Emotional masking and spill-outs in the neoliberalized university: a feminist geographic perspective on mentorship

A.L. Bain, R. Baker, N. Laliberté, A. Milan, W.J. Payne, L. Ravensbergen, D. Saad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper addresses the emotional dimensions of academic mentorship from a student mentee perspective and contributes to an emerging literature on geographies of emotion in higher education. It presents a pedagogical practice of self-reflexive co-mentorship – self-peer-ceptive feminist mentoring – and deploys it methodologically to analyze three biographical narratives. From different student mentee vantage points, these narratives reveal how the scales of the body, the family, and the nation are interwoven within the geopolitical and manifest within mentoring relationships. We argue that self-peer-ceptive feminist mentorship allows people at different academic career stages to share personal experiences of navigating the academy as a means to challenge institutional systems of power. Our argument answers three questions: How and why do we express and manage our emotions in mentoring relationships? What spatial scales are invoked through our emotional experiences and with what implications? How are different power structures embedded in the requirements, practices, successes, and failures of emotional management? Our discussion highlights how emotional masking and spill-outs are tools to navigate the emotional terrain of the neoliberalized academy. We conclude that self-peer-ceptive feminist mentoring can unsettle the structural hierarchies that require a “masking” of feelings for the sake of professional distance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1080/03098265.2017.1331424
Pages (from-to)590-607
JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • mentoring
  • emotions
  • self-peer-ceptive
  • feminism
  • neoliberalized university


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