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The Ultimate Academic Auntie
Episode 1613th April 2022 • Academic Aunties • Ethel Tungohan
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Get your elbows up. On this episode, our season 2 finale, we talk to the ultimate academic auntie, Dr. Joyce Green, an emeritus Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina. Over her three decades in the discipline she has spoken out, lifted us up, and been an inspiration for those of use who want to change academia. In her reflection, she talks about the struggles and how she's been witness to a transformation in academia that gives us hope for the future.

Want more Auntie Joyce? Check out the 2022 Indigenous Feminisms Symposium in Victoria, BC and online! More information and registration is here:

https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/circle/events/ifs/index.php

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Thanks for listening! Get more information, support the show, and read all the transcripts at academicaunties.com. Get in touch with Academic Aunties on Twitter at @AcademicAuntie or by e-mail at podcast@academicaunties.com.



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Transcripts

Ethel Tungohan:

I'm Dr. Ethel Tungohan, an Associate Professor of Politics at York University. This is Academic Aunties. Since the launch of this podcast, we've heard a lot about the struggles, the barriers and the hostility we face in the academy. It seems like every day we see an announcement from someone stating that they are leaving academia.

Ethel Tungohan:

It's easy to wonder, what's the point of all of this? Why should we keep trying to push this overwhelmingly, gigantic boulder up this hill?

Ethel Tungohan:

So on today's episode, our season finale, we are so excited to bring you a conversation with a very special guest, Dr. Joyce Green. If you don't know Professor Green, she's an emeritus Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina over the last three decades, she's published on Indigenous state relations, Indigenous feminism, citizenship identity, and racism, and reconciliation.

Ethel Tungohan:

Her and her family's experience growing up with English, Ktunaxa, and Cree-Scots Métis ancestry has provoked much of her scholarly and political work, including her seminal book, making space for Indigenous feminism, which will be celebrated in a conference later this month. We'll tell you more about that at the end of this episode. So clearly she's a trailblazer, but for many effects, Professor Green is the ultimate academic auntie.

Ethel Tungohan:

She tells it like it is with an ethos of sharp critique and caring mentorship that has lifted so many of us. And over the course of her many years in the field, she's been witness to a transformation in academia that gives us hope for the future.

Ethel Tungohan:

Auntie Joyce welcome to Academic Aunties. How are you doing today?

Joyce Green:

I am well, it's so lovely to be here.

Ethel Tungohan:

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation. Uh, I know that when we were talking about who to have as our guest for our season finale, your name was at the top of the list and that's because of your contributions to academia, but also because you've been such a force in lifting us up and having us feel energized and excited about being part of this world, this academic world that is oftentimes a cesspool. And the first question that I wanted to ask you is the question that we ask our our guests, auntie Mariam Georgis and auntie Nisha Nath in the very first episode of this podcast which is

Joyce Green:

I would think that part of the explanation lies in the fact that elite education has been primarily the preserve of those with economic heft. So in a capitalist system, it's meant the most affluent and the most affluent of our communities are white males. This does not mean that every white male is an asshole, she said always giving that disclaimer, but so many are. So many are because their privilege insulates them from the realities most of us live. And because they have conflated their privilege with merit. So they assume that the fact that they occupy so many positions in the academy, in published journals, in politics, in finance and so on, means that it is because they are inherently meritocratic. And we know of course that they are in an accelerated affirmative action program that is the preserve for white men, primarily curated by white men. So why are there so many assholes? It's because that system cultivates these kinds of approaches to the world and this kind of self-congratulatory bump and this inability to understand the positioning of those who are not like them.

Joyce Green:

That's my first observation. And my second is our system of academic training, of course, is rigorous. It is hierarchical. You must succeed at the first level to proceed to the second. Then in every step of the way we are evaluated critically by our peers and by our superiors.

Joyce Green:

And I think that leads us to be very, very anxious about criticism. It leads us to believe that when we have ascended, that we've checked off that box and we are now in a position to criticize others who perhaps haven't. And it leads us to believe that when we are engaged in discussions, we need to be very competitive.

Joyce Green:

We need to show that we are right. That we have done our homework and that is cultivated by our training process. We have yet to put in a more collaborative, generous, flexible, and kind hearted process towards the achieving of academic excellence.

