Project Title: Resistance and Replication: Feminists as Insiders and Outsiders in the Knowledge Economy

Faculty Sponsor: Heather Laube

Department: Sociology



Project Description: The presence and status of women in higher education, science, and research continues to be a concern around the world. While the numbers of women in these fields are improving, a strong presence does not always mean a strong voice for women in in these institutional arenas, particularly if they identify as feminist. Feminists inside institutions of knowledge production and dissemination may take advantage of unique opportunities to practice their politics and engage in change-making, but there are significant constraints on their ability to transform these structures while also advancing their careers.

Many countries have instituted policies and practices to increase the number of women in the knowledge economy – as university students, professors, and researchers. The existence of these policies, often accompanied by the goal of democratization (including gender equality), begs for attention to the ways organizational change and policies affect differently gendered individuals, the production of gendered knowledge, the gendered nature of work and careers, and social change.

Why do feminist scholars choose this work? How do the opportunities and constraints embedded in the gendered (and raced and classed) structures of institutions shape their careers and knowledge production? How do they engage in political resistance that subtlety and not-so-subtly challenges the gendered cultures and norms (including assumptions of science) of these institutions and of society?

The data for this comparative research comes from in-depth interviews with feminist scholars/researchers who work in institutions of higher education, research institutes, or as independent scholars. The analysis of the differences and similarities in institutional structures, laws and social policy, and gendered cultures, provides insight into these women’s experiences as both “insiders and outsiders,” and the ways we can make these knowledge economies more inclusive.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  The student's primary responsibility will be to transcribe interviews. Student may also be asked to assist with library research, identifying participants, researching data on gender in academia in various countries, and other related tasks.

Minimum Student Qualifications: 

  • Strong typing skills.
  • Ability to transcribe interviews with non-native English speakers.
  • Proficiency in library research and finding government and other data online (internationally).
  • Ability to work independently.