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Nokulunga Shabalala


This paper offers a critical auto-ethnographic account about navigating entry into the academy as an emerging woman academic. In this paper, I reflect on the multiple intersecting positions I inhabit to draw attention to the tensions often experienced by black women in the academy. I also allude to tensions inherent in being a psychologist and an academic. The paper aims to bring to the fore the dynamics that perpetuate black women academics’ sense of nonbelonging, voicelessness, and stagnation. Through my narrative, I critically discuss the concepts of time, space, temporality, emotion, and gender within the academic environment and how these elements intersect to shape experience. I make partial reference to feminist thought and critical psychology to drive the conversation about structural issues that persist within the academy that result in the feeling of dis-ease. I also argue that perhaps this dis-ease is the starting point for us to look at what is happening and move towards a radical or reimagined academy. Through this process, I recognised how I became violently silent and disillusioned but emerged hopeful that constant processes of confrontation such as this will eventually create a home for us.

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What Is Happening Here?: An Auto-Ethnographic Account of an Emerging Woman Academic’s Entry into the Academy in South Africa . (2022). The Thinker, 92(3), 7-16.

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