Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers (pre-tenure) when their children are young (under the age of five), and then again in mid-career (post-tenure) when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings—research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges—and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
Much of the existing literature on balancing work and family presents a pessimistic view and offers cautionary tales of what to avoid and how to avoid it. In contrast, the goal of Academic Motherhood is to help tenure track faculty and the institutions at which they are employed “make it work.” Writing for administrators, prospective and current faculty as well as scholars, Ward and Wolf-Wendel bring an element of hope and optimism to the topic of work and family in academe. They provide insight and policy recommendations that support faculty with children and offer mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels.
Winner, 2021 Gilda Women's Book Award
In this honest and tender collection of essays, award-winning memoirist Michele Weldon asks what it means to be a mature woman seeking a life of purpose and meaning through work, family, and relationships. Facing ageism and invisibility within popular culture, Weldon examines the effects of raising children, striving for applause, failing expectations, forming new friendships, reconciling lost dreams, and restoring one’s faith. With sincerity and humor, she unwraps family traditions, painting classes, lap swimming, dress codes, and career disappointments. She addresses white privilege and her evolving understanding of racism. And she asks crucial questions about mortality, finding connection in writing and stories.
Frank, eloquent, and daring, Weldon dissects the intricacies of life, journeying toward self-discovery as a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Readers of any age or gender will recognize the universal experience of learning to accept oneself and asking essential questions—even if there are no easy answers.
By closely observing the attachments that arise in families despite profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we can imagine a political engagement that accommodates radical differences without sacrificing community. After examining how the concept of the family has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways in which families actually operate: the macropolitical significance of family coping strategies such as silence and the impact that disability and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He also considers the emotional attachment between humans and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and community can exist even under conditions of profound difference.
Deeply rooted in respect and compassion for Appalachia and its people, these poems are both paeans to and dirges for past and present family, farmlands, factories, and coal.
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s second full-length collection resounds with candid, lyrical poems about Appalachia’s social and geographical afflictions and affirmations. History, culture, and community shape the physical and personal landscapes of Gunter-Seymour’s native southeastern Ohio soil, scarred by Big Coal and fracking, while food insecurity and Big Pharma leave their marks on the region’s people. A musicality of language swaddles each poem in hope and a determination to endure. Alone in the House of My Heart offers what only art can: a series of thought-provoking images that evoke such a clear sense of place that it’s familiar to anyone, regardless of where they call home.
When a loved one dies we mourn our loss. We take comfort in the rituals that mark the passing, and we turn to those around us for support. But what happens when there is no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer's patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss?
In this sensitive and lucid account, Pauline Boss explains that, all too often, those confronted with such ambiguous loss fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, these emotions can deaden feeling and make it impossible for people to move on with their lives. Yet the central message of this book is that they can move on. Drawing on her research and clinical experience, Boss suggests strategies that can cushion the pain and help families come to terms with their grief. Her work features the heartening narratives of those who cope with ambiguous loss and manage to leave their sadness behind, including those who have lost family members to divorce, immigration, adoption, chronic mental illness, and brain injury. With its message of hope, this eloquent book offers guidance and understanding to those struggling to regain their lives.
In the preface to her memoir, Ercenia "Alice" Cedeño recalls the secrecy and turmoil that marked her youth: "I spent most of my growing years mad at my mother and wanting her to change to fit in with the rest of the world," she writes. "When my sisters and I wanted her to visit our friends' mothers, she would say, 'Why do people need to know other peoples' lives?' Looking back, I wonder if she was really saying, 'I don't want them to know our business.' There was so much to hide."
Now bringing those hidden memories to light, Amá, Your Story Is Mine traces the hardship, violence, deceit, and defiance that shaped the identity of two generations of women in Alice's family. Born in the mountains of northern Mexico, Alice's mother married at age 14 into a family rife with passion that often turned to anger. After losing several infant children to disease, the young couple crossed into the United States seeking a better life.
Unfolding in a series of powerful vignettes, Amá, Your Story Is Mine describes in captivating detail a daring matriarch who found herself having to protect her children from their own father while facing the challenges of cultural discrimination. By turns wry and tender, Alice's recollections offer a rare memoir that fully encompasses the Latina experience in the United States.
Rescuing the premodern family from the grim picture many historians have given us of life in early Europe, Ancestors offers a major reassessment of a crucial aspect of European history--and tells a story of age-old domesticity inextricably linked, and surprisingly similar, to our own.
An elegant summa on family life in Europe past, this compact and powerful book extends and completes a project begun with Steven Ozment's When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Harvard). Here Ozment, the leading historian of the family in the middle centuries, replaces the often miserable depiction of premodern family relations with a delicately nuanced portrait of a vibrant and loving social group. Mining the records of families' private lives--from diaries and letters to fiction and woodcuts--Ozment shows us a preindustrial family not very different from the later family of high industry that is generally viewed as the precursor to the sentimental nuclear family of today.
In Ancestors, we see the familiar pattern of a domestic wife and working father in a home in which spousal and parental love were amply present: parents cherished their children, wives were helpmeets in providing for the family, and the genders were nearly equal. Contrary to the abstractions of history, parents then--as now--were sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of their children, treated them with affection, and gave them a secure early life and caring preparation for adulthood.
As it recasts familial history, Ancestors resonates beyond its time, revealing how much the story of the premodern family has to say to a modern society that finds itself in the throes of a family crisis.
A vivid archive of memories, Beth Alvarado’s Anthropologies layers scenes, portraits, dreams, and narratives in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Bringing her lyrical tenor to bear on stories as diverse as harboring teen runaways, gunfights with federales, and improbable love, Alvarado unveils the ways in which seemingly separate moments coalesce to forge a communal truth. Woven from the threads of distinct family histories and ethnic identities, Anthropologies creates a heightened understanding of how individual experiences are part of a larger shared fabric of lives.
“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.
Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czesław Miłosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.
Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.
Aunt Bird is an astonishing, hybrid poetry of witness that observes and testifies to social, political, and historical realities through the recovery of one life silenced by the past. Within these pages, poet Yerra Sugarman confronts the Holocaust as it was experienced by a young Jewish woman: the author’s twenty-three-year-old aunt, Feiga Maler, whom Sugarman never knew, and who died in the Kraków Ghetto in German-occupied Poland in 1942. In lyric poems, prose poems, and lyric essays, Aunt Bird combines documentary poetics with surrealism: sourcing from the testimonials of her kin who survived, as well as official Nazi documents about Feiga Maler, these poems imagine Sugarman’s relationship with her deceased aunt and thus recreate her life. Braiding speculation, primary sources, and the cultural knowledge-base of postmemory, Aunt Bird seeks what Eavan Boland calls “a habitable grief,” elegizing the particular loss of one woman while honoring who Feiga was, or might have been, and recognizing the time we have now.
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