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Heteropatriarchy and Academia

Stanford graduate students are invited to join us for a speaker series examining the presence of heteropatriarchy in academia. 

We are motivated by this specific moment in time, during which COVID has exacerbated inequalities and laid bare the shortcomings of our educational institutions as it pertains to supporting and advancing women, people of color, LGBTQIA+/queer individuals, and gender non-conforming individuals in particular. We are in a unique moment in which we are attempting to return to some form of hybrid or in-person work, and can claim this opportunity to reimagine our practices and recreate our support systems.

Our aim is to provide both structural and individual/community level perspectives. We will provide tools and support for navigating academia without placing the burden for institutional change on an individual’s shoulders. Guests speakers will present research for both a systematic view and for examples of how research may inform social and institutional change.

The series is generously funded by Stanford's Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

Upcoming Spring 2022 events

This speaker series and interdisciplinary intellectual community is open to any Stanford graduate student. All events will take place via Zoom until further notice. Contact Meagan Khoury to register and receive a Zoom link and with any questions at

Friday, April 8, 11 a.m.

“(At Least) Doubly Qualified? The Diversity Hire as an Expert Communicator and Cultural Laborer”
prabhdeep singh kehal (Brown University)


Wednesday, April 20 at 12:00pm

“Mapping Institutional Power Structures”
Reg Calcagno (Human Rights Campaign)

“Liberated relationships are one of the ways we actually create abundant justice, the understanding that there is enough attention, care, resource, and connection for all of us to access belonging, to be in our dignity, and to be safe in community” -- adrienne maree brown, Pleasure Activism
Power mapping is a strategy that's commonly used in organizing and campaigns to identify your allies and opponents who can help you make change. It's also instrumental when you're navigating organizations, programs, and institutions: when you're working within a system, you're never working in isolation. In this talk, Reg will provide guidance around power mapping, particularly for those of us entering the academic job market. The job talk becomes a site for us to invert the hegemonic paradigm by interrogating the overt and covert armature of the departments we seek to join.
Reg Calcagno (he/they) is an experienced community organizer, activist, and policy and legal analyst.  He is a skilled political strategist with over a decade of experience working on integrated advocacy campaigns at national and state organizations including the ACLU and the HRC.  Calcagno’s work focuses on advancing civil and human rights and democracy, with specialized expertise in intersectional LGBTQ+ campaigns.  Calcagno considers it his personal life mission to create pathways to action that minimize gatekeepers and raise the voices and visibilities of those most directly impacted.  Calcagno received a B.A. in Government and Women and Gender Studies from Skidmore College and a juris doctor from University of Illinois at Chicago School of Law.


Monday, May 2 at 4:00pm

“Our Activism, Inside and Outside the Academy”
Elena Shih (Brown University)

Community-based research has become a buzzword in the neoliberal academy, with the capacity to drum up enormous funding for projects that remain extractive at their core. At the same time, the need for research to speak to multiple publics remains more urgent than ever. This talk thinks through some of these paradoxes and tensions: of productivity and "slowness," of creating voice while carving a space for silence, and of de-centering expertise within the Ivory tower. Located between ethnography and community organizing, it contextualizes some of these questions in work with migrant and sex worker rights organizations throughout Asia and the U.S. 

Elena Shih is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, where she directs a human trafficking research cluster through the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. Shih's forthcoming book project, "Manufacturing Freedom: Trafficking Rescue, Rehabilitation, and the Slave Free Good" (University of California Press), is a global ethnography of the transnational social movement to combat human trafficking in China, Thailand, and the United States. Shih serves on the editorial boards for The Anti-Trafficking Reviewa peer-reviewed journal of the Global Alliance to Combat Traffic in Women, and openDemocracy's Beyond Trafficking and Slavery op-ed platform. In 2018 Shih was appointed to the Rhode Island State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Recent op-eds about her research and organizing as a core collective member of Red Canary Song appear in the New York Times and Providence Journal

Tuesday, May 10 at 12pm

“Covid’s Impact on Gender Inequality in our Changing Professoriate” 
Alison Crossley and Adrian Daub (The Clayman Institute for Gender Research)

Winter 2022 events


Wednesday Jan. 19, 4 pm

Adrian Daub , Clayman Institute of Gender Research, Stanford University

Welcome Event: How can we interrogate heteropatriarchy and academia, as it stands now in this unprecedented moment? How can we show up authentically in this community considering ongoing structural and institutional challenges?

Thursday, Feb. 10, 12 pm

Ray Briggs, Stanford University

Being Trans or Non-Binary on the Job Market and/or as an Early Career Scholar

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 12 pm

Harris Kornstein, University of Arizona

Navigating Academia as a Scholar and Drag Performer

Wednesday, March 9

Tina Cheuk, California Polytechnic State University
Nicole Lynn Lewis, author of Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families and founder of Generational Hope

Being a Parent/Caretaker and an Academic