The poetic identity work and sisterhood of Black women becoming academics

Sobande, Francesca and Renee Wells, Jaleesa (2021) The poetic identity work and sisterhood of Black women becoming academics. Gender, Work and Organisation, 30 (2). pp. 469-484. ISSN 0968-6673 (

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Studies highlight institutional structures that hamper the recruitment, retention, and progression of Black university students and scholars in Britain. Yet, scarce research explores the nuanced encounters of Black women who are early career (Ph.D.) researchers, facing entangled oppressions. Located in a Black feminist tradition and by drawing on two Black women's (our) accounts of co-reflexive identity work in academia, this article addresses calls for more sociological analysis of how intersecting antiblackness and sexism impacts academic experiences. By analyzing the identity work and spirit of Black sisterhood embedded in a longitudinal postal poetic exchange that we began as doctoral students, this research examines components of collaborative, co-reflexive, and counter-narrative coping mechanisms between Black women in Britain in predominantly white institutions. We conceptualize dimensions of poetic co-reflexivity and identity work at the nexus of studentship and scholarship as Black women; through a praxis-based framework—Black women "becoming" academics.