Academic motherhood and fieldwork: Juggling time, emotions and competing demands

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The idea and practice of going “into the field” to conduct research and gather data is a deeply rooted aspect of Geography as a discipline. For global North Development Geographers, among others, this usually entails travelling to, and spending periods of time in, often far-flung parts of the global South. Forging a successful academic career as a Development Geographer in the UK is therefore to some extent predicated on mobility. This paper aims to critically engage with the gendered aspects of this expected mobility, focusing on the challenges and time constraints that are apparent when conducting overseas fieldwork as a mother, unaccompanied by her children. The paper emphasises the emotion work that is entailed in balancing the competing demands of overseas fieldwork and mothering, and begins to think through the implications of these challenges in terms of the types of knowledge we produce, as well as in relation to gender equality within the academy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-704
Number of pages12
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


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