Many enter the academy with dreams of doing good; this is a book about how the institution fails them, especially if they are considered “outsiders.”
Tenure-track, published author, recipient of prestigious fellowships and awards—these credentials mark Victoria Reyes as somebody who has achieved the status of insider in the academy. Woman of color, family history of sexual violence, first generation, mother—these qualities place Reyes on the margins of the academy; a person who does not see herself reflected in its models of excellence.
This contradiction allows Reyes to theorize the conditional citizenship of academic life—a liminal status occupied by a rapidly growing proportion of the academy, as the majority white, male, and affluent space simultaneously transforms and resists transformation. Reyes blends her own personal experiences with the tools of sociology to lay bare the ways in which the structures of the university and the people working within it continue to keep their traditionally marginalized members relegated to symbolic status, somewhere outside the center.
Reyes confronts the impossibility of success in the midst of competing and contradictory needs—from navigating coded language, to balancing professional expectations with care-taking responsibilities, to combating the literal exclusions of outmoded and hierarchical rules. Her searing commentary takes on, with sensitivity and fury, the urgent call for academic justice.