In light of the critiques of academe that a number of the writers articulate, consider your position as an “academic” in higher education – particularly related to your gender, race, class (background), and sexual identity (think intersectionality and theorize and critique as women of color).

Academia continues to instill solely Western, male patriarchal values into its students.  It is a function of the system of white privilege and does not often allow students the opportunity to come to awareness of the systemization of white male patriarchy in America and its institutions.   James Berlin’s book Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures:  Refiguring College English Studies, which I studied for my final paper in a composition theory course, is the only other work I have studied as an undergraduate student, graduate student in education, or as a nondegree-seeking graduate student in rhetoric and composition that has addressed the issues around white supremacy.  The use of autocritography lend authenticity and passion to writing done by feminists, and this emotion is lacking in academia because it is not considered “scientific.”  The sole us of “scientific” writing and knowledge ignores the experiences of nonwestern peoples and the ways of knowing that exist for many societies that are not white or European-based.  In addition, the idea of women’s intuition and spiritual intelligence are completely ignored, ways of knowing that do not involve “science” or “logic.”  As an academic, I now recognize the validity of multiple ways of knowing and demonstrating that knowledge through writing.  Just as conflicting ideas can exist without conflict in a person (such as loving a person who is homosexual and encouraging that person to seek fulfilling relationships while acknowledging and questioning my own beliefs as dictated by Christianity that conclude that the homosexual is committing a sin), so too can academic writing allow for multiple means of expression in “academic” matters.

Berlin, James.  Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures:  Refiguring College English Studies.  West Lafayette, IN:  Parlor Press, 2003.


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