Dr Heather L. Jeffrey
Middlesex University, Dubai
EMERGING SCHOLAR PROFILE
After being awarded my doctorate from Middlesex University, London, I recently moved to Dubai to take up an adjunct faculty position at Middlesex University, Dubai. Coming from a working-class background in the most rural part of the UK, I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity that academia allows me to engage with critical social issues. Yet, I also think that the same critical lens we apply to multiple versions of reality can help us to challenge the way we operate within our own academic networks. One of the outputs I am perhaps most proud of is a handbook entitled The beauty and the abuse: a handbook on relationships and emotions in academia (Munar, et al., 2017), which seeks to explore the complex and messy themes of love, romance and harassment or abuse. I have also written on the challenges of gendering the tourism curriculum (Jeffrey, 2017b), and how we represent men and women in communities other to our own (Jeffrey, 2018).
Having recently finished my PhD, I imagine I am now facing what many post- doctoral students face – the pressure to publish. Like many, I find myself in a love hate relationship with my thesis, but I know that the findings contribute to current debates on gender and tourism. I only hope that I will hold on to that as I go through the review process. In fact, I admitted in my thesis that a commitment to feminism was what enabled me to finish the thesis and allow others to read it (Jeffrey, 2017a), while I suffered immensely with imposter syndrome. I hope that this commitment will become redundant in the near future, but until it does it will keep me going and push me on to do the things that I truly never thought I would. Such as writing this profile, which in many ways is perhaps an act of rebellion, as we shift to celebrating a diverse collection of researchers at all career stages rather than just more established scholars.
Before becoming an academic, I worked for several years for a major European tour operator, which meant that I could live in France and Spain, albeit in a tent. I also taught English as a second language in Spain, where I became fluent in Spanish, and in Tunisia where I managed to learn several words in Arabic! I draw on these experiences in my teaching and attempt to never forget that we can live quite happily (in a tent) with almost no belongings. During my PhD I spent two months in Argentina with INCASI, the InternationalNetwork for Comparative Analysis of Social Inequalities, funded by Marie Skłodowska- Curie Actions (MSCA) Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE). I have been lucky enough to present my research at conferences in awe inspiring places and to visit Monash University Malaysia as part of a project in progress focusing on academic work life balance. I enjoy travelling and living in other countries, as I suppose many tourism researchers do, but I do find it difficult to reconcile my knowledge of the negative environmental impacts with my own practice.
I regularly contribute to the Huffington Post, which is where I try to engage a non- academic audience in my research but also in wider issues and debates surrounding tourism and academia. I have recently become an associate at Equality in Tourism, an independent non-profit organization working to achieve gender equality in the global tourism industry. As the only tourism PhD student at my institution, times were lonely, and a couple of years ago I was so impressed by the Critical Tourism Studies network that I started a Facebook group for students. The loneliness of doctoral studies pushed me to engage with various research groups, and I am fortunate enough to have been able to choose to participate in networks that I feel proud to be part of, including Critical Tourism Studies and research groups on the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism, and Gender and Feminist Geographies at the Royal Geographical Society. I have served as a member on the Editorial Review Board at eRTR for some time and really appreciate the space it provides for emerging scholars to publish, but also to gain necessary experience reviewing and editing. By way of closing this profile, I would like to stress how grateful I am for the trailblazers of tourism if it were not for you the next generation of scholars may not be emerging.
Jeffrey, H., 2017a. A discursive analysis of women’s femininities within the context of Tunisian tourism (Doctoral dissertation, Middlesex University).
Jeffrey, H.L., 2017. Gendering the tourism curriculum whilst becoming an academic.Anatolia, 28(4), pp.530-539.
Jeffrey, H.L., 2018. Tourism and gendered hosts and guests. Tourism Review.
Munar, A.M., Caton, K., Eger, C., Jeffrey, H., Khoo-Lattimore, C., Lynch, P., Morgan, N. and Yang, E., 2017. The Beauty and the Abuse: A Handbook on Relationships and Emotions in Academia. Copenhagen
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