Presumed Incompetent

The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia

edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Angela P. Harris

Paperback Price $41.95
Ebook Price $33.95

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"Women in academia still face obstacles built up over centuries, but the contributors to Presumed Incompetent have taken a leap toward liberation. Their revelations will enrage you—and open minds and hearts."
—Gloria Steinem

"Presumed Incompetent is undeniably a path-breaking book full of stories of resilience and survival. The editors of this magnificent collection attest to the power of storytelling and add to the testimonios of women in academia such as Telling to Live and Paths to Discovery. Each and every one of the authors survived and in telling their stories they offer hope and solace for young women scholars entering the academy."
—Norma E. Cantú

"This book felt so painfully familiar I almost could not read it. Those of us who started our careers as firsts and onlys have had to forget much about the cruelty hidden in academic enclaves. Forgetting, a means of surviving, buries pain and erases history, leaving us morally and intellectually flimsy. Thanks to these women for taking the harder path of truth-telling."
—Mari Matsuda

"Exploding the myth that we live in a "post-identity" world, Presumed Incompetent provides gripping first-hand accounts of the ways in which women faculty of color are subjected to stereotypes, fears and fantasies based on the intersection of race, gender, and class. It reminds us that the mere passage of time is not enough to create equitable workplaces for anyone facing institutional subordination."
—Kimberlé Crenshaw

"Presumed Incompetent is an absolute must read for anyone who is thinking of entering academia, for junior faculty but also senior scholars alike.... it is crucial we learn from Presumed Incompetent and implement its recommendations in our positions of power and influence."
The Feminist Wire


Presumed Incompetent is a pathbreaking account of the intersecting roles of race, gender, and class in the working lives of women faculty of color. Through personal narratives and qualitative empirical studies, more than 40 authors expose the daunting challenges faced by academic women of color as they navigate the often hostile terrain of higher education, including hiring, promotion, tenure, and relations with students, colleagues, and administrators. The narratives are filled with wit, wisdom, and concrete recommendations, and provide a window into the struggles of professional women in a racially stratified but increasingly multicultural America.


Peitho Journal (pdf) Vol. 15, No. 2 by Hui Wu
The Review of Higher Education (pdf) Winter 2014 by Nadia M. Richardson
Transnational Literature October 2013 by Maja Milatovic
Harvard Journal of Law & Gender November 2013 by Wendy B. Scott
Harvard Journal of Law & Gender October 2013 by Kate Aizpuru
Women's Review of Books (pdf) September October 2013 by Stacey Patton
Feminist Philosophers August 2013 by Teresa Blankmeyer Burke
Psychology of Women Quarterly September, 2013 by Joan M. Ostrove
London School of Economics (LSE) Review of Books April 2013 by Sin Yee Koh
Women in Higher Education (pdf), March 2013 by Sarah Gibbard Cook
Inside Higher Ed, March 5, 2013 by Afshan Jafar
Huffington Post Books, March 4, 2013 by Khanh Ho
Choice Editor's Pick, Choice, v.50, no. 07, March 2013 by R. Price 
La Bloga Sunday, December 2012 by Amelia ML Montes
Canadian Association of University Teachers October 2013 by Camille A. Isaacs 
The Feminist Wire Feb., 2014 by Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde
The Canadian Journal of Women and Law Vol.26, 2014 by Sonia Lawrence
Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice by Maria Lopez and Kevin Johnson
The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Vol 3, No 2 2014 by F. Cheuk 
Teaching Theology and Religion, by Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen
American Association of University Professors, by Carol E. Henderson
Chicana/Latina Studies, 13:2 Spring 2014, by Larissa M. Mercado-LÇüpez
Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, by Laura MacInnis
Latino Studies Vol. 12, Fall 2014 by Gloria Elena Toriche
Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, Vol. 2, Fall 2014 by Montré D. Carodine
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Winter 2015 by Patricia A. Matthew
Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2014 by Myrtle P. Bell
Women and Language, Vol. 37.2, 2015 by Ruby Pappoe
Latino Studies, Vol. 12, 490–492

Resources for Feminist Research, Vol. 34, Nos. 3-4


Interview with Carmen González, Feministing May 13, 2013
Interview with Angela Harris, Truthout July 13, 2014
Women of Color in Legal Education, by Carmen González, The Federal Lawyer, July 2014

In June 2014, the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice published an entire edition dedicated to responses to Presumed Incompetent. Volume 29, Issue 2 consists of the first part of a series of papers presented at a daylong symposium at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law on March 8, 2013. The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice hosted more than forty speakers who were invited to celebrate and respond to the book. The entire journal and all its contents are offered free and open access by the Law Journals and Related Materials at Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository. Volume 12, Issue 2 of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice consists of the second series of symposium papers, and is offered free and open access by The Seattle University School of Law Digital Commons.



Yolanda Flores Niemann (PhD, Psychology, University of Houston, 1992) is professor of psychology at the University of North Texas.

Angela P. Harris (JD, University of Chicago, 1986) is professor of law at UC Davis.

Carmen G. González (JD, Harvard Law School, 1988) is professor of law at Seattle University.

Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs (MA and PhD, Stanford University, 2000) is Theilene Pigott McCone Chair for the Humanities and professor of modern languages and women studies in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at Seattle University.

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  • Paperback Price: $41.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-922-7
  • Ebook Price: $33.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-870-1
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Pages: 588
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Angela P. Harris
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-922-7
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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