Black women academicians represent a highly educated group that at times hold positional power within institutions of higher education. In this paper, the authors utilize a critical race feminist frame to explore their experiences with relational aggressive dynamics within higher education work settings. Using auto-narrative qualitative methodology, they collected data through scholarly personal narratives in the form of journals. The entries were analyzed by utilizing an intersectional lens with a focus on coping. Data analysis yielded four themes framed as coping with frenemy dynamics between individuals and contexts. The authors consider the contribution of individual, institutional and structural elements.


Women, Academy, Higher Education, Black, Intersectionality, Autonarrative Methodology

Author Bio(s)

At the time of this submission, Dr. Wendi S. Williams was the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street College of Education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Wendi S. Williams, Ph.D., Dean, School of Education, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94613; wewilliams@mills.edu.

Dr. Catherine Packer-Williams is a Counseling Psychologist with a private practice, CPW Counseling and Consulting in Aiken, SC. Prior to establishing a private practice, she was a Professional School Counselor, Counselor Educator, and Dean of Instruction. As a scholar practitioner, her primary research activities focus on the intersections of race, gender, education, and psychology. Her primary research interests include studying the experiences of Black women in the academy in regard to mentoring, professional identity, and psychological well-being. She is primarily a mixed-methods researcher with a strong interest in instrumentation. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: cpackerwilliams@gmail.com.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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