed list of research specialisms held by staff, she ticks them off in her head, seeing colleagues rightly represented, eyes moving down the list it becomes apparent that—according to this material—there is no gender or sexuality expertise, no specialism in feminist research in the department. Some mistake surely? A carefully drafted email, where are the feminists? The feminists, even with their ‘Dr’ titles, still do not appear. She’d just won a prestigious prize (at a prestigious conference): praise was rightfully delivered and she basked in the glory, in the surprise that seemed to say she’d arrived in academia (early career no more! Feminists are welcome here!). [Does this really signal a safety in arriving, a recognition of value and feminist legitimacy? Or does it signal more labour and a requirement to

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‘do something else’]. I tell her to add her award to her email signature, a neat summary quickly conveying who she is as a hyperlinked bio, you know that our colleagues wouldn’t hesitate to toot their own horns [But there’s a borderline between the achieving academic, the celebrity star and the pretentious, overly (self)promotional subject…] Dear Professor Gender, A new call for prestigious funding has landed on my desk, it strikes me that we could easily pull together a very convincing case on something—I’m not sure exactly what—to do with gender. Let me know if you want to collaborate. Sincerely, An Anti-Feminist Director Dear Non-Feminist Director, Thanks for your email, I wonder if you could give me some clarification, who is the ‘we’ that you suggest submit to this scheme? I’m not sure your research specialisms encompass gender? I did previously develop an application for this initiative, but the internal feedback was that gender was ‘too niche’ for the bid to be carried forward. I’ve cc-ed feminist colleagues with gender specialisms. Yours perplexedly, Only-occasionally-acknowledged Feminist Professor The early career feminist is on a panel, it’s a plenary, invitational, all white, with three men. They are introduced, they are Dr-so-and-so, she is friendly, informal, first-name only. They all say their piece, make their presentations. Question time, a man in the front row raises his hand, states his status, and asks her and her only ‘where did your theoretical analysis come from? Was it your supervisor’s suggestion?’ She shares eye rolls with the feminist friends in the room, and later: This experience becomes an anecdote, told to feminist colleagues, the dismissal familiar and shared, the ‘question asker’ discredited, laughed at. Now it becomes empirical material, evidencing the everyday undermining of her expertise, she can take it back, turn it to her own uses, in a publication, she makes it work, reasserts herself, reclaims her credibility. @upandcomingfeminist Given how common it is for women like me to not have our achievements recognised, I’m thrilled to announce my new book, out now!

Accounts of (mis)recognition can be crafted and circulated to claim recognition. This raises an awkward question for feminists seeking recognition for feminist scholarship: how to claim recognition without repeating the class-race-gender structure and terms of that recognition? While we pause to consider this, others have made up their minds and have circulated glossy prospectuses, awardees, shortlists, promotions material,

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their own elaborate signature strips, all with designated titling and with no hesitation: the feminist still pauses on taking up her space and how to extend it beyond herself—how her title might become insult (‘who does she think she is?’), strategy (‘we can feminist’), claim (‘pull us up too!’) and call-out (‘she’s hardly a feminist!’). #Immodestwomen represents a high-profile moment concerning claims to academic recognition, crucially done via sharing experiences of misrecognition. Following these threads, leads us to entangled moments between online and offline experiences, and echoes with ‘imposter’ conversations, where feeling fraudulent is articulated as an everyday academic feeling. In the next section we explore how claims to an imposter position are made and circulated in ways which resonate with, but simultaneously gloss over, entrenched intersectional educational inequalities.

Feminist Impositions? Imposter syndrome, by definition, implies a feeling of not belonging in the face of evidence of fitting in; it is reported as ‘rampant’ in higher education, where ‘everyone’ is said to feel like this—it becomes laughable, unsurprising, and detached from class-race-gender inequalities shaping HE entrance and experience (Taylor & Breeze, 2020). Academics can claim an outsider-on-the-inside imposter position, which implies well-­ documented academic exclusions according to class, race, and gender while simultaneously glossing over and conflating such inequalities with, for instance, feeling out of place. In this telling, ‘everyone’ feels like an imposter, so really no-one is, and the solution becomes to individually just believe in yourself. Imposter syndrome is presented as an internal, private problem separate from the exclusionary and stratifying character of HE (Breeze, 2018). Here we argue again that this everyone and no-one move is doubly depoliticising, simultaneously universalising and individualising imposter syndrome, and bypassing the abundant empirical evidence and theoretical insights on inequalities and exclusions in HE from decades of feminist scholarship (Taylor & Breeze, 2020). It is important therefore to attend to how imposter positionality is claimed and circulated, questioning the notion that we are ‘all imposters’ in the academy. Working in this context, we continue to argue for a conceptual shift from imposter ‘syndrome’ to imposter positionality, a claimed outsider-on-the-inside academic location (Taylor & Breeze, 2020). Such a shift allows a challenge against the de-politicisation of imposter

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syndrome and enables an exploration of how imposter positionality is claimed and to what effect. Where academic imposter syndrome resonates with—yet rarely explicitly names—intersecting structural inequalities, attending to imposter positionality allows us to re-centre the social dynamics involved in telling imposter stories. Here, we play with an agony-aunt advice-seeking format to reposition imposter stories; rather than viewing these as indicative of authentic experiences, or identity positions, we attempt to hold the advice-seeker and advice-giver in tension and ask you how they sound, what do you hear and what stories might you re-impose upon these? Dear Imposter Agony Aunt, I’ve been an academic for 35 years, 25 of those as a professor, and I still don’t feel like I really know what I’m talking about. I’m an internationally recognised expert in my field. I’m very likely to be promoted to a position in senior management leadership before retirement. I’m aware of my privilege. I wish I had been more collegial in my career, and honestly I think it was a lot easier for me to climb the promotions ladder than it is for academics starting out nowadays. My question is what can I do with my feelings of inadequacy? I think I need to tackle this sense of undeserving-ness before my inevitable promotion. Sincerely, A Worried, Over-Promoted Professor Dear Over-Promoted, Your email causes me pause. As you move into (more) seniority and management you have active choices. I do not imagine you as saving the rest of us via your ascendance, nor as a role model for future academics to emulate or aspire to. Instead I hope that you can do something else with your feelings: 1. De-centre your own story: Feeling like an imposter is not the same as being an imposter—occasional self-doubt is not the same as structural sentiments colliding to push you out, to continually re-position and maintain you as the imposter. This is not your reality. 2. Begin to practice the collegiality you say you’ve previously failed at. Go on a course, read a feminist book. Don’t only ‘lead’ the Athena SWAN submission, but do the work—go all ‘equality and diversity’ (and don’t rely on BAME and women colleagues to do it for you). 3. Showcase your colleagues’ research and achievements.

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. Support the strikes, contribute to the hardship fund. 4 5. Do not accept the naming of a University building after you. From, Perplexed Agony Aunt.

