[INDOLOGY] To post or not to post

Philipp Maas philipp.a.maas at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 10:49:09 UTC 2016

Dear colleagues,

I think that Arlo very appropriately highlighted the fact that we are
dealing in this thread with at least two interrelated culturally specific
topics. The most obvious of these is “sexual harassment,” on which the
introductory paragraph of the very informative Wikipedia Article
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment> says that “The legal and
social understanding of sexual harassment, however, varies by culture.” For
example, sexual harassment is a legal crime in Switzerland, but not in
Germany, and, apparently, also not in the U.S.A. This, of course, does not
mean that either in the U.S.A or in Germany more severe forms of harassment
are usually tolerated.

The second culture-specific issue involved here is the way in which cases
of violations of legal laws and ethical norms may or should be communicated
publicly. This concerns the question which personal rights possible
victims, suspects and alleged culprits have. I believe that mentioning a
personal name in full, like it was done in the articles of “The Guardian”
that Audrey referred us to, would be totally unacceptable under German
press legislation.

Obviously, awareness for cultural differences is called for not only
concerning the subject of our studies, but also in the dialogue among

Best wishes,



Dr. Philipp A. Maas
Research Associate
Insitut für Indologie und Zentralasienwissenschaften
Universität Leipzig


2016-10-07 11:46 GMT+02:00 Arlo Griffiths <arlogriffiths at hotmail.com>:

> Dear colleague,
> For me personally, it has been Prof. Truschke's repeated mention of a
> particular colleague's name that seemed unnecessary and, in this context,
> unethical. I suppose the kinds of courses at law and medical schools that
> you refer to normally dispense with mentioning the names of specific
> colleagues who have been accused and/or found guilty of sexual harassment.
> And, to latch on to a point that Prof. Slaje has tried to make, I suppose
> most of the schools you have in mind are situated in North America, while
> their pedagogical practices naturally reflect preoccupations of the land.
> In the European academic scene (or what small part of it I can claim to be
> familiar with), I am happy to have experienced myself, when I was falsely
> accused by a band of students of having made racist and homophobic
> statements in class, that Universities are neither quick to dismiss the
> grievances of the accusers, nor the defense of the accused, and respect for
> due process seems to be valued more than what I gather to be the case in
> the North American segment of global academia — or at least among those who
> speak for it on this forum.
> INDOLOGY is an international forum, and this is not the first time that we
> have witnessed on the part of some North American colleagues the
> presumption that local preoccupations are global ones. The response that
> this provokes now from European scholars, in other cases from colleagues in
> India, seems to me a very salutary contribution to preserving diversity of
> perspectives in our field.
> Yours,
> Arlo Griffiths
> École française d'Extrême-Orient
> ------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of
> HdGoswami <hr at ivs.edu>
> *Sent:* Thursday, October 6, 2016 9:53 AM
> *To:* Indology List
> *Subject:* [INDOLOGY] To post or not to post
> Many of the best law and medical schools offer, or require, courses and
> seminars on the ethics and dangers of the trade, including false and valid
> accusations of sexual harassment. Such courses and seminars are not
> generally considered to be an alarming deviation from the proper subject
> matter of the field.
> As I recall, Audrey did not act as judge and jury, nor did she regale us
> with a sermon on political correctness. She merely posted a news item that
> is relevant to those who teach, or aspire to teach, Indology.
> Thus the strenuous objections to her post, which dwarf in volume her own,
> seem to be a bit preemptive.
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