Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program



Barber, Kristen


This study focuses on the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity and immigrant status to understand the binary division between ‘us’ and they’ that produces an experience of ‘outsider-within’, ‘otherness’ or ‘exotic other’ at workplaces, especially in academia. Therefore, this paper looks at how these different statuses meet to shape the academic experience of female faculty and determine their opportunities, responsibilities, authority, legitimacy and advancement at work. I interviewed immigrant female professors at a large public university in Midwest. I find that these women are segregated, disrespected, and denied of authority by both colleagues and students, they are stripped of their stature and achievements, English language act as a barrier to everyday academic life and communication with colleagues and students, and ethnic cultural customs create a sense of ‘otherness’ for them. The study contributes to the understanding that immigrant female professors are gendered ‘cultural tokens’ in university that lead to their alienation or exoticization.