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IN-VISIBLE Academia: The Persistence of Sexism and Racism at Universities.

In my utopian vision, I manage to contribute with my research to gaining a better understanding of how sexist and racist harassment and discrimination are reproduced, specifically at universities [...]

Every couple of months, a new racist or sexist social media case triggers a new discussion about discrimination in differing industries, from Hollywood films to the German rock music industry. While cases pop up frequently enoough, they are discussed one by one, often missing the structural component that both types of discrimination, be it gendered or racial, have in common. While all lines of work pose potential for discrimination, it is often particularly those in which dependencies are high and power is distributed unequally, that make it hard to call out discrimination when it happens. One line of work in which people's career path is very much linked to individuals and their judgement of one's work, is academia. Thus, it is hardly surprising that #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and related social movements have continuously also been connected to universities. Bontu Lucie Guschke researches this persistence of sexism and racism within academia.

The Unspeakability of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Bontu Lucie Guschke research works from an intersectional perspective that conceptualized sexism and racism as intersecting forms of oppression: "Important in this understanding is that both sexism and racism are forms of oppression that aim to create a hierarchy between those who are superior and dominant and those who are inferior and oppressed. My research tries to not only visualize but to critically question and potentially transform these power hierarchies."

Engaging in her research as a queer cis-woman of color with own embodied experiences of navigating marginalizations and privileges in creating knowledge within academia, her research interests have always evolved around intersectional feminist analyses. She says about her approach: "I combine queer feminist and norm-critical theory, anti-/racism research, feminist epistemologies, and the interplay of discursive and affective analyses." In the research project The Persistence of Sexism and Racism at Universities: Exploring the Imperceptibility and Unspeakability of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination in Academia, she specifically focuses on how racism and sexism play out in universities as workplaces and institutions of knowledge creation.

Sexist and Racist Harassment and Discrimination are Reproduced in Workplaces at Universities.

Bontu Lucie Guschke investigates how sexist and racist harassment and discrimination are reproduced in workplaces at universities. She does so by focusing on the interplay of individual- and structural-level factors and details how harassment and discrimination are facilitated in a context of formality and informality alike. According to her, it is this interplay that leads to a continuous reproduction of inequality within the university environment. Drawing queer and Black feminist theory, her research further discusses how harassment and discrimination remain imperceptible and unspeakable.

We would like to thank Bontu for contributing to IN-VISIBLE Academia and wish her all the best for her research.

If you are interested, please find more information about her dissertation project and look at this overview of all her publications.


IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA - a platform for Gender Studies researchers

This feature is part of IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA, a platform for research from the fields of Gender Studies, with the goal to make it more visible and accessible to a broader public. The goal is to help Gender Studies research gain more visibility and thereby to build awareness about its meaning and relevance for society. We thus hope to provide alternative content to the anti-feminist hate speech and backlash that is increasingly associated with Gender Studies on social media.

Gender Researchers for Gender Equality

You can participate here. This project is run by IN-VISIBLE and MARGHERITA-VON-BRENTANO-ZENTRUM. For us, it is of secondary importance whether you are a professor, research assistant, or doing post-doc research - we are interested in your research if you feel like your results should be made more available to a broader public. We explicitly do not want to exclude anyone on the basis of their academic degree. The only criteria here is that you have had some sort of publication success with your topic and that, accordingly, our community could peek into it. If this applies to you, then you are welcome to participate. The incoming applications will be viewed by us and - if suitable - shared via our LinkedIn and Instagram in the form of features.

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