Epistemic Exclusion: Scholar(ly) Devaluation that Marginalizes Faculty of Color. (2021)

ABSTRACT: Faculty of color experience a number of challenges within academia, including tokenism, marginalization, racial microaggressions, and a disconnect between their racial/ethnic culture and the culture within academia. The present study examined epistemic exclusion as another challenge in which formal institutional systems of evaluation combine with individual biases toward faculty of color to devalue their scholarship and deem them illegitimate as scholars. Using data from interviews with 118 faculty of color from a single predominantly White, research-intensive institution, we found that epistemic exclusion occurs through formal hierarchies that determine how scholarship is valued and the metrics used to assess quality, and through informal processes that further convey to faculty of color that they and their scholarship are devalued. In addition, there was variability in reporting these experiences by race, gender, nationality, and discipline. We found that faculty of color coped with epistemic exclusion by being assertive and by seeking validation and support outside the institution. Finally, participants described a number of negative work-related and psychological consequences of their epistemic exclusion. We discuss epistemic exclusion as a form of academic gatekeeping that impedes the recruitment, advancement, and retention of faculty of color and offer strategies to address this barrier.

Settles, I. H., Jones, M. K., Buchanan, N. T., & Dotson, K. (2021). Epistemic exclusion: Scholar(ly) devaluation that marginalizes faculty of color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 14(4), 493–507. doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000174

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