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This study presents data from interviews with six doctoral students in English who have chosen to stay in their courses of study. They each identified labor histories, specifically legacies of blue-collar work, as grounding their decisions to continue. These doctoral students had in common resistant professional identities and teaching methods as they described similar recognitions of the relative lack of on-the-job injuries and feelings of obligations in giving back to their communities. The participants’ narratives suggest that the decision to stay in graduate school may be influenced by a number of historically situated factors, such as labor ideologies and political, personal, and professional commitments.
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