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Transforming the Ivory TowerChallenging Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the Academy$
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Brett C. Stockdill and Mary Yu Danico

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835262

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835262.001.0001

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The Ivory Tower Paradox

The Ivory Tower Paradox

Higher Education as a Site of Oppression and Resistance

(p.1) Chapter One The Ivory Tower Paradox
Transforming the Ivory Tower

Brett C. Stockdill

Mary Yu Danico

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter identifies paradoxical dynamics in higher education to contextualize the chapters that follow, all of which provide theoretical and strategic models for igniting social change in the academy. The academy is often imagined as an idyllic place, neutral and untarnished by the ugly inequalities that mar the “outside world.” Yet the “ivory tower” is a part of the world and thus, like other institutions, is also a site of oppression, resistance, and transformation. Heterosexist, affluent, White males have historically dominated universities and colleges in the United States, and the costs of entrance for oppressed groups have been high. Academics from both privileged and oppressed groups are professionalized to conform to dominant norms that reinforce social inequality, and those who disrupt the status quo typically face negative sanctions, including harassment, stigmatization, and discrimination in retention, tenure, and promotion.

Keywords:   higher education, social change, academe, inequality, oppressed groups, marginalized groups, LGBTQ

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