The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Navigating as an African American Female Scholar: Catalysts and Barriers in Predominantly White Academia

Traci Palmer Baxley


As a teacher-scholar, this autoethnographic is an account of my personal journey in higher education at a predominantly White university. I recount childhood experiences that led me to critical incidents experienced as a doctoral student and tenure-track professor that served as both institutional barriers encountered and catalysts for growth. I examine the manner in which I was able to navigate within the borders they created for me as an African American woman emerging scholar. The counter-narratives are grounded in critical race theory, guided by womanist epistemology, while offering insight into the ways in which marginalization is perpetuated in academia and how space was created to redefine and reclaim self within these borders. My hope is that this article will bring more exposure to the voice of African American in White academia and to add to the open dialogue that is needed with members from the center dominant group.


marginalization; womanism; counterstorytelling

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