Resisting individualised imposter stories, and remaining vigilant about the appropriation of enduring exclusions in the compulsion to ‘tell ourselves’ complicates collective stories of feminist activism, engagement and work, this becomes an imposition we must articulate and do again and again, while always failing in being the feminist fix. At the Equalities and Diversities Training Session: We were instructed to stand in a semi-circle and the facilitator explained that we should to take a step forward if we identified with the called out category. We were told to be respectful and attentive to our reactions, controlling our facial expressions and gestures and leaving questions until the end if, say, we did not understand a particular term. The first few called-out identities involved geographical regions—laughter echoed around the room despite the serious warning… After every category the facilitator asked if there was anything she’d missed out and participants variously took this moment to add in other identifiers asking others to step forward with them as it applied. Sexual identity was called (queer, bisexual, lesbian, gay, heterosexual, allied, pansexual….); gender identity (cis-gender, trans-gender, non-­ binary); nationality, political associations, religion, race, were all called out. The tone became more serious, although colleagues continue to look around, to see who was stepping forward, and coming out, claiming categories. Not all categories are claimed, and silences abound around gender and sexuality. Not all the queers are out, and some of ‘us’ hesitate a foot twitching or tentatively raised, invisibility remaining safer, perhaps more subversive for some, while others are applauded for being out and proud. In calling out race, ‘white’ was left to the end: the overwhelming sound of whiteness was audible as almost the whole room stepped forward. The room laughed, some shuffled uncomfortably. Sat back down at tables, ‘warm up’ activity complete, we get into small groups to complete the worksheet handed around. We are to complete definitions of key diversity terms, ‘what is a lesbian?’ ‘what is a bisexual?’ ‘define gender identity’. The feminist expert on gender and sexuality looks around in disbelief, who designed this training? Who is this aimed at? Why is she here?

Claiming an ambivalent insider/outsider ‘imposter’ positions takes place (for some) alongside career course ascent, and the costs and consequences of opening up and speaking out are mild. Feeling like an imposter

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can be recaptured as desirable reflexivity, modesty even which implies well-­ documented academic exclusions according to class, race, and gender while simultaneously glossing over and conflating such inequalities with, for instance, the insecurity of ‘moving up’ a career stage. Our argument is against the depoliticisation of imposter ‘syndrome’ and career stage categories, and rejects any search for the avowedly authentic academic imposter. While not seeking ‘authentic’ imposters, even in the ‘equalities and diversity training session’ categories are made to stick, the feminist academic is invited and compelled to claim identity positions, with the unequal resonances rebounding in the room, stepping forward with whiteness echoing loudly, compared to quieter shuffles and the hesitancies in identity categories not claimed. Just as the question of who such ‘training’ is designed for (people who don’t know what a lesbian is?!) is brushed over. Here we show the importance of attending to how claims to an insider-outsider imposter position are made and circulated, and interrupting the notion that we are ‘all imposters’ in the academy.

Interrupting Feminist Failures CVs of failure are figured in terms of ‘opening up’ and contributing to a more honest or realistic image of an academic career, and confessing failures in this way seems partly an exercise in politicising otherwise individualised problems, resonating again with long standing feminist strategies. The feminist is, however, regularly tasked with ‘fixing’ her failed CV, to be more expansive than just feminist, and to be ever-expansive as feminist, and the risk of public-failure sharing is fractured by the ways feminism is pre-emptively constituted as failure. As we write we have, over a short period of time, accumulated multiple failures between us—ranging from the failure to secure PhD funding for students, to be selected for prestigious professional bodies and memberships, and to gain applied-for grant income. We have likely failed in our students’, and potentially our colleagues’, expectations of us, sometimes in (not) introducing (enough) ‘feminism’ in our classrooms and corridors. And sometimes by being ‘sell outs’; taking on management positions, speaking management stories, extracting the labour of colleagues (as our labour is extracted). What happens when a CV of failures risks becoming evidence that the feminist really is failing? Failures are only recognised as efforts, and worthy activity, when balanced and recuperated alongside success, and some failures are non-­ recoverable, they stick to the feminist and follow her.

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While we do not want to reassert a public/private or personal/political divide, or argue that the feminist should keep her failures to herself, rather we are interested in the messier effects of telling, and what can be told within the frame of a ‘CV of failures’. Who can speak and who cannot speak of failures in ways not so easily recuperable in narratives of being resilient and overcoming? Who can afford to make public statements and how does ‘failure’ carry and stick differently according to both professional and social status? In posing these questions we return to the imperative to speak, asking whose voices carry, whose failures can be recaptured into rewardable narratives of striving success, through precarity into permanence, or through an interrupted educational trajectory back into entitled employability. What can feminists do in these circumstances and what possibilities does not speaking, refusing to confess (some) failures hold out? Dear Doctor, How do you approach keeping a public presence for your work (successes and failures) on gender and sexuality? Sincerely, Curious PhD Student (who has been advised to ‘tone down’ their queer feminist theory) Dear PhD Student, This is a tricky one, I do keep an online institutional profile (as required by my department), this is also about employment, gathering evidence for promotion, holding space as a visible queer feminist presence… I do think keeping your CV up to date (including online, publically) is sensible and will save you time in the labourous process of continually applying for jobs. When you’re updating be careful about sharing planned publications and other activities, everyone knows that plans change and sometimes things don’t work out, but you don’t want to over-promise, and it’s okay to hold some things back. It is expected that you are vocal about your key achievements, I try to balance this with shouting about colleagues’ success too—it is uncomfortable to be only recognising and promoting yourself. I have been in positions where I was responsible for more collective presences, updating websites for research centres that were under threat (gender and sexuality no longer a strategic priority for the university) which can be time consuming work, so we need to make sure it is recognised as work and distributed fairly. I try to be honest when talking with colleagues about failures (rejected publications, unsuccessful grants), but for me this involves another layer of honesty about how such failures are distributed, and who is more likely to be able to ‘celebrate’ their failures, especially when (as it sounds like you might have encountered) feminist research and teaching is already vulnerable to being dismissed as a failure, not academic enough, too niche…

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Think about how you can make your online presence work for you, and this might involve being strategic and inventive about what you do—and do not—share. Sincerely, Partially Public Feminist Professor

CV of unspeakable feminist failures: 2019 Withdraw from publishing contract with POLICY PRESS REDACTED after contributing author submits a TRANSPHOBIC chapter arguing for A CONSERVATIVE SOCIOLOGY TO REASSERT HETEROSEXUALITY AS THE ‘CORRECT’ FAMILY FORM and coeditor SPEAKS IN FAVOUR OF EXCLUDING TRANS WOMEN FROM WOMENS SPACES IN HIS CAPACITY AS UCU OFFICIAL 2017 Contacted again by XXX, the email is abusive and bullying, stating that I’m XXX and not a feminist. The HR advice is to keep a record, take a screenshot. Should I still be following @XXX ? Mute or unfollow? XXX comments now have a public life. 2016 Collective grievance by the UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES REDACTED union dissolves due to exhaustion. 2015 Collective complaint dismissed by the FUNDING COUNCIL REDACTED on the grounds of THEY DON’T GET INVOLVED IN WORKPLACE ISSUES . 2014 Resignation from LISBON UNIVERSITY REDACTED after sustained period of BULLYING AND TRANSPHOBIA REDACTED on the PROJECT REDACTED project as a post-doctoral researcher. 2013 Dissolution of FEMINIST REDACTED reading group in the wake of conflict on EVERYONE SLEEPING WITH EACH OTHER REDACTED money left in joint bank account inaccessible due to break up of the group. 2011 REDACTED conference hosted at UNIVERSITY OF REDACTED with funding unsuccessfully sought from REDACTED UKRI and fraught unresolvable debate on TRANS RIGHTS REDACTED some delegates leave in tears.

