Academic Mothers

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Trentham Books, Jan 1, 2007 - Education - 196 pages
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This account of academic mothers is moving and it is also rigorously researched. It explores a significant yet virtually untouched aspect of motherhood and intellectual work and will resonate with the experience of many professional women. Academic mothers are likely to be middle class, have access to some form of child care, live in a democracy and have some legal rights and protections. But the book reveals that there are freedoms such women still cannot achieve. The stories of three academic mothers in South Africa reveals so much: their ability and achievements, their concern for their families and their determination and reflectiveness. Academic mothers are engaged in intellectual work that has traditionally been the domain of men. Thinking has been described by Western philosophers over the centuries as rational, unemotional and logical, while the mother is nurturing, loving, emotional and sensitive. The book explores how these perceived oppositional identities live within the same person. Venitha Pillay challenges the notions of passion, affection and the body as the domain of femininity and the mind of masculinity. The intellectual, emotional and personal liberation of women and society is about far more than revised structural arrangements in the workplace: it demands reconceptualising work, the self and family. The book breaks new methodological ground for qualitative researchers, revealing the intimacy between methodological decisions and the ontology of the text. So it will interest social researchers as well as filling an important gap in gender studies.

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White women speak black women write
Finding rhyme and reason
Spanish dancing to duelling banjos

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About the author (2007)

Dr Venitha Pillay is a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and the mother of two young girls.

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