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Book review on gender and higher education: A collection of essays edited by Becy Ropers-Huilman analyzed

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  1. Introduction
  2. The academy's role in perpetuating gender norms or opposing them
  3. The wage gap
  4. The transformation of a short term part time solution to issues of affirmative action in hiring
  5. The purpose of the anthology
  6. Suggestions of Becky Ropers-Huilman
    1. Female body dimorphism among university age students
  7. Feminism in its many guises
  8. The sex/gender system
  9. The goal of current feminist discourses
  10. Conceptualizing the 'university' as a singularity
  11. Sports: exploiting racial minorities and contributing to violence
  12. An essay by Ropers-Huilman and Denise Taliaferro
  13. Conclsion
  14. Reference

This paper will provide a review of a collection of essays edited by Becky Ropers-Huilman entitled Gendered Futures in Higher Education. Critical Perspectives for Change. The book was published by the State University of New York Press, Albany, N.Y., in 2003. The paper will consider how this collection of essays contributes (or not) to this ongoing deconstructive, counter-hegemonic practice, necessary to disrupt the sex/gender system and to, as Stuart Hall maintains examine ?concepts and ideas in a signifying field?meaning is relational, it can never be fixed and is subject to redefinition and reappropriation.? (Hall in Lecture notes) The way that the book is organized, revealing debates within higher education concerning how to address the problem of gender inequalities, which many of the articles in different ways suggest remains very invisible despite feminist inroads into the academy, will be a point of analysis. The mixture of often competing viewpoints may in fact provide a kind of working text where debates are shown to be played out, pointing in its structuring itself to the needs as well as the collisions of positions and identity within academia in relation to class, gender, race, intersections.

[...] Thus this volume of essays is valuable to read in that it negotiates the problems that it also elucidates it points out gaps in research, inside the academic research paper and shows us examples, more or less useful within its pages, so that one can deconstruct the book itself to examine the situation of the academy today, in the area of higher education, the intersections of gender, race, class. This makes certain articles within the entire more limited on their own, but useful in context to one another, pointing out gaps and elisions and helping us focus on the internal problems of defining terms and the problems of essentialism that potentially can emerge in all formulas that involve categorizing or universalizing of position. [...]

[...] As Adela Garcia Aracil (2008) notes in Europe (but this can apply to North America just as easily) there is still a gap between the number of men who graduate from universities and who are in the labour force, and, as well, earn higher wages. The wage gap exists in all fields, even those where men and women may have in recent decades achieved more parity in terms of percentages hired. In the areas of math and other sciences, law and engineering, the professions are still predominantly male, and there are many mechanisms of exclusion including internal harassment, of subtle and not so subtle forms, that revolve around masculine aggression. [...]

[...] white feminists, are martyrs to a cause, that their lives are inextricably disrupted as they try to negotiate work and family, feels like the kind of old argument/adage that has made many black feminists (to give one example) or womanists, as black activist women are called in this same book, recoil from the attempt of white middle class women to maintain a central power in the feminist movement, and to speak on behalf of ?others', in a sense recreating privilege, competitive marginalization and neo-oppression at the margins. This is a problem noted by Razack and others who investigate the invisibility of white skin privilege and its ties to class. (Razack, 2002) A second essay by Ropers-Huilman and Denise Taliaferro is more positive, as it is evident that in the organizing of an on-campus group of primarily African-American graduate students, to discuss their experience in largely white Southern university, Ropers-Huilman comes to recognize a key important point of issue in education debates within the feminist paradigm. [...]

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