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Conclusion Confessing, telling, and sharing experiences of becoming academic are part of the surveillance and audit logic of the university, yet feminist methods remain ambivalently committed to experiential accounts of becoming academic. In part, this is a problem of making queer feminist ways of knowing legible and recognisable within the terms of dominant (anti-­ feminist, heteronormative) epistemological frameworks. While feminist scholarship becoming legible as ‘proper knowledge’ (Pereira, 2012, 2017) can be necessary for academic entrance and promises the rewards of an academic career, it can also involve sacrificing the political potential of unrecognisability (Cooper, 2012), and the loses that accompany the achievement of legitimacy and recognition (Halberstam, 2011). Sharing and narrating educational journeys, academic career successes and roadblocks ‘honestly’ is positioned as a feminist act, a way to de-mystify the hidden curriculum of academic success and career progression (Bagilhole & White, 2013). ‘Opening up’ is often viewed as an easy way for senior feminist professors to support their early career colleagues (Bahn, 2014). But when we tell the tales of our educational journeys, whether in social media posts, workshops with PhD students, or in publications like this one, decisions about what we foreground and side-line carry a weight— these are not always light stories able to travel and be heard. The stories we tell sit within an economy of telling—institutions tell their own tales about ‘internationalisation’, ‘widening participation’, ‘equality and diversity’, and so on—and these may be exposed as far stretches, or even strange lies. In contemporary invitations, compulsions and seductions to speak, whether online or offline, there are many opportunities to tell our stories, to politicise the personal (again) in line with a long-standing feminist call. However, in telling or confessing (mis)recognition, feelings of imposterism, and failures we risk repeating and sustaining the same stories of the academic self that circulate with certainty, while others struggle to be heard, liked or re-tweeted. We compulsively check our notifications as we unpick the metric logics of citations, we count our followers as we claim feminism as another kind of collegiality and ‘count’. Negotiating this terrain may not just involve hearing more voices or circulating more stories,

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as these proliferate and become patterns or trends (#earlycareeracademic, #immodestwomen, #imposter, #failedCV), but rather may seek to interrupt such tellings. We have attempted to do so in this chapter, aiming to contribute to enduring feminist debates on experiential ways of knowing, while stretching and pushing back against the limitations of reflexive autobiographical tales. We do not claim to have resolved the problems of (mis) recognition, imposter positionality, and failure, but rather stretch to inhabit these problematic potentials, seeing what happens when we do, and do not, speak in recognisable ways. The kind of methods that involve telling a story of the self-overlap with the ideal reflexive, self-knowing self in late modernity (Adkins, 2002) and in the neoliberal university. And this is a problem that collective biography methods must grapple with, since ‘the stories that are told […] might also be thought of as (neoliberal) practices of audit’ (Gannon et  al., 2015, p. 198). Working in the ruins of feminist methods (Lather, 2007) means working within, and pushing against, the limits, and limiting effects, of knowledge generated via accounts based in experience. These tensions inform our experiments with interrupting methods to explore the distribution of different effects of ‘talking about it’, speaking up, and telling personal stories, asking who has the relative power, security, and opportunity to share in ways that lead to recognition and resources. We also ask how feminists might be able to ‘talk about it’ in a way that stretches beyond individual narratives of success and failure, resisting the reified authentic outsider-imposter and refusing recapture into the commodified happy diversity of the university.

References Adkins, L. (2002). Reflexivity and the politics of qualitative research. In T. May (Ed.), Qualitative research in action (pp. 332–348). Sage. Ahmed, S. (2009). Embodying diversity: Problems and paradoxes for Black feminists. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), 41–52. Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and diversity in institutional life. Duke University Press. Bagilhole, B., & White, K. (2013). Generation and gender in academia. Palgrave Macmillan.

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Bahn, K. (2014). Faking it: Women, academia, and impostor syndrome. Chronical Vitae. Retrieved from https://chroniclevitae.com/ news/412-faking-it-women-academia-and-impostor-syndrome Breeze, M. (2018). Imposter syndrome as a public feeling. In Y. Taylor, K. Lahad, & K. (Eds.), Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist flights, fights and failures (pp. 191–220). Palgrave Macmillan. Browne, S. (2014). The women’s liberation movement in Scotland. Manchester University Press. Cooper, C. (2012). Under the radar: Fat activism and the London 2012 Olympics: An interview with Charlotte Cooper. Games Monitor. [Online]. [Accessed 24 June 2012]. Accessed http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/node/1647 Gannon, S., & Gonick, M. (2019). Collective biography as feminist methodology. In G.  Crimmins (Ed.), Strategies for resisting sexism in the academy: Higher education, gender and intersectionality (pp. 207–224). Palgrave Macmillan. Gannon, S., Kligyte, G., McLean, J., Perrier, M., Swan, E., Vanni, I., et al. (2015). Uneven relationalities, collective biography and sisterly affect in neoliberal universities. Feminist Formations, 27(3), 189–216. Gannon, S., Powell, S., & Power, C. (2018). On the thresholds of legitimacy: A collaborative exploration of being and becoming academic. In Y.  Taylor & K. Lahad (Eds.), Feeling academic in the neoliberal university: Feminist fights, flights and failures (pp. 261–281). Palgrave Macmillan. Gannon, S., Walsh, S., Byers, M., & Rajiva, M. (2014). Deterritorializing collective biography. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(2), 181–195. Gill, R. (2010). Breaking the silence: The hidden injuries of neoliberal academia. In R. Flood & R. Gill (Eds.), Secrecy and silence in the research process: Feminist reflections (pp. 228–244). Routledge. Gill, R., & Donaghue, N. (2016). Resilience, apps and reluctant individualism: Technologies of self in the neoliberal academy. Women’s Studies International Forum, 54, 91–99. Gregory, K., & singh, S. S. S. (2018). Anger in academic Twitter: Sharing, caring, and getting mad online. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, 16(1), 176–193. Halberstam, J. (2011). The queer art of failure. Durham: Duke University Press. Hines, S. (2017). The feminist frontier: On trans and feminism. Journal of Gender Studies, 28(2), 145–157. Lather, P. (2007). Getting lost: Feminist efforts towards a double(d) science. State University of New York Press.