Ethel Tungohan:

I'm nodding as you speak Auntie Joyce because I feel like everything you've said resonates with my experience and your experience. And I guess another question I had in that respect is you speak about other ways of doing things. You speak about compassion and community. Do you see that these norms of being more compassionate, being more community oriented, are these norms now on the ascendancy or at least now shifting existing practice? Or do we still have a long way to go?

Joyce Green:

Well, we have a long way to go. There is no question because you will note that the primary incumbents of the power positions in our workplace are still those who might generously be categorized as assholes, but that kind of language is on the radar. And I think particularly as more women have joined the academy, as more people from other cultural communities have joined the academy with different experiences of how to do this kind of work, how to lift each other up and be supportive, that kind of an objective, while not mainstream, is at least marginal, it's at least there. I believe that it is becoming more pervasive all of the time. Not to the joy of many of the incumbents, but we know that when you support each other, you actually accomplish more together than you do separately.

Joyce Green:

And we know from different cultural experiences that there are different ways of viewing success. And I am always humbled by some of the voices in my Ktunaxa community who are so incredibly generous. So incredibly tolerant that even in respect of perfectly repugnant and annoying people, they find a reason to bite their lip because it is so important that we move forward together.

Joyce Green:

I will say, I am not gifted with this. There are many times there are people I would like to throw overboard, but I am able to remind myself that there are these other people I so admire for their different approach to the world. And while I am, you know, now an academic antique I'm in a position to learn more about this and to try and model and advocate for that kind of an approach to the academy and to politics and to interpersonal relationships.

Ethel Tungohan:

And I think what's so beautiful about the spaces that you've created and the communities that you're building is that you are kind of reinforcing different norms. It's not about competition. It's about community. It's not about who's the best. It's about lifting all of us. So we feel affirmed and also feel that our knowledges are being centered as well.

Ethel Tungohan:

But Auntie Joyce you also speak about incumbents being unhappy, right? And how, even as we're striving to create these new norms, there's resistance from the other side as well. How do you see this being manifest? I mean, how are these power brokers retaining power and not ceding.

Joyce Green:

Yes. Well, because of the way progress in the academy is structured many of these people are able to turn thumbs up or thumbs down on different procedures, processes and on the advancement of colleagues. I mean, we all are concerned when we anger someone with power, because we know that power, not that it will be used against us, but that it could be used against us.

Joyce Green:

So we understand that these people are gatekeepers and until they too are antique fossils and move on we're kind of stuck with that. Some people are willing to adopt new ways, new procedures, but many find that very difficult, quite alarming. And again, I go back to their own formation, which has always told them that there is one, best practices and that they exemplify it, that they have gone through it and they have achieved what they have achieved because of it.

Joyce Green:

And so they know. They know what the discipline is. Know what the process should be. They know what merit looks like and sounds like, and smells like, and we don't quite fit. And that upsets them terribly. But I believe it's because of the training program and because of the, um, affirmative action program that is systemically instituted for these people, that they find it so threatening that there might be other ways of doing things which could produce excellence and knowlege, and good training for new scholars in the academy. So in a sense, I think we have to feel compassion for them because this is hard for them.

Ethel Tungohan:

And certainly we've both been part of spaces where standards of merit, where knowledge regarding the field, what political science looks like is upheld as being the ultimate, uh, standard for what excellence should look like. And I suppose I'm just wondering, you know, we're trying to create these alternative spaces. We're trying to open up what academia could look like. I think one of my questions is what bits of advice would you give those of us who are trying to be insurgents, who are trying to open up the space, but repeatedly, or at least occasionally, um, now that we've made in roads, keep getting push back.

Joyce Green:

Yeah. Get your elbows up.

Ethel Tungohan:

Oh.

Joyce Green:

What I see is that those who are objecting to our inclusion, to our promotion, to the validation of the kinds of knowledge we produce and so on, what they're objecting to is to something that is different from what they've understood to be the bar. We can't do anything about that, but we do believe that they are wrong in this.

Joyce Green:

We believe that we are beneficial to the discipline and to the academy and that, uh, by including our work, we've produced a broader view of knowledge, I think, particularly of the critical race, feminist and anti colonial work that is done in the academy that has produced so much insight into that old fossil, you know, Canadian politics.

