Feelings of Change: Alternative Feminist Professional Trajectories

  • C. Laura Lovin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


This chapter engages with narratives emerging within three modalities of response developed by feminist academics in response to the transformations undergone by US higher education in general and the field of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) in particular: 1. collective organizing against contingency; 2. critical evaluations of the challenges faced by WGS departments and programs in regard to contingent faculty employment; 3. individual alternatives of addressing work precarity beyond the realm of academe. The chapter focuses primarily on the latter through the analysis of four interviews and the following four themes that reoccurred throughout them: the timing of the decision to look for a feminist professional future outside academia; the search for a work ethos that bypasses competitiveness, surpassing the isolation of academic knowledge work; dealing with feelings of failure; and finally, reimagining graduate training in women’s and gender studies. In doing so, the chapter discusses the emotional-affective forces that sustain or emerge from these interventions in order to evaluate their feminist transformative potential as well as their position in relation to discursive frameworks of success, failure, fantasy, or pragmatic response.



  1. Tangeem, Nafisa. (2016). Interview with Dr. Danica Tisdale Fisher (Ph.D., Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies, Emory), Assistant Director and Dean of Admission, Phillips Academy. Retrieved from
  2. Tanjeem, Nafisa. (2016a). Interview: Dr. Abigail Parsons (Ph.D., Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies, Emory), Director of LGBTQIA Resource Center, Georgia Tech University. Retrived from
  3. Tanjeem, Nafisa. (2016b). Interview: Dr. Kelly Coogan Gehr (Ph.D., Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers), Educator, National Nurses United (through fall 2015); Director of the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center, South Seattle College. Retrieved from
  4. Tanjeem, Nafisa. (2016c). Interview: Dr. Ryan Shanahan (Ph.D., Women’s Studies University of Maryland), Research Director, Center on Youth Justice, Vera Institute of Justice, New York. Retrieved from


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Laura Lovin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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