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Loveday, V. (2016). Embodying deficiency through ‘affective practice’: Shame, relationality, and the lived experience of social class and gender in higher education. Sociology, 50(6), 1140–1155. Mahony, P., & Zmroczek, C. (1997). Class matters: Working class women’s perspectives on social class. Taylor and Francis. Oakley, A. (1998). Gender, methodology and people’s ways of knowing: Some problems with feminism and the paradigm debate in social science. Sociology, 32(4), 707–731. Orton-Johnson, K., Prior, N., & Gregory K. (2015). Sociological imagination: Digital sociology and the future of the discipline. Special section on digital sociology. The Sociological Review. Retrieved from https://www.thesociologicalreview.com/blog/sociological-imagination-digital-sociology-and-thefuture-of-the-discipline.html Pereira, M. d. M. (2012). ‘Feminist theory is proper knowledge but…’: The status of feminist scholarship in the academy. Feminist Theory, 13(3), 283–303. Pereira, M. d. M. (2016). Struggling within and beyond the performative university: Articulating activism and work in an ‘academic without walls’. Women’s Studies International Forum, 54, 100–110. Pereira, M. d. M. (2017). Power, knowledge and feminist Scholarship: An ethnography of academia. Routledge. Pereira, M. d. M. (2018). Boundary work that does not work: Social inequalities and the non-performativity of scientific boundary-work. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 44(2), 338–365. Riddell, F. (2018, June 8). We need #ImmodestWomen when so many men are unable to accept female expertise. New Statesman. Retrieved from https:// www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2018/06/we-need-immodestwomen-when-so-many-men-are-unable-accept-female-expertise singh, s. s. (2015). Hashtagging #HigherEd. In N. Rambukkana (Ed.), Hashtag publics: The power and politics of discursive networks (pp. 267–277). Peter Lang. Skeggs, B. (2002). Techniques for telling the reflexive self. In T.  May (Ed.), Qualitative research in action (pp. 349–374). Sage. Stanley, L. (1993). On auto/biography in sociology. Sociology, 27(1), 41–52. Stefan, M. (2010). A CV of failures. Nature, 468, 467. Tauqir, T., Petzen, J., Haritaworn, J., Ekine, S., Brackle, S., Lamble, S., et  al. (2011). Queer anti-racist activism and strategies of critique: A rountable discussion. Feminist Legal Studies, 19, 169–191. Taylor, Y. (2013). Queer encounters of sexuality and class: Navigating emotional landscapes of academia. Emotion, Space and Society, 8, 51–58.

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Taylor, Y., & Breeze, M. (2020). All imposters in the university? Striking (out) claims on academic Twitter. Women’s Studies International Forum. [article accepted and in production]. THE. (2020). About us. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation. com/about-us Tokarczyk, M. M., & Fay, E. A. (Eds.). (1993). Working-class women in the academy: Laborers in the knowledge factory. University of Massachusetts Press.

CHAPTER 6

Conclusion: Repeating Feminism, Interrupting Ourselves

Abstract  In this final chapter we reflect back on the previous chapters in conversation with where we are writing from now, after industrial action and in the middle of a global pandemic. We draw together the arguments from each chapter, encompassing the repetitions and interruptions we have traced. A great deal about how feminists do feminist work in the nonfeminist university is already known, in decades of cumulative research accounts and in everyday knowing. In attending to repetitions and interruptions across the career course we hope to have contributed to this body of knowledge, as well as questioning four conventions: how feminists take up space across the career course, feminist approaches to educational mobilities, caring across the career course, leadership, and ways of knowing based on experiential accounts of the academic self. We consider how feminist academics encounter a particular problem—which isn’t unique to feminist academics and isn’t the only problem feminist academics encounter—of struggling for the recognition of their work whilst simultaneously seeking to intervene in and transform the parameters of academic recognition, success, and belonging. In doing so we question how established conventions in feminist academic practice might shift when thought of in terms of repetition, and interruption. We look for ways to inhabit, and perhaps find ways through, the knotty contradictions of feminist academic work that doesn’t (only) rely on feminists working harder, repeating themselves more loudly, or simply saying ‘no’. © The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9_6

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Keywords  Feminism • Academic career • Repetitions • Interruptions University announcement: International Women’s Day is on 8 March 2020 and we are proud to be hosting Women’s Week, to celebrate our senior female academics who have been appointed or promoted to a Chair, and to lift up all our inspiring women role models Again? Where’s the feminism?! And in the middle of a strike about the gender pay gap. What a cynical institutional ploy. And yet, shouldn’t we be in the shiny promotional materials? The feminists should be included, our work recognized!

As we got closer to finishing this book (multiple deadlines already missed and priorities renegotiated), we stopped. We stopped as Universities and College (UCU) industrial action took place (again, for the third time in two years), with over 70 UK institutions participating in strikes over pensions, casualisation, pay inequalities, and workloads. As we stopped, we also (re)started and repeated our previous strike participation, placard writing, picketing, and feeling the cold just as in the 2018 UCU pension strikes. Stopping and re-starting, sometimes interruptions become repetitions. The industrial action included demands and complaints about the entrenched gender pay gap in universities; neither of us was surprised by this still being an issue requiring attention, having variously negotiated, fell between and bridged those ‘gaps’ in our academic careers. However, as the gender pay gap was evidenced and discovered anew, circulated as a fact, an injustice, an urgency in need of attention, it was detached from feminist insight and analysis, and we wondered again about the place of feminist repetitions and interruptions, including in struggles and well-­ meaning attempts to ‘fix’ the university. While some (non-feminists?) in our union’s local branch made confident proclamations that the gender pay gap was a simple issue we stopped to listen to the simplicity we’d supposedly overlooked in doing feminism and being feminist in academia. While we wondered others decided that feminists, simply, were the answer—a strange ‘spot the feminist(s)’ ensued in which we became the solution—asked to come forward, stand for and signal feminism, this time on behalf of the Union, a feminism by association. They’ve identified the feminists in the room, and now they want us to do something. We say this not as anti-union sentiment, but rather to probe at who and what becomes collective, within the calls for collective