Joyce Green:

But I think it means that we must remember that while we are scholars, some of our positions are political. And I believe that too is what distresses some of the scholars that resist us. They see the production of knowledge as being a neutral kind of activity. When in fact we understand it as always political and it comes as surprise to many in political science that there are politics within the discipline. Within the production of knowledge. Where who gets cited with, who gets published, who gets deployed in classes. But if we understand that we are also political actors, I think we will be less injured by the resistance and we will be more animated to pursue our politics as well as our professional practice.

Ethel Tungohan:

And I think as I'm nodding along and thinking this through, I think what's difficult is that on the one hand, I do want to get my elbows up and usher space into these tables and I'm doing that right? I'm trying to be part of the table to try to create change, but frequently you get so disillusioned because then you see that whatever changes you're proposing, the changes ultimately get diluted and seem so incremental. Right?

Ethel Tungohan:

So I oftentimes vacillate between putting my elbows up, trying to squeeze myself into the table. Trying to, you know, move this immovable ship towards progress, right? Between that, or just kind of being like, you know what, it's so flawed, let's just not engage and let's create our new spaces. And I'm wondering what your reflections are on that. On the imperative to kind of, you know, fight and try to shift structures, but also, you know, take a step back rest and say, look, I'm just going to create my own structures because this structure is so flawed that it's useless for me to put in energies.

Joyce Green:

Yes, well you called me auntie Joyce and said that I had contributed something to the possibility of inclusion for other scholars or for the support of them. So I am honored when you say that, but I want to tell you anything I've done has been out of desperation. That is how we transform our space. We transform our space by thinking through what we need to survive too, eh? So my survival is enhanced because you, Ethel, are there. And so when I'm in a position at this point in my career, when effectively it's over, when I'm in this position to hear younger scholars doing things that are far different than things that I did and doing them more capably than I ever did, I am delighted. This is transformation. You think it's slow and it is, it's glacial. But when I look back now, I see such transformation from the time I first entered the academy. There is much more potential and promise. There are now communities to support each other. There are networks across the country and across the world of scholars who are doing important, critical work. There are also casualties of the way things are. And we have both earlier spoken of a colleague who suffers enormously from physical ailment because of stress in the academy. So we know that the way things are are bad for our health, they injure some more than others. They can actually exclude people from the academy who no longer feel able to enjoy this kind of nonsense.

Joyce Green:

And I think that that leaves us with perhaps a moral calling to do something about the toxicity in our workplace. To make it less toxic so that more can thrive and contribute. But I am hopeful because you are here, because you are producing this podcast, obviously then you're intending to share it with a community who might enjoy it.

Joyce Green:

So there are more out there than I know about. Maybe even than perhaps, you know about. And niece Ethel, when you are retiring, when you're looking back and thinking, well, you know, what was that all about? I bet you, it won't look anything then as it does now and you will know that you were part of that transformation. And that is a delight.

Ethel Tungohan:

What an honor to hear these words from you, auntie Joyce. And I think one of the questions we had asked was, what strengths do you derive from the collective? What strengths do you derive from the community? Because you had mentioned that the discipline and academia has fundamentally transformed, and I know that you're part of these various communities, including this Indigenous feminist community that's going to come together to honor you in a few weeks. I mean, why is community so important? Why is friendship so important? And why is friendship subversive in a field, which seems to prioritize individual success rather than community success.

Joyce Green:

Yes. And where friendship is often actually simply alliance. But we have friendship that is a commitment to each other because we like each other and value each other. Not because we think that somebody can do something for us. I think that's quite different, but, I can tell you, I have never been as excited about a conference as I am about the forthcoming Indigenous feminist conference.

Joyce Green:

The fact that there is a community that will come together for that topic is something that is brand new. Back in the day we could have met in a phone booth, you know, it was just, there were not so many of us. And the fact that these people are doing such a broad spectrum of work is a delight for me.

Joyce Green:

I'm not answering your question properly. I'm just saying that that things have changed profoundly in ways that I find delightful. But to return to your question, for the majority of my academic career, as in yours, of course, every time we go to a conference, there's the anxiety. The anxiety about producing something that will be critiqued.

Joyce Green:

And you know, you have to do your homework and you have to invoke the various authorities and you have to show that you're a competent scholar. Well, this time I don't have to do a damn thing except talk about what got me to this stage and what transformations I've seen and what contributions I read that excite me, but nobody is there to evaluate me and to possibly stop me from proceeding in my formal or informal work.

