Date of Award

9-18-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Richard Lakes - Chair

Second Advisor

Marybeth Gasman

Third Advisor

Sheryl A. Gowen

Fourth Advisor

Joyce King

Abstract

This qualitative study examined the experiences of race scholars whose agenda include investigating and writing about racial issues which run counter to the entrenched ideas, values and philosophies of the dominant academic culture. It questioned the possible risks associated with race work, and it examined the available support and validation for race scholars within the academy. Perceived prejudices and micro-aggressions are examined, as well as coping strategies for navigating the political academic landscape. Designed as a narrative inquiry, the study utilized in-depth interviews and the analysis of written documents of four prominent race scholars, while critical race theory (CRT) served as the theoretical framework that guided the analysis. Critical race theory (CRT) serves as the theoretical framework for this study. CRT emphasizes the social constructs of race and the ensuing issues of racism, racial subordination and discrimination. Within the literature, CRT scholars suggest that the scholarship of faculty of color is often resisted, rejected, devalued, or subjugated by the dominant political regime in power. Further, research suggests that scholars of color and the race issues they examine are often the targets of a biased scrutiny within the academy. The results of this study reveal that race research carries potential personal and professional risks. Some of these are anticipated, others not. The results further support the importance of CRT concept of counterspace as both a coping strategy and a form of intellectual insurgence for race scholars within the academy. In addition, findings suggest that the impact and intersection of culture and language affect the experiences of scholars of color in significantly negative ways. Mentoring generally, and specifically amidst the politics of publishing, is very important to the scholar of color and is often the difference between success and failure. Also, micro-aggressions and racial subjugations, such as the assignation of Other seem to operate as a way to devalue the scholars and the research work they do. Finally, implications for better support for graduate students and emerging scholars are clearly evidenced.

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