"My mother still wants me to get a 'real' job. My father, who is retired after 44 years in the merchant marine, has never read my work. When I visited recently, the only book in his house was the telephone book". "I do not know that my mother's mother ever acknowledged my college education except to ask me once, 'How can you live so far away from your people?'" Thus write two of the 20 women from working-class backgrounds whose voices are heard in this collection of essays. Each of the women has lived through the process of academic socialisation - as both student and teacher - and each has thought long and deeply about her experiences from an explicitly feminist perspective. The editors ask: what are the issues - pedagogical, theoretical and personal - that affect the professional and private lives of these women; how do they resolve tensions between their roles as middle-class professionals and their roots in working-class families; how do class and gender intersect in the academy? The volume begins with a dialogue on class between Kate Ellis and Lillian S. Robinson.
The next four sections contain essays on belonging by Saundra Gardner, Donna Langston, Valerie Miner and Joanna Kadi; on individual experiences by Bell Hooks, Laura H. Weaver, Patricia Clark Smith, Jacqueline Burnside and Suzanne Sowinska; on teaching by Pam Annas, Cheryl Fish, Elisabeth J. Johnson and Rose Zimbardo; and on language and cultural politics by Pamela A. Fox, Sharon O'Dair, Pat Belanoff, Elizabeth A. Fay and Hephzibah Roskelly. The book concludes with an epilogue by Michelle M. Tokarczyk.