Working-Class Academics: Theories, Mythologies, Realities

Call For Papers, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge
Special Issue: Working-Class Academics: Theories, Mythologies, Realities
Rhizomes 28, papers due by July 1st.

Calling all academics from the working class.  Tired of hearing your
relatives and childhood friends denigrated by implication when the more
privileged assume everyone in their group is ignorant and prejudiced, of
seeing people from your background misrepresented through “reality” TV
minstrel shows, of being told that you are now middle-class because you
have a graduate degree and a college teaching job and so you should get
over your past — while you struggle to afford professional expenses
colleagues from the bourgeoisie pay with ease? Do you resent the
universalization of working-class experience across cultures and
national borders, so that all our diversity is erased?  When you hear
academe described as a meritocracy in which one’s origins don’t matter,
do you want to scream? Write back!

Studies of the working class abound.  And numerous autobiographical books
and articles have spoken back the reality of the lives of working class academics.
But so far there has been little published that theorizes what our presence means
to academe throughout the world, how it informs academic structures and practices,
if it does so at all.  And not much has been said about the inadequacy
to address the problems faced by academics that come from the working
class of current, contentious concepts of how social class is
determined. This special issue of Rhizomes aims to address these gaps in
our knowledge of working-class people in academe.  While we are well
aware of the class differences created by academic hierarchies,
especially the increasing dependence on adjuncts and temporary faculty
at many colleges, this is not the focus of this special issue.  Instead
we invite those with working class origins to contribute, regardless of
their current academic status.  Possible general topics include, but are
by no means limited to the following: historical changes, work ethic
differences, family responsibilities, expressions of sexuality,
epistemologies, pedagogies, race and minoritization, bourgeois
discourses as a second language, and diversity within the working class.

Essays should be between 20 and 40 pages, including notes.  Please
send all submissions as MSWord attachments to Carol Siegel at by July 1, 2014.

Leave a Reply