“There’s a Human Being Here”: A Doctoral Class Uses Duoethnography to Explore Invisibility, Hypervisibility, and Intersectionality

Annemarie Vaccaro, Chiquita Baylor, Desiree Forsythe, Karin Capobianco, Jana Knibb, John Olerio
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 15  •  2020  •  pp. 637-652

This paper contributes to the scholarly literature on intersectionality and social injustice (invisibility, hypervisibility) in higher education and serves as a model for enacting doctoral education where research, theory, and practice converge.

Invisibility and hypervisibility have long been documented as social injustices, but very little literature has documented how doctoral students (who are also university employees) make meaning of intersecting privileges and oppressions within post-secondary hierarchies.

This study used a 10-week Duoethnography with co-researchers who were simultaneously doctoral students, staff, instructors, and administrators in higher education settings.

This paper offers a unique glimpse into currere—the phenomenon of theory and practice converging—to offer an intensive interrogation of life as curriculum for five doctoral students and a professor.

This paper illuminates rich meaning-making narratives of six higher educators as they grappled with invisibility and hypervisibility in the context of their intersecting social identities as well as their varied locations within post-secondary hierarchies/power structures.

Duoethnography can be an effective strategy for social justice praxis in doctoral programs as well as other higher education departments, divisions, or student organizations.

Researchers can use Duoethnography to explore a plethora of social justice issues in doctoral education and across staff, faculty, and Ph.D. student experiences within the power structures of post-secondary education.

Examining intersectionality, invisibility and hypervisibility is an important way to delve into the complexity of oppression. There will be no justice until all forms of oppression (including hypervisibility and invisibility) are extinguished.

Future research can more deeply explore social injustices and the intersections of not only social identities, but also social locations of doctoral students who are simultaneously employees and students in a university hierarchy.

doctoral education, duoethnography, invisibility, hypervisibility, intersectionality
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