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Visibilising care in the academy: (Re)performing academic mothering in the transformative moment of COVID-19

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:07 authored by Gilbert, E, Carla Pascoe Leahy
The effects of COVID-19 have been profoundly felt across higher education as across broader society. In particular, the pandemic has revealed that many of our most stubbornly entrenched inequalities do not simply follow gendered fault lines, but rather care fault lines. In this article, we adopt a maternal epistemology and collaborative witnessing to outline the disruption that academic mothers have experienced during the pandemic. However, we argue that this disruption is not simply obstructive to academic mothers and other caregivers. Rather, COVID-19 has provided a potentially transformative moment for the visibility and normalisation of care in the academy. It has forced the complex negotiation of paid work and care work that academic mothers must constantly manage into the spotlight. The pandemic has provoked an opportunity for a different performance of mothering in the academy; one that does not require us to invisibilise our care to be valued. This (re)performance and revaluation has the potential to reform the cultural landscapes of the academy, towards spaces in which care is reimagined as not simply an encumberment but also an enrichment.


Publication title

Gender and History






School of Humanities


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society

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