The Grad Student’s Guide to Intersectionality in the University (Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

While universities have long been a space for cultivating generations of academics, researchers, and intellectuals, they have never been exempt from the dynamics of power that underlie any institution based on interpersonal relations. Recent strides at improving inclusivity—for example: greater diversity among faculty and student populations, or increasing numbers of sociopolitically- and culturally-cognizant programs—belie the reality that universities operate along ideological lines that can (re)produce inequities and social hierarchies. This uneven reality manifests in all aspects of the graduate school experience, including the application and admissions process, department culture, campus climate, curriculum choices, professional networking, financial opportunities, socialization practices, and the work/life/family nexus.

Drawing from Kimberle Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality, this roundtable proposes a holistic approach to understanding and navigating the interpersonal, logistical, and ideological tensions within the university. We seek a diverse group of participants with insights on how to negotiate these issues in life-affirming ways and promote efforts toward greater diversity, inclusion, and equitability in the academe. As a Graduate Student Caucus-sponsored session, we are particularly interested in proposals that address graduate student concerns, but welcome insights from and about tenure-track faculty, contingent and adjunct faculty, undergraduate students, and staff.

Topics might included, but are not limited to:

1) intersectional perspectives of women, persons of colour, LGBTQIA individuals, immigrants, graduate students with disabilities, mature graduate students, graduate students who are parents, and people across various socioeconomic strata;

2) gendered expectations regarding teaching, service, invisible labor, and family;

3) the legacy of race/racism on campus and its implications on the graduate student experience;

4) the graduate student experience in a post-COVID19 world;

5) national politics and the university, including the rise of sanctuary cities/universities, DREAMER students, difficulties surrounding international conferences, etc.;

6) the needs of differently-abled and differently-identifying academics, how institutional spaces address (or do not address) these concerns, and possible ways to address issues these students face;

7) safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA individuals;

8) past and present socioeconomic subjectivities, as well as economic stability while a graduate student, contingent/adjunct/temporary faculty, or staff

Please submit proposals of 250 to 300 words, with a bio of at most 100 words, on how you intend to address one or more of the talking points above, or an otherwise related topic. For inquiries, please email Kristin Lacey at klacey@bu.edu OR Christian Ylagan at cylagan2@uwo.ca OR gsc@nemla.org.