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Positioning a Feminist Supervisor in Graduate Supervision

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As part of feminist praxis in the academy, students increasingly want to engage in activist research as part of their training. Yet such research, especially that engaging participatory methods, takes time—building collaborative relationships, designing collective research projects, undertaking research and writing up results. As a feminist graduate research supervisor, the author is in a quandary: How to negotiate the relationships among her own penchant for activist research, student research interests in social change and the institutional imperatives for degree requirements? In an attempt to defer some of her angst, she engages in a reflexive exercise to position herself as a feminist supervisor through the literature on graduate supervision. Once graduate supervision has been conceptualized as both a process of subjectification and, at the same time, a site of resistance, then being in a quandary matters less, because the author comes to be more comfortable with her unsettled positioning as both complex and messy.

Keywords: Adviser; activist research; feminism; graduate supervision; supervisor

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Studies in Policy and Practice, University of Victoria, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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