This article explores the dilemmas graduate education poses for women of working-class origin who come from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. It proceeds in a chronological narrative using examples from the authors' personal experiences to make general points about how the intricate web of class, race, and gender relations shaped their experiences in higher education. Both women—Cuádraz, a Chicana, and Pierce, a white woman—struggle with the feelings of alienation and marginality as outsiders within the academy as well as their material needs for financial support. Their personal narratives reveal, as well, how race shapes their experiences in the academy. Racism renders Cuadraz' class status visible, whereas “whiteness” masks Pierce's background. Finally, the authors shift their focus from an examination of the structures which shaped their lives to an exploration of their attempts to find their own voices in academic work, and to resist the very structures which excluded their experiences as women from working-class backgrounds.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.