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action? What is noticed and how does this circulate in new and old (in) visibilities? For its part, our university, along with others, organised a ‘Women’s Week’ during the strike period. Women’s Week activities were advertised with sign-up lists encouraging women into leadership and career advancement programmes, an unspoken and unacknowledged feminism in the background of the career course as a to-do list; join a workshop, become a leader, step-forward! Women were illuminated in leadership positions, smiling from brochures having successfully built their confidence and benefited from networking dinners. One of us met herself in her own inbox as the university sent her photograph, alongside other women academics, to email-­all lists in a glossy brochure celebrating their, our, achievements: she met herself smiling and felt fraudulent. The university and the union repeat these dynamics—celebrating women while systematically paying us less, ignoring feminist analyses unless they can offer a quick fix—that have been identified, analysed, and long criticised by feminists. Universities commit fraud in attempts to gloss over structural inequalities. While it is certainly easier to criticise The University, neither the university nor the union really listened to feminists or feminisms—and they definitely didn’t mention, or think about queer feminists, including as we repeated ourselves, again, on the picket line and in carefully worded emails re: Women’s Week, re: The Gender Pay Gap. Some colleagues noticed women for the first time—in the glossy brochure or in the union meeting. Some asked her to do more to bridge (her) gender pay gap. In union meetings, some spoke of the sacrifice workers make for their families, including thanking their nameless wives at home doing the parenting; she was asked to cover her colleagues’ workload for the duration (‘you have no children!’). Both the union and the university can claim that they care about, act upon, gender inequality; these items then become newsworthy but the news is often the same. Gender is continually positioned as having been taken into account with institutions—including unions—displaying a supposed commitment to gender equality, often without listening to feminists or considering feminist analyses. In her work on complaint, Ahmed (2020) has diagnosed how ‘You have to shout because you are not heard. If you have to shout because you are not heard, you are heard as shouting’ (n.p.). Academic feminists repeat themselves because rarely is anyone listening. In stopping, we pause on the social times that we currently inhabit in and beyond the university. We finished writing this conclusion in the wake

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of industrial action(s), and in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic. In writing we do not know where this will lead universities, at a time of massive institutional change, from moving wholesale to online provision, to institutional mandating of ‘recuperation days’ and advice to do ‘what you can’ in terms of research (where energies are redirected to the ‘front line’ of teaching), redundancies loom, and the gender politics of working in the home are contested and reinscribed. In the midst of this crisis, some institutions have made and/or threatened to make precarious staff unemployed; others have offered partial reassurance in thin claims that ‘business as usual’ applies for now. Much work is postponed or cancelled, with conferences, workshops and research audits pushed back, such disruption can be ambivalently welcomed in mobilising enduring calls for ‘slow scholarship’, against impossible workloads and the career-making judgements inscribed in endless ranking and rating of research outputs. However, we are cautious about where this work (preparation for postponed conferences, seminar activities now moved online, readiness for REF) will go, especially if delayed or re-worked at a distance rather than cancelled, and what will happen to those already invested, whose promotions, and becoming-academic depend on it, who and what will be resourced? Fraught claims are made on #academictwitter and in email inboxes, some claim more time to write, others remind that a pandemic is not a writing retreat! Others are prompted that their reviews are still required, that chapter is still due, their work still expected. The distribution of devalued care work is contested it is impossible to work full time and care for children! as the normative family is re-centered as the locus of productive and re-productive labours, paid and unpaid, and others are tasked up with more work, additional tasks, and queer cares. Others are grieving, and trying to recover. Alongside the devastating pandemic we remember that The University, like many of our social institutions and infrastructures, was already in crisis, already re-producing distinctions in who can access resources and be recognised for their work. Crisis can be, and has been met with cares—we see this in colleagues’ actions—and we note again the longstanding feminist calls for collaborative cares, displacing the burden of care on the usual suspects. We become the usual suspects. We write this conclusion in between checking-in on colleagues, arranging for ‘reasonable adjustment’ provision for colleagues with disabilities (and finding out that it is, of course, lower paid women administrators tasked with provision), and caring for students—including those displaced from campus, those who’ve returned to international

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locations, and those who do not have a home or family to go to. We wonder what online provisioning will mean for teaching and if we are rendering ourselves redundant. We wonder what the ‘academic job market’ will look like in the years ahead, what the university will look like, and imagine budgets contracted, departments strategically prioritised over others, ‘difficult decisions’ being made. We write as colleagues, friends and family members care for us as we care for them—we, like them, face limitations and feel the limits of care and the extent of carelessness. We retreat and we extend. Amidst all these fast changes, there are familiar repetitions in who does feminist work in the university, and whose work is recognised and rewarded. * * * Feminist academics encounter a particular problem—which isn’t unique to feminist academics and isn’t the only problem feminist academics encounter—of struggling for the recognition of their work whilst simultaneously seeking to intervene in and transform the parameters of academic recognition, success, and belonging. This dynamic plays out in relation to feminist inhabitations of the career course, feminist ways of knowing (Pereira, 2017), feminist leadership (Morley, 2013), feminist approaches to care and cross-career mentorship and collaboration (Breeze & Taylor, 2018). These in turn play out in relation to shifting socio-political climates and crises, including the marketization and internationalisation of the ‘neoliberal university’, as institutions lurch from one re-branding exercise to another, and recreate staff and student working conditions. Ahmed (2020) summarizes feminist struggles as paradoxical, since ‘in order to survive institutions, we need to transform them. But we still need to survive the institutions we are trying to transform’ (n.p.). Given this overarching problem, we set out to re-think a selection of repetitive feminist conventions in inhabiting, collaborating across, and contesting as well as performing according to, the academic career course. We started with the well-trod tensions, contradictions, and paradoxes of feminist work in the non-feminist (perhaps anti-feminist) university. A familiar observation and frustration exists in finding ways to inhabit the university; feminist academics find themselves in ambivalent positions, perhaps despising the rules (Butterwick & Dawson, 2005) of academic hierarchies and academic careers just as we are compelled to work to fit and prove ourselves within them. Understanding feminists as only radical,

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critical, disruptive academic presences is clearly an oversimplification, as is conceptualizing feminists as complicit, depoliticized, docile academic subjects. Such binary positionings also homogenize and gloss over the differences between feminists and simplify the problem as resolvable by the eternally good feminist; research has shown us that it is always certain (classed, raced) women that are bestowed with such capacities, while we are also concerned with the way that she will likely fail and fall short. We set out with the observation that feminist academic subjectivities encompass movement and ambivalence: … static representations of women as dislocated, marginalised and in exile within the university can articulate different ways of being in a space, and have been politically effective, they often fail to articulate how academic women move across and between centre and margin and embody more mobile subjectivities in the neoliberal university. (Lipton, 2019, pp. 21–22)

Feminists have long documented and analyzed the ‘perverse pleasures’ that inhere in feminist ‘persistent (over?) commitments to intellectual labour’ (Hey, 2004, p. 33). Davies et al. (2005, p. 352) have noted the ‘joy that comes from an increased capacity to act on work that we are passionate about’, and academic (over) work can be felt as a pleasurable success. Such commitments and pleasures are stretched in reaching towards the moving targets of arriving at an academic career, or becoming academic. Persuing an academic career in a context of casualisation and cuts, as responsibilised neoliberal workers, can involve ‘agonizing about how to make ourselves strong enough or competent enough or clever enough or healthy enough to do this job well’ (Davies et  al., 2005, p.  359). The frustrations—and pleasures—of feminist academic work are often felt between a rock and a hard place: damned if you do, damned if you don’t feminist academic successes are subject to failures on all sides. These sides say one is insufficiently ‘academic’ (as supposedly disinterested, objective, apolitical) and/or insufficiently feminist (as disconnected from community and activism, too self-interested, elite out-of-touch intellectual). The feminist academic is dismissed as too academic to be feminist enough and too feminist to be academic enough. For us it is necessary to keep the both/and ‘insider-outsider’ status of feminist academics central to our exploration of repetitions and interruptions across the career course (Morley, 2014; Taylor & Breeze, 2020). We are also aware that critical analyses of universities are themselves

