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.

Hierarchies of S**t

We talk a lot about toxic work environments and strategies of survival. But there are moments when you just have to leave. On this episode, Dr. Jo Davis-McElligatt (@jcdmce), Assistant Professor of Black Literary & Cultural Studies at the University of North Texas, and Dr. Rita Shah (@TheRitaPhD), Associate Professor of Criminology at Eastern Michigan University, talk about wading through the hierarchies of s**t in academia, and tell us how and why they made the decision to leave, the importance of ultimately prioritizing and loving ourselves.

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Gratitude and Gifts

On this episode, an anonymous listener asks: “How do I pay my gratitude to my supervisor who has been my constant source of support. She has gone above and beyond to help me survive in graduate school, and continues to support me. Any ideas on how I can appropriately show my gratitude to her? I say and write thank you a lot, but I feel it’s not enough. I want to give her a small material gift, but I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable as it can be considered inappropriate to give gifts to our supervisors. Any suggestions of this would be very helpful. Thank you.”

Joining us to answer this question is Dr. Tobin LeBlanc Haley (@tobinatrix), an Assistant Professor of Sociology at X University in Toronto.

The Chair

We take a deep dive into The Chair, the new Netflix series starring Sandra Oh about the first woman of colour chair of the English department at the fictional Pembrooke University. Everyone (or at least all academics!) are talking about this new show, created by Amanda Peat and Annie Julia Wyman, and we have lots of thoughts, from the moments that resonated with us to why many are finding the show a bit triggering. Joining us are Jamie Chai Yun Liew, an Associate Professor and Director of the University of Ottawa Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, and Kimberly McKee, past Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History and an Associate Professor in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department at Grand Valley State University.

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Playing the Game

On this #AskAnAcademicAuntie bonus episode of Academic Aunties, Dr. Shaista Patel joins host Dr. Ethel Tungohan to talk about “playing the game” in academia in order to get out and find a place actually respects us.

#AskAnAcademicAuntie: Finding Your Voice

How do you maintain your ‘voice’ as a writer and instructor when academic institutions expect particular structures, tones, and writing styles? And how do you maintain space for creativity and joy when doing work that is draining? Dr. Tobin Haley Leblanc joins us for our first #AskAnAcademicAuntie mini-episode.

Searching for Joy

It’s hot, it’s been a long year of COVID and we all need a break. But it seems as though we’re never given a chance to just be. From the fatal Islamaphobic attacks against a family in London, Ontario to the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at Canada’s residential schools to the anti-Asian shootings in Atlanta to police brutality against the Black community – white supremacy never lets up, does it? How can we keep working as though all is normal when we keep feeling like we’re constantly under attack? In this episode, we talk with Dr. Shaista Patel, Assistant Professor of Critical Muslim Studies at UC San Diego, and Krittika Ghosh, Executive Director of the Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI) Domestic Violence Resource Project about searching for joy amidst trauma, the importance of celebrating friendship and communites of care, and the generative possiblities of #TrashyProfSummer.

Wait, was that racist?

From seemingly benign encounters that show how the academy doesn’t actually see us as belonging—like mixing up Asian colleagues, or mistaking us for students, or the constant compliments about our English—to actual harmful moments that we still need to heal from, one of the challenges of giving voice to anti-Asian racism is that it oftentimes feels like it barely registers. Yet, Asians in the academy experience racism everyday, while struggling with the acute rise of anti-Asian sentiments, which has been amplified since the start of the pandemic. We chat with Dr. Jessica Soedirgo, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and Dr. Hae Yeon Choo, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, about our assorted encounters with anti-Asian racism.

Subversives in the Academy

For many women of colour, life in academia feels like a constant fight. As Dr. Rita Dhamoon writes, racism is a workload issue. So, when do we sit down and when do we fight back? And how do we keep fighting in the face of such intractible systemic hostility? In this episode of Academic Aunties, we talk to Dr. Debra Thompson (Associate Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Racial Inequality in Democratic Societies at McGill University) about the necessity of the fight, the value of stealing your time back, how creating subversives can drive change, and the importance of armour to survive the neoliberal academy.

A-holes in the Academy

Why are there so many in academia? Does the institution attract them or does the institution make them? What is institutional gaslighting? And how do we care for each other in this often toxic space? In this episode, we chat with academic aunties, Dr. Nisha Nath, an Assistant Professor of Equity Studies at Athabasca University, and Dr. Mariam Georgis, a SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Manitoba about coping with exclusionary academic norms, the messages that the neoliberal academy sends that breeds toxic behaviour, and the value of checking in.

Introducing Academic Aunties (Trailer)

Academia. A-CAAAHHH—DEEEMM–AIYA! ACA-DEEM-YAAHH. It is a site of exclusion. For those of us who are first-generation, who are racialized, who are women, and who inhabit social locations that are traditionally unrepresented in this space, academia is full of landmines. This is why we need academic aunties. This podcast will talk about how to navigate this … Read more