From the trailer to the ivory tower: The story of an unwilling resiliency poster child

  • Leia K Cain (University of Tennessee)
  • Jonathan M Coker orcid logo (University of South Florida)


In this piece, we share the story of Cain, a white, queer, disabled woman from the rural U. S. Bible Belt who came from an impoverished background. We utilize Anzaldúa’s autoethnographic framework of autohistoria-teoría to explore the implications of times when Cain was complimented for her resiliency, or similarly when the burden of being resilient was placed upon her, when she sought assistance from individuals in power who could have otherwise removed the barriers that necessitated her resiliency. We connect [Author1]’s story to critical resilience literature that resists naturalizing adversity, and instead emphasizes the structural barriers of classism and sexism rather than placing the burden of resilience as an individual’s weight to bear.  [Author1] describes her effort to escape the stereotypes of being seen as white trash amidst the weight of these structural forces that impede her growth as a young academic. Her story contains implications for teachers and higher education faculty who may have the opportunity to work with impoverished women throughout educational spaces.

Keywords: Resilience, Autoethnography, Critical Resilience, White Trash

How to Cite:

Cain, L. K. & Coker, J. M., (2022) “From the trailer to the ivory tower: The story of an unwilling resiliency poster child”, Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis 11(3). doi:



Published on
25 May 2022
Peer Reviewed