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implicated in the reproduction of the institution, as academic critique of the university can ‘allow(s) us to experience ourselves as if we are outside of the institution while remaining firmly ensconced in its liberal narrative of self-valorization’ (Boggs, Meyerhoff, Mitchell, & Schartz-Weinstein, 2019, p. 5). Feminist academics work in compromised conditions of possibility, by definition. In focusing on the ‘… middle ranges of agency that offer space for effectual creativity and change’ (Sedgwick, 2003, pp. 12–13), avoiding absolutes of resistance/reproduction we look to the messy middle ground, asking what feminist academics repeatedly do—and might do otherwise—as we negotiate academic careers in non-feminist universities. We remember that ‘feminists are at ease with discomfort’ and that the ‘mess’ of feminist work is ‘the only way we are going to get closer to understanding and changing lives and injustices’ (Harcourt et al., 2015, p. 161). In doing so we questioned how our understandings of established conventions in feminist academic practice might shift when thought of in terms of repetition, and interruption. We looked for ways to inhabit, and perhaps find ways through, the knotty contradictions of feminist academic work that doesn’t (only) rely on feminists working harder, repeating themselves more loudly, or simply saying ‘no’. As such we took up a repetitive and circuitous feminist project, that of understanding the conditions of our own work, including how we know and understand the conditions we work in (Bacevic, 2019). Over and over again feminists have broken the supposed ‘taboo’ of research on the academy and on ourselves. This repetition informed our methods, which involved an element of ‘returning again to what one already knows’ (Sedgwick, 2003, p.  124). We grappled with re-thinking very familiar, repetitive accounts of feminist experiences of academic careers in ways that allowed us to interrupt ourselves, and disperse the ‘good’ reflexive subjects (Adkins, 2002) who only authorise themselves to speak. This involved an iterative process, in not only generating but also in returning to fragmented interruptions as data, working over and re-working our empirical material. A great deal about how feminists do feminist work in the non-­ feminist university is already known, in decades of cumulative research accounts and in everyday knowings. In attending to repetitions and interruptions across the career course we hoped to contribute to this body of knowledge, as well as question four conventions involved in the ways that feminists take up space across the career course; feminist approaches to educational mobilities, caring across the career course, leadership, and ways of knowing based on experiential accounts of the academic self.

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* * * We began this book thinking about how feminist academic practice, and feminists themselves, stretch and push up against the definitional boundaries, entitlements and responsibilities of career course categories, at the same time as mobilising career categories in claims for resources and recognition for doing feminist work. In foregrounding how feminists take up academic space via the career course we ask how possibilities for feminist transformations of higher education, albeit constrained, play out in the ways that feminists negotiate, re-work, and compromise with the career course. We identified how many aspects of feminist academic work are labouriously repetitive, as feminist insights are glossed over, ignored, and incorporated in the non-feminist university and feminists encounter the necessity and frustration of repeating themselves, making feminist moves and evidencing feminist arguments, over and over again. A key feminist repetition lies in continuously turning feminist analytical and theoretical tools ‘back’ towards the university. We made the case for our creative and collaborative interruption methods, combining techniques from collective biography and sociological fiction with insights from feminist criticism of the reflexive turn in social science, to foreground interruptions as particularly appropriate for investigating feminist inhabitations of career categories. Throughout we attend to how feminists in the academy repeat themselves, interrupt the non-feminist university, and are themselves interrupted across the career course. In Chap. 2 we considered educational journeys, as recognizing feminist arrivals and mobilities in higher education (HE), and celebrating feminists’ presences and achievements across the career course is one contested strategy for feminist transformations of the academy. We questioned the repetitions involved in feminists moving on up academic careers by historicising educational arrivals and looking to those figures now illuminated and celebrated as the ‘first’ entrants into prestigious institutions. Drawing on fragmented, interrupted, and fictionalised accounts we re-considered how feminists make career moves and get stuck across institutional hierarchies and (dis)locations, international (im)mobilities, and in doing queer feminist academic work. The chapter aimed to broaden contemporary career debates from a limited focus on the early career as definitionally precarious which position established career stages by contrast as exclusively secure. Amidst proliferating attention to becoming academic it is essential to situate feminist educational ‘arrivals’ in the context of

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enduring, and repetitive, educational journeys illuminating what feminists carry, and how career course trajectories are interrupted, and stretch—not always successfully—across career categories. In Chap. 3 we turned to caring careering, beginning with the observation that knots of ambivalence surround feminist approaches to care across the career course. Feminist cares are interpreted as hindering careers (she cares too much, her collegiality is taken advantage of, supporting students and colleagues is not recognized in promotions processes) and as helping the feminist to advance (we need to look out for each other, build our own networks, lift each other up, find a mentor!). Avoiding characterizing care work as either inherently feminist or as unavoidably reinscribing normative femininity, this chapter drew upon a rich and long-established field of feminist scholarship, in order to re-think feminist approaches to doing care, exploring (1) who is recognised for their caring labours, and who is expected to care for others across the career course, considering how embracing (or demanding) care-full collaboration as feminist praxis risks repeating the over-burdening of academic women in general and feminist academics specifically with devalued work. (2) The (mis)recognition of queer feminist cares in dominant care frameworks, interrupting normative (re)productive family forms, and unsettling the gender essentialism and heteronormativity of care. (3) Asking how and whether in failing care queerly, feminists can care (and not care) across the career course in ways that resist recapture by greedy institutions ever hungry for under- and unpaid feminist, as well as feminized, labour. In doing so we extended long-standing feminist debates about the relationship between caring and careering, including asking how to make the vital labour of care and social reproduction ‘visible, valued, and equitably distributed’ (Weeks, 2011, p. 13) while simultaneously refusing both the re-inscription of a normative and essentialized caring femininity and the over-burdening of individual feminists with the weight of care-full feminist collectivity. In Chap. 4 we re-visited feminist orientations to academic leadership, and consider how occupying senior positions can be understood in part as a strategy for institutional transformation. While increasing numbers of women in leadership can be mobilised, even celebrated, as evidence of ‘gender equality’, there is a crucial distinction between women in leadership positions, and feminist leadership which can involve leveraging seniority in pursuit of feminist goals, including interrupting such hierarchies. We showed how both feminism and leadership are positioned in terms of a deferral by which the (future, potential) feminist leader is encouraged to