Joyce Green:

And it's such a different experience for me to be able to look forward to a conference rather than to be running on adrenaline and filled with terror. And, and maybe this is something we can learn from the approach because these Indigenous feminists have a different approach to how we treat each other. They're much more welcoming. They're much less judgmental. Oh there may be some that will come with stones, but there will be others that will tell them to stuff it. I think that this is what the feminist movement has taught me at every step of the way since I was in my teens. That we can come together and offer each other, as a friend of mine puts it

Ethel Tungohan:

And I think what's so beautiful about this is it's not about you know, replicating the conventional conference space and we've all been there where we're all kind of holding our breaths and really just hoping that people who are listening and the discussant will just accept our ideas rather than attack us for being political. And I find that actually this beautiful space that you're describing created by Indigenous feminists, that's an aberration because a lot of other conference spaces, a lot of other academic spaces, a lot of other academic protocol, modes of evaluation, aren't about that, right?

Ethel Tungohan:

It's about trying to find flaws rather than trying to you know create ideas and build on other people's ideas. So I appreciate this vision as well. What do you think it would take for us to make this beautiful community oriented vision more widespread? Is there hope for us, and in the academy, to be able to create these norms of community. Do you see that, you know, the future holds this promise?

Joyce Green:

Well, I do because it's here. The fact that this is a scholarly conference that I'm to attend that is filled with headline scholars on the topic of Indigenous feminism and its many pursuits tells me that it exists. The fact that these people found a way to get the grants, to get the institutional support tells me that it's here.

Joyce Green:

The fact that there are more people that want to attend than can attend tells me it's here. Now fortunately there is also virtual attendance, so that will allow more to participate. But yes it is examples like these that tell me that the way that you and I have talked about transforming the academy is in fact, a process that is well underway in some quarters.

Joyce Green:

And I believe that it generates itself and regenerates itself, not just through our interactions with our colleagues, but most especially with our students. That we are training them differently. That that we are inviting them into the academy, encouraging them and telling them that they have something to contribute and that there is possibility.

Joyce Green:

And while there are many challenges that these wonderful creatures that we get to teach, have the capacity to overcome those challenges. And now at this point in my life, I look back and I see the ivory towers have in them people I used to teach and they are indeed contributing in ways I could never have imagined.

Joyce Green:

I don't have to construct how they become academics, how they deploy their academic-hood if you will. But I just have to sit back and enjoy the fact that this transformation is ongoing. I think it is building. And I think that there are also many standard issue white males who would look at that and think that looks pretty darn sweet.

Joyce Green:

I wouldn't mind having something like that. And some of them are in solidarity with us. And this is a wonderful thing. I think we are changing it, Ethel. I don't think things will be as grim in 10 years or in 50 years as they are now. And for sure, they're not as grim now as they were when I first became a student back in the seventies.

Ethel Tungohan:

I love this beautiful picture that you're portraying of the future. And I also think when we talk about, you know, the standard issue, white male, I do have a lot of friends, allies who are white men who get it, some who have been taught by you actually, and we can name names. And I think they realize too, that existing norms of competition and masculinity, toxic masculinity disadvantage them too.

Ethel Tungohan:

Right? So I am heartened by kind of thinking about the possibilities wrought by the future. And I know that our listeners, a lot of whom are early career scholars, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, are also excited about asking academic aunties like yourself, questions about strategizing.

Ethel Tungohan:

So if it's okay, I have some questions in that vein. In a previous podcast episode, one of our guests, Dr. Debra Thompson, auntie Deb talked about time theft and how institutions steal our time. They suck away our energies. They suck away our joy. What are some of the ways through which we can resist these encroachments on our time and our energies?

Ethel Tungohan:

And when do we know when to say yes to some things and no to some things.

Joyce Green:

Well, bear in mind, you're speaking to someone who is always too busy and never manages to accomplish all her goals. So I may not be the best source of wisdom on this. But I think that one of the things that the feminist movement taught me is the importance of good boundaries. So you have to know what your boundaries are.

Joyce Green:

You know, I can do this, but I cannot do that. And not to apologize too much for it. You know, of course we wish we could do everything and we can't. We have to take care of our health. We have to take care of our spiritual and mental wellbeing. We have to take care of fact that we are in a competitive institution and so we have to keep gathering those golden apples that are going to get us tenure, that are going to get us promotion. That are going to get us access to grants and to a CRC and so on. And that takes time. It means you have to prioritize your research. And your publication, and in early career that's the same time when you're also being dumped on with a bunch of new courses.

