Uplifting gender and sexualities education research: memoirs and manifestos for early career academics

Year: 2019

Author: Coll, Leanne, van, Leent, Lisa, Bromdal, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Constitutions of gender-sexualities studies in research and education as ‘risky’, ‘difficult’ and ‘dangerous’ are persistent and enduring (Allen et al, 2014; De Palma & Atkinson, 2009; Fields, 2008; Epstein & Sears, 1999). The negative impact that this ‘difficult terrain’ can have on career development, identities and practices in academia is well documented (Cummins, 2019; Taylor & Lahad, 2018; Ahmed, 2017). Many established scholars have shared stories of career isolation (Jones, 2018) of the emotional labour involved in navigating the denial of and assault on their work (Taylor, 2018; Mar Pereira, 2018) and experiences of being trolled, lambasted and attacked for their contributions to knowledge (Mendes et al., 2018; Ringrose, 2018).

Despite the volume of research devoted to the many ills that beset the field, there has been insufficient attention given to stories of success from established researchers. In response, this paper is focused on carving new career pathways in gender and sexuality educational research. The authors have worked in collaboration with 11 established scholars in the field to bring together a collection of career memoirs and manifestos. These memoirs and manifestos highlight some of the creative strategies, defining moments, inspirations, unique turning points and positive stories that have kept successful careers in motion. Part of the function of this paper is to look beyond what is broken and to diversify the stories we hear about academic lives and careers in gender and sexualities educational research. We hope the memoirs and manifestos shared provoke early career academics to consider different ways of being, becoming, and encountering this important field of research.