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wait (not now, not yet, don’t rock the boat, wait for promotion). The future feminist leader is readily denigrated in terms of excess (too feminist, too ambitious, working too hard, ascending too fast), with feminism as something to be saved-for-later in the career course. We then considered how leadership is conceptualized and practiced in feminist mentoring as well as formalized in ‘women’s leadership development’ programmes. The former depends upon vital yet devalued feminist labour and can involve sharing feminist strategies for both playing the game and changing the rules; the latter (in some ways an institutionalized iteration of mentorship) can repeat a deficit model with women learning the leadership skills they supposedly lack. Thirdly we look to how feminist leadership is certified and made institutionally recognisable in equality initiatives such as Athena SWAN, asking how feminist leadership is measured and made to count, sitting awkwardly within, and stretching to interrupt, dominant definitions and discourses of academic leadership. In Chap. 5 we explored how feminist academics are invited and even compelled to share and narrate their experiences of becoming academic. Specifically, how personal accounts of (mis)recognition, feeling like an imposter, and failure are implicated in feminists taking up space across the career course. We returned to feminist methodological debates, and question how experiential ways of knowing—via the self—are used as empirical material. This chapter was inspired and contextualised by three examples of telling or storying academic selves, which take place online as well as face-to-face: the #immodestwomen hashtag on academic Twitter, the increasing attention to and confessing of ‘imposter syndrome’, and the production and circulation of ‘CVs of failure’. We suggested that such instances are fractured by career categories and entrenched intersectional inequalities, and moreover, conceptualise each as an example of how becoming-academic is narrated to both claim and contest academic recognition. We situated the three examples of academics being invited, advised, or compelled to share their experiences in relation to enduring feminist debates about the epistemological and political significance of experiential knowledge, including the limits of reflexivity, confessional modes of telling, and the commodification of diversity stories. As such this chapter returns to our methodological concern with feminist research that remains ambivalently committed to accounts of our own experiences as empirical material, as we ask how feminists can continue to work with such methods in fragmented, fractured, and interrupted ways.

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* * * Having attended to the things that ‘we’ repeatedly say and do shows us not only how feminist work makes more work (by drawing attention to the work that still needs to be done) but enables an exploration of what feminist repetitions bring into being, the assumptions that they reinscribe, possibilities opened up and shut down. Interrupting some of the familiar feminist patterns and paradoxes that we repeatedly encounter and embody in (still) negotiating an academic career demonstrates the ambivalent investments and attachments that characterise doing feminism in the university. So many solutions to the problem of the non-feminist university require the figure of the feminist to do more and work harder: to be more (upwardly) mobile, care and collaborate more, lead more innovatively and efficiently, hold institutional space for feminism, and all the while she is asked to tell the story of her awkward academic self. Other options are offered which valorise working less, slowing down, being more realistic; don’t try and ascend the career ladder too fast, relax a little, save your feminism for later, accept the reality of the hierarchy, say thank you and celebrate kindness, step back so your mentee can come forward, open up about your insecurities, embrace your failures. Quick fixes that hold out the unreliable promise than individual-level tweaks and efforts can remedy the profoundly unequal structures we inhabit are seductive, but we have to confront the possibility that we repeat such feminist strategies so frequently precisely because they don’t work; or rather, even when they are effective (opening the door to the university a little wider, smashing up some of the institutional furniture that at other times we compliantly polish) the feminist work of transforming the institution requires repetition, not only across careers but across generations and decades. If we acknowledge how feminist efforts at transformation are re-­ captured, co-opted, incorporated, and how invested in the status quo feminists can be once we have ‘arrived’, then what possibilities for action does this open up? We have questioned optimistic visions of future feminist successes, as well as the hopeful future offered via promises of mobility via an academic career. But we also hesitate around overly-celebratory reclamations of ‘failure’, especially as these are made to stick to some academic subjectivities and not others, and as the failures of the feminist stand in for a failed feminism. Given the provisional, iterative, and incremental character of feminist successes (the gender studies department persists under threat of cuts and redundancies, the feminist professor moves on to

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a new role—starting again in making noise and taking up space), feminist repetitions are absolutely necessary. There is always more work to be done, including in revising and re-visiting, as well as interrupting, the ways that feminists work towards bringing a (more) feminist university in to being. Working in the perpetually in-crisis university, acknowledging how thoroughly un-feminist the universities we ‘arrive’ in are, bridging gaps and plugging leaks, we hope that reading this book has helped you reflect upon your own feminist practice, and invited new ideas on how feminist repetitions and interruptions can be put to use.

References Adkins, L. (2002). Reflexivity and the politics of qualitative research. In T. May (Ed.), Qualitative research in action (pp. 332–348). Sage. Ahmed, S. (2020, March 23). Complaint and survival. Feminist Killjoys. Retrieved from https://feministkilljoys.com/2020/03/23/complaint-and-survival/ Bacevic, J. (2019). Knowing neoliberalism. Social Epistemology: A Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Policy, 33(4), 380–392. Boggs, A., Meyerhoff, E., Mitchell, N., & Schartz-Weinstein, Z. (2019). Abolitionist university studies: An invitation. Abolition. Retrieved from https://abolitionjournal.org/abolitionist-university-studies-an-invitation/ Breeze, M., & Taylor, Y. (2018). Feminist collaborations in higher education: Stretched across career stages. Gender and Education, 32(3), 412–428. Butterwick, S., & Dawson, J. (2005). Undone business: Examining the production of academic labour. Women’s Studies International Forum, 28(1), 51–65. Davies, B., Browne, J., Gannon, S., Honan, E., & Sommerville, M. (2005). Embodied women at work in neoliberal times and places. Gender, Work & Organisation, 12, 343–362. Harcourt, W., Ling, L.  H. M., Zalewski, M., & Swiss International Relations Collective (Elisabeth Prügl, Rahel Kunz, Jonas Hagmann, Xavier Guillaume and Jean-Christophe Graz). (2015). Assessing, engaging, and enacting worlds. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 17(1), 158–172. Hey, V. (2004). Perverse pleasures: Identity work and the paradoxes of greedy institutions. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5(3), 33–43. Lipton, B. (2019). Closed doors: Academic collegiality, isolation, competition and resistance in the contemporary Australian University. In M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, & C.  Costa (Eds.), Time and space in the neoliberal university: Futures and fractures in higher education (pp. 15–42). Palgrave Macmillan. Morley, L. (2013). The rules of the game: Women and the leaderist turn in higher education. Gender and Education, 25(1), 116–131.

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Morley, L. (2014). Lost leaders: Women in the global academy. Higher Education Research and Development, 33(1), 114–128. Pereira, M. d. M. (2017). Power, knowledge and feminist scholarship: An ethnography of academia. Routledge. Sedgwick, E. K. (2003). Touching feeling: Affect, pedagogy, performativity. Duke University Press. Taylor, Y., & Breeze, M. (2020). All imposters in the university? Striking (out) claims on academic Twitter. Women’s Studies International Forum, 81(102367). Weeks, K. (2011). The problem with work: Feminism, marxism, antiwork politics and postwork imaginaries. Duke University Press.