Joyce Green:

And you've got to go through marking hell at the end of each semester, and those are thefts of time. So some things we can't do anything about, but some we can. And so we have to watch the extraordinary induction of not only, but especially women and especially racialized women into committees. And of course we want to be included, but there are so few of us that it's quite easy to overtax people, maybe not so much at your institution, which is larger, but in a small institution, it's very easy for the Indigenous woman scholar or the Black woman scholar or the Black male scholar, you know, to become too busy on a number of committees and committees are time suckers.

Joyce Green:

They may be important for the administrative work of the institution. What my PhD supervisor always called administrivia, but it seems to me that boundaries are essential if we are to survive and thrive. If we are to stay well to enjoy what we do. To have the capacity to have something left in the jar when we go see our families and to make sure that our energy is going also into the things that will provide us with security and positive promotions in the academy. So I would say that. Good boundaries. Know what your priorities are. Know what they are on a timeframe because they change year to year. What you can do in one year, you may not do the next and know when you want to accomplish your objectives and set your path so that you can do it without being delayed because you were diverted into producing reports or taking on extra departmental work and so on.

Joyce Green:

So hard to say to people because everyone in the academy pretty much works very hard all of the time. I don't know anybody really, who honestly takes a full vacation. They're there writing their grants. And one of the most irritating conversations I had was when I raised the issue of how time consuming grant writing was and I was told by the male administrator, that that's what vacations were for.

Ethel Tungohan:

Oh for gods sake.

Joyce Green:

And I had to say, I have a child at home. My vacations are reserved for her, but you know, there are penalties too for saying that kind of thing.

Ethel Tungohan:

You know, it's so disheartening hearing you say that, that the administrator didn't even consider your positionality, didn't even consider your family life. And it makes me wonder what does his family life look like? And so, yeah, that, that's awful. I'm sorry. That's what vacations for? Excuse me. Vacation's for family. Vacation's for myself.

Joyce Green:

Exactly. You know, it's off limits. That's that's my boundary. But there, there are other kinds of things we do too, that are not recognized and cannot be recognized in the academy, but it is necessary for us to do them because of our enormous privilege of being in the academy. You know, the training we've had, the knowledge we have and, and the, the disciplines of how you obtain and deploy knowledge.

Joyce Green:

So, in my case, I have spent some years here in ʔamak̓is Ktunaxa, in my home territory contributing time to the Ktunaxa nation on a variety of political projects. These are not things which I can write up for publication. They're in process for the benefit of the nation. And my participation is for the nation. It's not, you know, for publication. I would love to write some of this stuff up one day, but I don't know that it is ever going to be possible. And I'm okay with that too.

Joyce Green:

So I'm saying that for those of us who want to contribute to our communities in this way, there's no way for that contribution to be treated with respect in the academy. It's simply time that you've taken away from doing something else, which might be seen as productive through the normal processes, and this can not be, but in my view, this not only was of some benefit to the nation but it was of enormous benefit to me, allowing me to reconnect with certain people. To become privy to some things I did not know. And to immerse myself in a community I have not long been part of. So we have to, I think, know our own priorities along with putting up those boundaries.

Joyce Green:

We are not only members of the professoriate, eh?

Ethel Tungohan:

We're not. And what you're saying, Auntie Joyce reminds me of something our dear friend, Dr. Rita Dhamoon, auntie Rita, who was also a guest on this podcast, had shared with me a long time ago, which is that you need to do the work that feeds you and your community. So it's not about seeing our membership in the academic world, as, as being the only membership we have. We're part of other communities.

Ethel Tungohan:

And I think what you speak of so beautifully is this recognition that we do have the power as PhDs, as doctors, right? To be able to help uplift communities through writing reports, through investigating, you know, questions that communities have. And it doesn't matter if these don't make it to our academic CVs, because that isn't the point ultimately.

Ethel Tungohan:

Um, another question you know, I know that our early career scholars would probably want you to reflect on is this whole notion of parenting and academia.

Ethel Tungohan:

And we started this conversation before we started recording, talking about the immense stress of parenting while also trying to get these academic golden apples as you say it. And oftentimes, there are no institutional ways to recognize that it's harder for parents. It's harder for care providers to submit grants and to write articles.

Ethel Tungohan:

How did you kind of navigate this? I mean, were there strategies that you adopted to try to, you know, attain these academic milestones while also parenting? What insights can you offer Auntie Joyce?

