Women of Color in Higher Education: Resistance and Hegemonic Academic Culture

By Molina, Kristine | Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

Women of Color in Higher Education: Resistance and Hegemonic Academic Culture


Molina, Kristine, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources


[Editors' note: University of Michigan graduate student Kristine Molina was an award winner in the 2007 student essay contest sponsored by the National Women's studies Association's Women of Color Caucus. Feminist Collections is pleased to be able to showcase Ms. Molina's scholarly paper in this issue, particularly because it is topically related to a series of book reviews on women in academia that we published a couple of years ago. See especially "Narratives from Women of Color in the Halls of Academe," by Pat Washington, in volume 28, no. 1 (Fall 2006), pp. 1-6; available online at http://minds.winsconsin.edu/bitstream/1793/22264/2/FCWashington.pdf.]

  We cross or fall or are shoved into abysses whether we speak or
  remain silent. And when we do speak from the cracked spaces, it is
  con voz del fondo del abismo, a voice drowned out by white noise,
  distance and the distancing by others who don't want to hear. We are
  besieged by a "silence that hollows us." (Anzaldua & Moraga,
  1981, p. xxii)

  Women of color in America have grown up with a symphony of anger, at
  being silenced, at being unchosen, at knowing that when we survive,
  it is in spite of a world that takes for granted our lack of
  humanness, and which hates our very existence outside of its service
  outside of its service. (Lorde, 1984, p. 119)

Too frequently, women of color feel marginalized, silenced, invisible, or tokenized in institutions of higher education. Too frequently, work that focus on the marginalization of women neglects the particular experiences of women students of color, who must confront marginalization not only because of their race or ethnicity, but also because of other social identities: gender, class, ability, and sexuality. How these social identities intersect is rarely discussed. In fact, the particular lived experiences of women of color are almost nonexistent in research on higher education. The discourses that do exist focus almost exclusively on people of color as distinct and internally homegeneous groups.

Psychological research that seeks to examine the ways in which different women of color experience various forms of social marginality remains, like women of color themselves, virtually invisible. Women of color have essentially been "shut up" and "shut out" of mainstream psychological research (Graham, 1992; Imada & Schiavo, 2005; Reid, 1993; Reid & Kelly, 1994). There is a dearth of psychological research on the effects of marginalization, exclusion, and invisibility in higher education for women of color. Even more scant is research that allows women of color to voice the experiences they confront within institutions of higher education. Moreover, research conducted to date in this area has primarily focused on African Americans (Gay, 2004), but not on other women of color.

In this paper, I locate the experiences of women of color within a feminist psychology framework that takes into account the various ways in which women of color are excluded from spaces of higher education. I ask how feminist theories can, by incorporating an intersectional perspective, standpoint epistemology, and contextualizatiog of experiences, give psychology a different lens through which to examine questions on and of interest to women of color. I believe this theoretical approach to psychological research allows for the creation of new knowledge about women at the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and ability. Further, I discuss how contextualizing the experiences of women of color allows for a richer understanding of their lived experienes within the classroom space, and how power shapes forms of exclusion, marginality, and silence within the academy. Finally, I discuss prospects for future research on the experiences of women of color within institutions of higher education.

Contextualizing Experience

Much research has been conducted within the area of education, but in its broadest terms (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Women of Color in Higher Education: Resistance and Hegemonic Academic Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.