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Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS pres.

Epistemic Exclusion of Faculty of Color: Academic Gatekeeping through Scholarly Devaluation

Isis Settles, U of M Psychology & Afroamerican and African Studies

Underrepresented minority faculty (URM; i.e., Black, Hispanic, and American Indian) remain underrepresented within academia, with each of these groups holding fewer than 4% of full-time faculty positions according to 2013 data (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). Further, their representation declines as rank increases. Epistemic exclusion may act as a barrier to the number, retention, and advancement of URM faculty in the academy. Epistemic exclusion (Dotson, 2012, 2014) is the devaluation of URM scholars and the research they do (often on marginalized groups) as illegitimate, lacking value, and outside of disciplinary norms. These disciplinary norms are established and maintained by those who hold power and prestige due to their success working within the dominant discourse. These individuals are often resistant to changing norms either because of narrow views of the field, self-interest, or personal biases towards URMs. In this talk, I use data from 118 faculty interviews, 3 faculty focus groups, and a large faculty survey to illustrate formal and informal ways in which epistemic exclusion operates, and the consequences it has for the psychological well-being, job outcomes, and career trajectories of faculty of color.
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