Mentoring recomposed: A study of gender, history, and the discourses of education.
AuthorErvin, Elizabeth Ellen.
Committee ChairWarnock, John
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation investigates the ways in which various discourses of education--including canonical texts within philosophy, science, and other disciplines; documents articulating university policy; and ordinary exchanges among teachers, students, and colleagues--have constructed femaleness and academic professionalism in mutually exclusive terms. I begin with the assumption that the mentor embodies professional skills, values, and behaviors, and thus acts as an agent of professional normalization within the academy. I then demonstrate the ways in which mentors are complicit in uncritically reproducing educational structures and discourses that can inhibit the success of women in higher education. I conclude by arguing that mentoring can function effectively within an increasingly diverse academic community only if it redefines the values, standards, behaviors, and discourses that define academic professionalism. Because mentoring relationships represent complex intersections of the personal and the professional, this project approaches the subject matter from multiple perspectives--including history and historiography, ethnography, personal essay, rhetorical analysis, and feminist theory. I devote the first four chapters to a general discussion of my methodologies, and historical analyses of three representative models of mentoring: pederasty, apprenticeship, and advising. Appearing among these historical chapters are case studies of six academic women who explore the legacy of these mentoring models in their lives and careers. My purposes here are to illustrate the ways in which mentoring relationships reproduce historically specific constructions of masculinity and femininity, and at the same time to explore the ways in which these constructions manifest themselves in modern academic settings. The dialogue that develops between the historical analyses and the case studies suggests that, in general, current mentoring policies and practices within the academy do not take seriously the perspectives and experiences of women and other non-traditional university populations, and may in fact discourage women from participating fully in professional activities.