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No landscape for a good underclass woman by Elaine J Laberge


I ask you to suspend your beliefs and come along side me as I share the (not-so) curious case of Canadian universities—and, Canada. Take a deep breath; this story is not for the upper faint-of-heart. “No Landscape for a Good Underclass Woman” (shaped by Steedman’s (1987) “Landscape for a good woman”) is a poetic exploration of the gendered nature of poverty in Canada.

It is a story about a woman from intergenerational poverty trying to access university to escape poverty. Come along on this journey as Elaine shares the violence, exclusion and marginalization she has and is experiencing on the Canadian university landscape as a “poverty-class” student—and, a doctoral student who researches classism in Canadian universities.

In this poem, she explores themes such as dominant colonial social class narratives, myths and tropes, imagination, the embodied nature of poverty, rage, being outed and ousted and why the Canadian university is no landscape for a good underclass woman. Steedman, C. K. (1987). Landscape for a Good Woman. Rutgers University Press.​

Elaine’s website:

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Ragged University is in partnership with the Working Class Academics conference sharing its ideals and love of open intellectual spaces

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