I am haunted by a particular kind of ghosts.
At times, they materialize in the subtle sting of mistrust upon new encounters. At others, they form a knot in my gut, heavy with anger and disenchantment. They embody the specific kind of pain caused by the ruptures between feminist theory and proclamations, and lived feminist practice in academia.
I have struggled with following this perspective in this contribution. Many of these specters echo encounters with scholars, who are self-proclaimed feminists and feminist theorists, whose work I had admired, and still admire. Others formed within institutional contexts that off-handedly declare commitment to feminist politics, and, most excruciatingly, within scholarly networks, whose pronounced purpose it is to scrutinize and fight intersecting forms of subjugation including those along lines of gender, sexuality, class, race and ethnicity.
I have struggled, as well, because giving voice to my experiences would risk diverting attention from other, more explicitly misogynist, displays of abuse of power. And because pointing to these problems threatened to cancel out the experiences of feminist companionship and support that have carried me through my early career in academia.
But my ghosts would not dissolve. They expanded and multiplied with time, with reflection.