Presumed Incompetent (You Have The Right to Remain Silent…)

I never go anywhere without a book, and my mother, a retired research librarian of mixed Arab and European descent, is always curious about what I’m reading. When I pulled out my copy of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, my mother scrunched up her face in disgust, “Why would anyone choose that title for a book about women academics?” I responded with, “Because that’s how many people see us!” She countered by inviting me to move to the living room to watch a (closed captioned) television clip about the life of Sonia Sotomayor.


As usual, mom won this match: women, race, class, and disability.


As the title states, Presumed Incompetent, edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, focuses on the intersections of race and class of women in the academy. The book is a compilation of narrative essays written by women (there is also an essay on being an ally written by a man) with chapters organized around the following themes: general campus climate, faculty-student relationships, networks of allies, social class in academia, and tenure and promotion.Read More »

Women’s academic work has fewer citations because we don’t cite our own work

According to Barbara Walter, of the University of California, San Diego, female academics don’t engage in as much self promotion as their male colleagues.

“Unlike their male colleagues they do not routinely cite their own previous work when they publish a paper. Since the frequency a paper is cited is an indicator of its importance—and one which, since it can be measured, tends to weigh with appointment committees—a systematic unwillingness by women to self-cite may help tip the balance against them.”

Read more at the Economist: