Academic Fatherhood

In a few minutes, I am going to be one of six academic parents – but the only man – speaking at panel on academic parenthood at the Medieval Academy of America annual conference. The panel is sponsored by the graduate student association of the MAA, and I was very honored when they invited me to be a part of it.

I’m going to talk about my story of becoming an academic father while emphasizing the need for dads to talk about caregiving – diapers, feedings, childcare, parental leave. I’ll have more to say about this in a future Chronicle column.

Today, though, I just want to mention this: It’s fantastic that the graduate students want to talk about how to have a life while trying to have a career.  There is no reason that academia should force people to choose between life and career, and it’s not just parenting: Elder care has come up a lot lately, for example. I’ve also been thinking about the #AcademicAbleism hashtag, and I’ll say more about that later. We have this myth that it is necessary to drive people mentally into the ground in order for them to emerge as beautiful scholars. Yes, we have to work hard – but not to the point of turning the abled into the disabled, and the disabled into ex-academics.

Probably no post tomorrow as I continue at the conference.

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