Battling Toxic Productivity

Good things happen but you just can’t enjoy it, and maybe you feel even more anxious. This is a common feeling and is something that this week’s guest, Dr. Ayendy Bonifacio (@AyendyBonifacio) wrote about in a insightful, personal article in Slate. We talk about toxic productivity, celebration as a practice, and how the unique experience … Read more

The Not So Secret Lives of Academic Pets

Many academics have pets. For me, most of my academic life from my postdoc until very recently involved my beloved cat, a long haired Maine Coon named Cornelius, who was my sidekick, my best friend, my confidante. We said goodbye to him on October 4, 2022. So for this episode, I want to honour Cornelius … Read more

Conference Audio Diaries

We’re on the road at the American Political Science Association conference! Producer extraordinaire, Dr. Nisha Nath joins the podcast to discuss Dr. Ethel Tungohan’s audio diaries taken at this incredibly large academic conference. Along the way, they challenge norms, discuss the value of curating your conference and finding community, and provide some interesting tips and … Read more

The Long Road Home with Debra Thompson

Dr. Debra Thompson (@debthompsonphd), talks about her poignant, profound and powerful book, The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging, about her journey back home. She weaves together insights on the politics of race and racialization and Black identity while discussing family history, growing up in Oshawa, and her experiences, in academic spaces in Chicago, … Read more

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: How to Sabbatical

On this bonus episode, it’s host’s prerogative: What do you do on a sabbatical? Dr. Genevieve Fuji-Johnson (@JohnsonFuji) and Dr. Paola Ardiles (@Paola_A_Ardiles) drop a little wisdom to help Ethel make the most of her year. Related Links An Unusual Academic Thanks for listening! Get more information, support the show, and read all the transcripts … Read more

Back to School

Back to school is usually a fun time because it signals new beginnings. But this year it feels different. Confusing and maybe a bit frightening. After two years of the pandemic, there’s this sense of forced normalcy even though the pandemic is certainly not yet over. And what about the extra labour we’ve had to … Read more

The Real Deal with Job Search Committees

In theory, applying for academic jobs seems fairly straightforward. You see the job ad, you put together your application package, you send your application in, and whoever is the most qualified gets the job. In practice, the reality is a lot more complicated. So in this episode, we show you how the sausage is made. … Read more

Say No to Precarious Employment

On this bonus episode of Academic Aunties, we hear from Dr. Vannina Sztainbok, who after working at her department on year-to-year contracts for seven (!) years straight, was let go…right before she would be eligible for permanent employment. Her story is the story of a lot of academics. Say NO to precarious employment in academia … Read more

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Responding to Reviewers

How do you respond to peer reviews for journal articles? Do you respond to every single reviewer comment? How do you respond to this strategically? On this #AskAnAcademicAuntie we have Dr. Heather Millar (@hlmillar) and Dr. Carmen Ho (@carmenjho_) dispensing a little auntie wisdom. Thanks for listening! Get more information, support the show, and read … Read more

The Ultimate Academic Auntie

Get your elbows up. On this episode, our season 2 finale, we talk to the ultimate academic auntie, Dr. Joyce Green, an emeritus Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina. Over her three decades in the discipline she has spoken out, lifted us up, and been an inspiration for those of … Read more

Turning Red

We talk about Turning Red, the newest Pixar film, directed by Toronto filmmaker Domee Shi, about a thirteen year old Chinese Canadian girl, Meilin Lee, who finds out that when she gets emotional, she turns into a big, red panda. Meilin also has to navigate life as a middle schooler and all that this entails, … Read more


Conference season is almost upon us! And man oh man, do we have a lot to say about academic conferences. Conferences are a crucial part of academics’ professional trajectories. In theory, these are the spaces where we’re supposed to present our work, engage with scholars in our field to make potential contacts for collaborations, and … Read more

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Productivity Tips

On this #AskAnAcademicAuntie, Dr. Alison Smith (@AliSmith_UdeM), Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga, tells us about some of her tips and hacks to stay afloat amidst our competing responsibilities. Have a question? Tweet us at @AcademicAuntie, or send us an e-mail at [email protected].

When Yasmeen Met Abbie: Collaborations and Friendships in the Academy

When we think about academic relationships, we often think of romantic partnerships between two academics. We might also think about the power relationships between, say, a supervisor and a student, or a dean and a professor. But we often don’t think about our research collaborations as an important kind of relationship. That’s surprising because research collaborations are, arguably, the most important relationships that you will ever have in academia.

In this episode, we talk to Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta and Dr. Abigail Bakan, a Professor in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. They are research collaborators, friends, and an inspiration for those of us who are doing work that is intensely contested and political.


We’re talking about Encanto, the newest Disney animated film, featuring songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, about a magical family living in the mountains of Colombia. Why are we talking about a kids movie on a podcast about academia? Well, first, because we loved the film. Second, our aunties, Natasha Sofia Martinez (@natysofia_) and Dr. Mariam Georgis (@mariamgeorgis) have plenty to say about intergenerational trauma, the immigrant experience, and who gets to decide which stories are valid.

Pandemic Parenting, Part II

On Part II of our pandemic parenting series, we talk to Dr. Yolande Bouka (@YolandeBouka), Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. In this episode, we talk about how the pressures of being a parent in academia, and in a pandemic, are hitting us personally. Auntie Yolande talks about prioritizing our … Read more

Pandemic Parenting, Part I

We’re talking about Pandemic Parenting. The compromises we’ve had to make, the hard decisions we’ve had to take, and the reminder that we are enough and that blaming ourselves for not being able to be as ‘productive’ means that we let structures off the hook. In Part 1 of our two part pandemic parenting series, we’re talking with Dr. Sheila Colla, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environment and Urban Change at York University, about the expectations of academia while raising kids in a pandemic, and how science isn’t as always as objective as it likes to say it is.

After Hours

On this extended year-end episode, Dr. Rita Dhamoon, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria, and Dr. Nisha Nath (@nnath), Assistant Professor in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University grab a few drinks with Dr. Ethel Tungohan to talk about remembering who you are outside of the academy, rebuilding your strength, and how maybe it’s the institution that has to get it’s shit together.

Anatomy of Academic Advice

On this episode, we’re breaking down academic advice. What makes for good advice? And why is bad advice…so bad? Joining us to talk about good academic advice, bad academic advice, shadow advising, and the expectations of “academic mommy” and “academic daddy” are Dr. Shanti Fernando and Dr. Sule Tomkinson.

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Now Problems, Later Problems

On this #AskAnAcademicAuntie, a listener asks “how do you maintain a sense of peace in the face of such enormous stress?” Joining us to answer this question is Jennifer Chouinard (@JenniferChouina), a PhD student in Public Policy at the University of Regina.