Joyce Green:

Oh, good lord, I don't know that I have insights. I only have experience. And now I'm trying to look back on the experience and develop some insights. But the experience sort of speaks for itself, which is, you know, when I first had my daughter, when I adopted my daughter, she was just a wee thing. And I was a sessional lecturer at the University of Lethbridge in Ralph Klein's Alberta.

Joyce Green:

It may not have been Klein's at that point, it became Klein's. But my point here is that there were no options. If you were hired on a contract like that, on a precarious contract, your obligation was to be prepared on your own time and to be at work and to meet the needs of the institution. It had no concern with the needs in your life.

Joyce Green:

Which led to my daughter attending more than one class when she could not go to daycare because she was ill. I mean, it was bad all around and there were no options. So my insight from that would be that we must build in options and we must put an end to precarity. And we must ensure that those who are hired sessionally have a contract that is robust enough to provide them with support in situations like this. That they should not be left to their own devices to manage something that is really, uh, of a social concern. And it was many years. I was a very slow learner. It took me many years before I did a PhD. So that was in the nineties. And what I recall from that is nothing had changed much. That my daughter still, well, she was in school by then, but she still was expected to be my personal concern, not an institutional concern.

Joyce Green:

And I recounted to you the anecdote of one of my professors telling me I needed to get organized and I needed to get my priorities straight. And given that my daughter was my top priority, you know, I was quite certain I did have them straight. But he didn't, he didn't think that. But by the time I got to the PhD, you know, say 15 years later or whatever, I had a feminist supervisor and she got it. Well, of course she did, you know she had gone through her doctoral work with a child and I got a lot of support from her. And she did other things to support me that other supervisors did not do for their students. Hand-holding, bribing me with, if you get your comps done by this date, we'll make chocolate truffles.

Ethel Tungohan:

Oh, aww.

Joyce Green:

I mean it was the friendship. The understanding that went hand in hand with the training process that always made me feel that she was in my corner, on my side, helping me achieve my goals rather than standing there and watching me to see if I could jump over the bar. And so again, I, the insight I gained is that it matters who is in the institution. And as we have more people like my sainted former supervisor in the institution I think we will have a kinder, more generous, more gentle, more supportive culture being built within it. And Ethel I imagine you will manage your students differently than some of us were managed. And that will have an impact on them.

Joyce Green:

They will go forward with a different view of what it means to be a competent supervisor or a competent professor. So I really do think that our first task is wedging that heavy door open and ushering people inside because they are transformative. I mean, the work you are doing is transformative. Both your scholarly work and your political work are transformative. And in this way, when you leave the ivory towers, they will not look the way they do now. They won't feel the way they are now. So all I can say Ethel is it's an enormous contribution that you make when you engage. It would have been easier for you and for others if you just said, well, this is the way it is, this is my number one preoccupation.

Joyce Green:

I'm going to jump all the hoops, dot all the I's and cross all the T's. And never make a ripple. And that of course would be easier for you in many ways. But it would not be rewarding. And that's the wonderful thing is you can't accept it because you know, it's not right. And you're doing something about it.

Joyce Green:

It's very hard work. It's generally thankless work. I'm so grateful that you're there and you're doing it, but you need to know you're not alone. You're never alone. And that the people that are observing you are being changed by you too. This is the insight I gain now, when people, like you say to me, Auntie Joyce, and I think holy cow, I never knew anyone noticed.

Joyce Green:

I never knew it was of any value. And I have made many mistakes in my career. Some of which I regret and some of which I regret not doubling down on.

Ethel Tungohan:

Uh, geez. Well, those are such beautiful and uplifting words. Do you have final bits of advice to offer our listeners? Again, a lot of our listeners are PhD students who are deep in the trenches. A lot of them are early career scholars who are trying to land academic jobs, post-doctoral fellows. And a lot of them have messaged me personally saying they are discouraged and they don't know whether to keep going.

Ethel Tungohan:

And they don't know whether it's even worth it. And I know circumstances vary of course, but, do you have any words of advice to give listeners who just feel that they're alone and that they're drowning?

