In this Book

Transforming the Ivory Tower

People outside and within colleges and universities often view these institutions as fair and reasonable, far removed from the inequalities that afflict society in general. Despite greater numbers of women, working class people, and people of color—as well as increased visibility for LGBTQ students and staff—over the past fifty years, universities remain “ivory towers” that perpetuate institutionalized forms of sexism, classism, racism, and homophobia. Transforming the Ivory Tower builds on the rich legacy of historical struggles to open universities to dissenting voices and oppressed groups. Each chapter is guided by a commitment to praxis—the idea that theoretical understandings of inequality must be applied to concrete strategies for change.

The common misconception that racism, sexism, and homophobia no longer plague university life heightens the difficulty to dismantle the interlocking forms of oppression that undergird the ivory tower. Contributors demonstrate that women, LGBTQ people, and people of color continue to face systemic forms of bias and discrimination on campuses throughout the U.S. Curriculum and pedagogy, evaluation of scholarship, and the processes of tenure and promotion are all laden with inequities both blatant and covert. The contributors to this volume defy the pressure to assimilate by critically examining personal and collective struggles. Speaking from different social spaces and backgrounds, they analyze antiracist, feminist, and queer approaches to teaching and mentoring, research and writing, academic culture and practices, growth and development of disciplines, campus activism, university-community partnerships, and confronting privilege.

Transforming the Ivory Tower will be required reading for all students, faculty, and administrators seeking to understand bias and discrimination in higher education and to engage in social justice work on and off college campuses. It offers a proactive approach encompassing institutional and cultural changes that foster respect, inclusion, and transformation.

Contributors: Michael Armato , Rick Bonus, Jose Guillermo Zapata Calderon, Mary Yu Danico, Christina Gómez , David Naguib Pellow, Brett C. Stockdill, Linda Trinh Võ.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xiii
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  1. 1. The Ivory Tower Paradox: Higher Education as a Site of Oppression and Resistance
  2. pp. 1-30
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  1. 2. Transforming the Place That Rewards and Oppresses Us
  2. pp. 31-52
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  1. 3. Telling Our Stories, Naming Ourselves: The Lost María in the Academy
  2. pp. 53-65
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  1. 4. Striving to Be Queer: Challenging Inequality from Positions of Privilege
  2. pp. 66-83
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  1. 5. One Activist Intellectual’s Experience in Surviving and Transforming the Academy
  2. pp. 84-105
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  1. 6. Activist-Scholar Alliances for Social Change: The Transformative Power of University-Community Collaborations
  2. pp. 106-119
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  1. 7. Transformative Disjunctures in the Academy: Asian American Studies as Praxis
  2. pp. 120-144
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  1. 8. Queering the Ivory Tower: Tales of a Troublemaking Homosexual
  2. pp. 145-182
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  1. References
  2. pp. 183-200
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 201-204
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 205-216
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