“You can feel the exhaustion in the air around you”: The Mood of Contemporary Universities and its Impact on Feminist Scholarship

39 | 2019

Maria do Mar Pereira

University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom / Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudos de Género (CIEG), Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal / Centro de Estudos das Migrações e das Relações Interculturais da Universidade Aberta, Portugal
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3745-6266

Science and higher education have undergone profound changes in recent decades, leading in many countries to the institutionalisation of academic cultures of performativity. In this article, I examine how that institutionalisation shapes women’s, gender, feminist studies (WGFS) in paradoxical ways. Drawing on an ethnography of Portuguese academia, I show that the growing emphasis on productivity has created opportunities for WGFS but also produced a mood of exhaustion and depression that has extremely detrimental impacts on WGFS academics’ bodies, relationships and knowledge production. I use this paradox to call for more debate in WGFS about contemporary academic working cultures, and our ambivalent personal investments in work.

Keywords

academia, feminism, gender studies, work, higher education

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22355/exaequo.2019.39.11
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