It is not easy raising a family and balancing work and personal commitments in academia, regardless of gender. Parents endure the stress of making tenure with the demands of life with children. While women’s careers are derailed more often than men’s as a result of such competing pressures, fathers, too, experience conflicting feelings about work and home, making parenting ever more challenging.
In Papa, PhD, Mary Ruth Marotte, Paige Martin Reynolds, and Ralph James Savarese bring together a group contributors from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. They are white, black, South Asian, Asian, and Arab. They are gay and straight, married and divorced. They are tenured and untenured, at research-one universities and at community colleges. Some write at the beginning of their careers, others at the end. Perhaps most important, they do not look back—they look forward to new parental and professional synergies as they reflect on what it means to be a father in the academy.
The fathers writing in Papa, PhD seek to expand their children’s horizons, giving them the gifts of better topic sentences and a cosmopolitan sensibility. They seriously consider the implications of gender theory and queer theory—even Marxist theory—and make relevant theoretical connections between their work and the less abstract, more pragmatic, world of fathering. What resonates is the astonishing range of forms that fatherhood can take as these dads challenge traditional norms by actively questioning the status quo.