Joyce Green:

Yes, I do. It's so worth it. The academy is also a marvelous place. It's perhaps the only place left in our society where, what a colleague of mine calls the life of the mind. The value of ideas is, is our job. It is, it's such a privilege to be able to work with scholarship and with scholars on things that you think are important. While many others in society accuse us of being locked in the ivory towers, talking about angels on pinheads, you know, but our knowledge leads to things. It leads to understandings and transformations and growth and development and science and so many positive things. So I would begin by saying it is worth the struggle. And for doctoral students and for early career academics, it is a most stressful time of life. It's when you're the brokest. And when you have the most insecurity and the most demands on you, and particularly if you are also starting a family.

Joyce Green:

It will get better. It will get better and you do have community and you are transformative. And so stay in the academy and change it, but also enjoy it. Enjoy it for the special space. I view it as virtually a sacred space in which we are brought into contact with others. For the majority of them, it's a brief contact, it's a class or something, but for others, it is something that expands into a lifelong relationship where you impact each other's lives.

Joyce Green:

And that's again what this forthcoming conference tells me is, who knew I have a community and the things I have done were not invisible. And in fact, they were valued. So you too Ethel, will get there, but so will all of these young, brilliant, beautiful people that are working their way into and through the academy.

Joyce Green:

I want them to be there because it is a lovely place to work. And when I think back on it, I enjoyed the research, all right. But I never regret the time I spent with my students. They gave me at least as much as I gave them. And now they go on and they make their own contributions in life. They aren't all academics. Most, most are not academics, but they contribute in very important ways.

Joyce Green:

And it was a privilege to be part of their journey. It's not something I regret doing. It is something I regret not doing sooner.

Ethel Tungohan:

Mm hmm.

Joyce Green:

And I have no great sources of wisdom and information. It's just, I had my own journey. All I can do is tell you about my journey and the mistakes I made and the successes I found and the value and the meaning those hold for me. And then the younger people will have to look at those and make of them what they will, because their lives are different than mine.

Joyce Green:

They live in a different universe. Sometimes we don't even talk the same language. I don't own a cell phone, so yes, but I think that we are all colleagues.

Ethel Tungohan:

That's so that's so poignant and so heartfelt. And I like this picture of this lineage, right? I like this picture of your students going off and spreading knowledge and creating communities. And I do think one of the greatest joys of our job, and one of the biggest privileges we have in our job is this ability to shape and talk and converse and learn from our students as well.

Ethel Tungohan:

So, thank you so much Auntie Joyce and thank you for sharing space with us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your reflections. Truly, truly grateful for your presence.

Joyce Green:

Thank you.

Ethel Tungohan:

One of the most powerful things I took away from this conversation with Auntie Joyce was the insistence that we not abandon our voice or space within academia.

Ethel Tungohan:

We can reject the norms of the institution and we can achieve excellence through collaboration, generosity, and kind hearted processes. We might have to, as Auntie Joyce said, get our elbows up, but things have changed and transformation in academia is possible.

Ethel Tungohan:

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter at @AcademicAuntie.

Ethel Tungohan:

If you want to hear more from and about Auntie Joyce we highly recommend attending the 2022 Indigenous Feminism Symposium at the University of Victoria from April 21st to the 23rd. Auntie Joyce is the keynote and there is an amazing slate of Indigenous feminist scholars, activists, artists, and community members, considering the history and future of Indigenous feminist ideology and practice.

Ethel Tungohan:

If you're not in Victoria, don't worry. It's a hybrid event. So you can also watch. online. Check out the show notes for the registration link.

Ethel Tungohan:

This is the finale of our second season of academic aunties. Thank you so much for listening over the past eight months. We're going to be taking a little bit of hiatus, but don't worry. We'll drop a few bonus episodes and we'll be back soon with season three of Academic Aunties.

Ethel Tungohan:

In the meantime, check out some of her previous episodes and remember to spread the word. If you want to support Academic Aunties, check out academicaunties.com/support, where you can provide feedback, purchase Academic Aunties swag and become a Patreon supporter, which goes right into the production of this podcast.

Ethel Tungohan:

Shout out to our newest patron Michaela. Listeners like Michaela directly support the production of this podcast. Like helping us get some new software that we used to edit this very episode. So thank you! Your support means so much. Today's episode of Academic Aunties was hosted by me, Dr. Ethel Tungohan, and produced by myself, Dr. Nisha Nath and Wayne Chu.

Ethel Tungohan:

Tune in next time, when we talk to more academic aunties.

Ethel Tungohan:

Until then take care, be kind to yourself and don't be an asshole.