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Title:Searching for balance but finding guilt: a story of academic mothers in South Africa
Author:Pillay, Venitha
Periodical:Journal of Higher Education in Africa (ISSN 0851-7762)
Geographic term:South Africa
External links:http://www.codesria.org/IMG/pdf/8-_Pillay.pdf
Abstract:This article draws on the data from a larger ethnographic study which tracked the lives of three South African academics who had just become mothers. In it, the author responds to the question she has repeatedly encountered after the publication of her book, 'Academic Mothers' (2007): How can I be an academic and a mother without going insane? In offering some thoughts on academic mothers caught in the cross fire of mothering and academic work, the author reconceptualizes the ways in which academic mothers conceive their roles and assert what she suggests may be liberatory ways of being academic and mother. Two linked thematic issues emerge from the data: (a) the search for balance between academic work and motherhood is elusive; and (b) academic mothers are torn apart by guilt. In using E. Grosz's idea that feminists need to consistently critique and construct, the author makes a case for academic mothers seeking to 'let go' in order to 'let in' more liberatory ways of being 'academic' and 'mother'. She argues too that Grosz's idea should be extended to include ways of destructing paralysing notions of what it means to be an academic and a mother, simultaneously. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]