Index1

A Advice, 11–13, 36–38, 59, 60, 62, 72, 75–78, 92–94, 116 Agony aunt, 102, 103 Annual review, 19 Arrival, 5, 12, 21, 30, 31, 33, 34, 40, 43, 44, 96, 97, 120 Athena SWAN, 41, 71, 74, 75, 82–84, 102, 122 B Becoming academic, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 15, 21, 30, 63, 92, 94, 96, 97, 107, 116, 118, 120, 122 C Care, vi, viii, ix, 4, 21, 43, 45, 50–65, 85, 115–117, 121, 123 Casualisation, 2, 12, 97, 114, 118

Class, 4, 6, 9–12, 16, 31, 32, 41, 43, 44, 58, 73, 76, 80, 95–97, 101, 104 Collaboration, 4, 8, 14, 19, 21, 53, 54, 56, 117, 121 Collective biography, 7, 14–18, 20, 96, 97, 108, 120 Collectivity, 51, 53, 54, 58, 61, 121 Collegiality, 51, 53, 55–58, 62, 102, 107, 121 Commodification, 31, 75, 94, 96, 122 Curriculum vitae (CV), 38, 44, 56, 82, 93, 95, 104, 105 D (Dis)location, 30, 33–36, 120 Diversity, 6, 8, 11, 31, 40–43, 53, 55, 75, 82, 94, 96, 102–104, 107, 108, 122

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.

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© The Author(s) 2020 M. Breeze, Y. Taylor, Feminist Repetitions in Higher Education, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53661-9

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INDEX

E Early career, ix, 2, 5, 10–12, 30, 32, 38, 41, 55, 73, 75–77, 79, 80, 87, 93, 99, 100, 107, 120 Email, 4, 14, 17, 19, 20, 35, 37, 55–57, 62, 81, 85, 86, 98–100, 102, 115, 116 Epistemology, 8 Equality, 7, 17, 41, 53, 58, 61, 70–72, 74, 75, 82–84, 102, 107, 115, 122 Established career, 5, 10, 13, 30, 120 Experience, 4, 6, 8, 10–21, 32, 39, 80, 83, 85, 92–98, 100–102, 107, 108, 119, 122 F Failure, vii, viii, 7, 14, 18, 21, 32, 34, 41, 43, 44, 59, 61, 62, 70–88, 92–95, 97, 104–108, 118, 122, 123 Femininity, 121 Funding, 4, 5, 10, 11, 19, 32, 35, 39, 40, 56, 63, 73, 75, 76, 83, 84, 93, 100, 104 Future, 5, 11, 12, 18, 21, 33, 35, 38, 44, 63, 64, 70–88, 97, 102, 121–123 G Gender, 2, 3, 6, 10–12, 16, 31, 41–44, 50, 54, 58, 59, 61, 63, 65, 72–74, 76, 80, 82–84, 87, 96, 99–101, 103–105, 114–116, 121, 123 Getting stuck, 12, 21, 30–45 H Heteronormativity, 50, 54, 58, 59, 121 Hierarchy, 16, 39, 76, 77, 82, 87, 123

I Imposter syndrome, vi, 92, 93, 101, 102, 122 Individualisation/individualised/ individualistic, 5, 32, 50, 51, 55, 57, 94, 95, 103, 104 Inequalities, viii, ix, 2, 4, 6, 10, 12, 16, 31, 34, 41, 43–45, 54, 72–74, 76, 82, 92, 94, 96, 101, 102, 104, 114, 115, 122 Intersectional, 76, 94, 101, 122 K Knowing, 3, 15–18, 21, 35, 92–108, 117, 119, 122 M Masculinity, 43, 52 Mentor, 4, 18, 19, 71, 73, 79–82 Meritocracy, 10 Methods, 3, 7, 14–20, 79, 94, 96, 97, 107, 108, 119, 120, 122 (Mis)recognition, 10, 54, 58, 92, 94, 95, 97–101, 107, 108, 121, 122 Mobility, 2, 4, 11, 12, 21, 30, 32–34, 36, 39, 43, 44, 50, 52, 119, 120, 123 N Non-feminist university, 3, 9, 43, 65, 73–75, 88, 119, 120, 123 P Performance, vi, vii, 2, 9, 14, 15, 17, 32, 41, 84, 87 PhD, v–vii, 2, 6, 10–12, 19, 31, 32, 35, 37–40, 42, 51, 56, 57, 73, 77, 78, 83, 85, 92, 97, 98, 104, 107 Precarity, ix, 5, 10–12, 73, 105

 INDEX 

Privilege, 12, 16, 38, 57, 88, 102 Professor, v, vi, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 31, 32, 35, 40, 57, 58, 62, 72, 76–78, 83–85, 92, 93, 99, 102, 107, 123 Promotion, 5, 6, 10–12, 14, 32, 35, 41, 42, 51, 53, 54, 56, 60, 70–72, 75–77, 82, 83, 85–87, 94, 100, 102, 105, 116, 121, 122 Q Queer, 4, 5, 9, 18, 21, 30, 33, 43–45, 50–65, 71, 74, 88, 103, 105, 107, 115, 116, 120, 121 R Race, 4, 6, 10–12, 31, 44, 58, 73, 76, 80, 96, 97, 100, 101, 103, 104 Recognition, 3–5, 8, 13, 19, 34, 44, 55, 57, 64, 65, 73, 74, 82, 83, 87, 92–94, 96, 98–101, 107, 108, 117, 120, 122 Reflexivity, 15, 16, 94, 104, 122 Research, viii, 3, 4, 6–8, 10–17, 19, 20, 32, 34–37, 39, 42, 50, 53, 55, 60, 64, 73, 75, 78, 82, 84–87, 94, 95, 98–100, 102, 105, 116, 118, 119, 122 S School, 32, 33, 35, 41, 44 Self, 15–17, 34, 75, 92, 93, 95, 96, 107, 108, 119, 122, 123

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Seniority, 70, 82, 102, 121 Social reproduction, 8, 9, 50, 52, 121 Sociological fiction, 7, 14, 17, 20, 120 Story, vi, viii, 13, 14, 16–18, 31, 33, 37, 40, 44, 62, 64, 80, 93–97, 102–104, 107, 108, 122, 123 Stratification, 6, 9, 34 Strike, 2, 100, 103, 114, 115 Student, v, vi, viii, 2, 6, 10, 18, 19, 31, 36–38, 41, 42, 51, 54–59, 73, 78, 85, 86, 95, 99, 104, 107, 116, 117, 121 Subjectivity, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 19, 20, 40–42, 59, 75, 96, 97, 118, 123 Supervision, 51 T Teaching, vi, vii, 12, 19, 35, 39, 42, 56, 57, 59, 62, 95, 105, 116, 117 U Un-feminist university, 21 W Work, vi, vii, 2–10, 12, 15–17, 19, 21, 30, 32, 33, 35, 37, 39–42, 50–62, 64, 65, 72, 73, 76, 78, 79, 82–84, 88, 93–98, 100, 102, 103, 105, 106, 114–124