Asserting the Right to Belong: Feminist Co-Mentoring Among Graduate Student Women

Document Type




Format of Original

19 p.

Publication Date

Spring 2013


University of Illinois Press

Source Publication

Feminist Teacher

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.5406/femteacher.23.3.0177


This empirical case study aims at identifying how graduate student women mentor each other when tutoring writing and, through doing so, assert the right to belong in the academy. While cross-disciplinary literature suggests the value of mentoring, particularly feminist co-mentoring, it also indicates a need to understand better the nature of these collaborations. Specifically: what does feminist co-mentoring look like in practice? What interactional and relational work is involved when graduate student women mentor each other? In response to these questions, we first argue for feminist co-mentoring as an alternative and much-needed approach to traditional/hierarchical mentoring. We then describe our methodological approach of applied CA and selection of the case involving Andrea and Charisse (graduate student women of color). As we turn to the case study, we introduce the participants and analyze a span of their talk that involves collaboratively moving from a hesitant stance to one of making strong claims. We conclude by offering implications both for individuals and institutions committed to mentoring.


Feminist Teacher, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Spring 2013): 177-195. DOI.