Episode #224

Recreating Hierarchies When Asking for Feedback with Jane Jones

Today, I welcome Jane Jones back to the podcast! Jane is a development editor and writing coach specializing in supporting women and non-binary scholars in academia. She focuses on developing sustainable book-writing practices to prevent burnout and overwhelm.


Join us for a conversation about replicating hierarchies when seeking or responding to feedback. We discuss the pitfalls of disguised permission-seeking and share guidance on building self-trust. 

Tune in for spirited and insightful reflections on the complexities of seeking feedback and permission in academic writing. 


Trends in Feedback and Replicating Hierarchies

Jane outlines trends around seeking feedback, particularly how scholars may inadvertently replicate hierarchical structures: gender socialization and academic gatekeeping influence scholars’ reliance on external validation. However, seeking permission or approval from advisors and mentors destroys your agency. Learning how to accept feedback at face value and not as obligatory instruction is crucial.


Disguising Permission-Seeking

Scholars often disguise permission-seeking as feedback, relying on workshops or mentorship relationships for validation. The hierarchical dynamics usually mimic dissertation committees, playing on a scholar’s desire for approval from respected mentors in their field. However, permission-seeking erodes self-trust, and if academics do not acknowledge this behavior, the need for validation will override decision-making.


What You Should Do Instead

It’s imperative to cultivate self-trust! Actively foster the belief in your own expertise and worth, and understand that seeking assistance does not diminish your knowledge or credibility. The culture of academia is rooted in hierarchy, so it’s beneficial to seek a group of peers who can provide support and help you navigate challenging feedback. This way, you can approach feedback from a position of strength. 


Scholarship is not simply people telling you to write something and you write it. That is ghostwriting. You have to engage in feedback, but the feedback is not step-by-step instructions on how to write your book.”


“We are seeking permission from people who are further along than us, who have more expertise than us and we want them to sign off on our work. We want their approval. Our best instinct is that we care about what they think because we respect them but it attributes to the idea that you always have to be in a room with people who are slightly ahead of you because you need to be legitimized.You need to be validated.”


More about Jane:

Dr. Jane Jones is an academic book coach who helps minoritized scholars confidently write and publish their books. With eight years of experience, she has guided authors to success with presses like Oxford and Princeton. Jane aims to be the supportive coach she wished for during her tenure track, restoring faith in her clients’ writing abilities. In her free time, Jane enjoys craft bourbon, cooking, dance parties, museums, cooking shows, and relaxing at Lucille’s café in New York with an oat milk latté, a raspberry donut, and a good book.

Website | Instagram | X (Twitter) | LinkedIn

Subscribe to Jane’s newsletter: The Tea On Book Writing

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