“Your husband doesn’t seem like an English professor”: Choices, context, and work on the outside

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date


Publication Title

Voices of Practice: Narrative Scholarship from the Margins


Hybrid Pedagogy Publishing

Publisher Location

Washington, DC

First page number:


Last page number:



In order to reflect effectively on my professional scholarly career, I wanted to craft an apt metaphor. My first attempt was the hackneyed image of a gravel road that stretches on indefinitely through the countryside. This gravel road might represent the acceptable path to a scholarly identity. My stories could then show that this is not the only path, for there are other paths, along the berm or through the brambles in the ditch at the side of the road. But I grew up on a cul-de-sac in a blue collar neighborhood in Southern California, where the fathers went to work on assembly lines, in service bays, or on construction sites. My father was a Teamster, working at a Firestone tire and retread plant in Paramount. There was only one way in and one way out of our cul-de-sac. There were no berms, no ditches by the side of the road, no scholarly pursuits. Only concrete and asphalt.

Controlled Subject

Gravel roads; Southern California; Blue collar workers


United States History

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