Details optional: an account of academic promotion relative to opportunity

Agnes Bosanquet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In Giving an Account of Oneself, Judith Butler shows that the question ‘What have I done?’ can only be answered by first asking: ‘Who is this “I” who is under an obligation to give an account of itself and to act in certain ways?’ This article explores this ‘I’. It writes between the lines of my academic promotion application and reveals how I made myself ‘substitutable’ for an Associate Professor. On the academic promotion application form at my university, there is a heading ‘Relevant Personal Circumstances’. Below, there is a ‘Consideration needs to be given to personal circumstances/ career interruptions’ box and a text box labelled ‘Details (optional)’. Cautiously, I wrote: ‘The following application refers to work completed since appointment to Senior Lecturer in 2016 … [My research] is the output of a 20% research workload (in all roles since first appointment in 2010) and fractional appointments (3 days a week from 2010 to 2016 and 4 days a week from 2017 to 2018)’. This article reveals the details of those eight years as a part-time academic, including a life-threatening birth, a daughter with epilepsy, secondary infertility, an ectopic pregnancy, an implanted neurostimulator, and a miracle baby …

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalLife Writing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Academia
  • illness
  • motherhood
  • promotion
  • subjectivity


Dive into the research topics of 'Details optional: an account of academic promotion relative to opportunity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this