Dr. Bertin M. Louis Jr. sat down with NYIHA MEDIA to discuss his new Book.

4 min readApr 16, 2024

Dr. Steeve Coupeau: What is the development origin of your book?

Dr. Bertin Louis: My new book, Conditionally Accepted: Navigating Higher Education from the Margins (University of Texas Press, 2024), comes from a blog created by Eric joy Denise (also known as Denise Denise [pronouns: they/she]). Denise created the blog when she was looking for an outlet to describe her oppressive experiences in higher education as a non-binary, Black (racially mixed), queer person — first as a graduate student and then as a tenure-track faculty member. The blog became very popular and Inside Higher Ed approached Denise to add Conditionally Accepted as a regular column. After Denise left the editorship, the second editor, Victor Ray, served in the position until I assume the position in January 2020.

Denise and I remained in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic while I was serving as the Conditionally Accepted editor. As we connected virtually, we decided to create a Conditionally Accepted anthology using some of the more popular blog posts from over the years along with new chapters solicited from a range of BIPOC scholars in higher education.

A New Book by Eric Joy Denise and Bertin Louis Jr.

Dr. Steeve Coupeau: The book is the result of a collaboration between you and Eric Joy Dennis. Why did you decided to work with a co-editor?

Dr. Bertin Louis: I decided to work with Denise because she was the first editor of conditionally accepted. There are many stories of stigmatization and marginalization of BIPOC scholars in academia, and conditionally accepted was a home for so many of them. These BIPOC scholars found community within the column, and our hope is that they will find community in this anthology. Also, working with Denise has been a joy. She is a very meticulous scholar who has done a wonderful job of organizing the book, editing book chapters, and staying in touch with our contributors.

I was happy to collaborate with them on a much-needed book in the troubled times that we’re living in. This is especially relevant when we think of the current politically-motivated attacks on higher education from the political right and the far right. Those attacks include attempts to undermine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs at colleges and universities through legislation throughout the United States. There is also the distorted labeling and promulgation of intersectionality and critical race theory as “divisive concepts,” the occurrence of book banning, and generalized attacks on scholars of color.

Dr. Steeve Coupeau: What are the different themes that traverse your book?

Dr. Bertin Louis: The anthology taps into a range of BIPOC voices in academia (such as Southeast Asian, East Asian, Latine, and black scholars) as well as scholars who have different positionalities (contingent faculty, assistant professors, associate professors, full professors, and those who have left academia to start their own businesses).

The book is divided into four major parts. Part One is titled “Navigating our way Within (or out of) Academia” and offers advice from a whole range of folks related to academia: folks who are still on the tenure track, tenured faculty, contingent faculty voices, and scholars pursuing careers outside of academia. Part Two, “Disciplinary and Institutional Betrayals,” highlights the difficult aspects of academia as it relates to BIPOC scholars. Some of the topics in this section of the book deal with indigenous invisibilities in US academia, institutional betrayals, the institutional othering of disability, dealing with sexual harassment as a junior black woman scholar, and to be denied tenure.

Part Three of the anthology is “Diversity Rhetoric and Empty Promises”. It deals with the mistreatment of senior faculty of color, how the universities are changing in relation to faculty of color, trying to achieve the diversity goals that are professed in academia, and a chapter about dismantling whiteness in academia. The final part of the book, Part 4 “Transforming the Academy and Beyond”, covers scholar activism (Chicano scholar activism), the importance of academics writing for the public, some of the prices a Chicana faculty member paid while serving at a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and also ends with a discussion of embracing scholar activism as legitimate academic work.

Dr. Steeve Coupeau: What factors led you to select University of Texas Press as your publisher?

Dr. Bertin Louis: We decided to work with University of Texas Press due to my relationship with then Editor-In-Chief Dawn Durante. I have known Dawn for years and when I reached out to her with the idea of publishing a book of this nature, she was very excited and supportive of the project. Dawn left University of Texas Press for another position, and the new editor in chief, Casey Kittrell, was kind and supportive enough to usher this project into being.

Dr. Steeve Coupeau: Where can our readers purchase your book?

Dr. Bertin Louis: Your readers can receive a 30% off with this discount code (UTSX24) when purchasing this important text from University of Texas Press by clicking this link:




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