[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Audrey Truschke audrey.truschke at gmail.com
Tue Apr 2 07:55:13 UTC 2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing to call your attention to the entrenched, worsening sexism I
have been experiencing on the INDOLOGY governing committee over the past
year or so (I have served on the committee for six years). Other committee
members have warned me not to publicly discuss the bullying and abuse that
I have faced from them in private. I break my silence and go against their
explicit instructions here.

I have repeatedly faced sexism within the INDOLOGY governing committee,
ranging from patronizing comments to silencing of discussions about bias to
overtly different standards applied to male and female members of the
committee and list. I have tried many times to raise these issues
internally among the committee and privately with specific individuals. I
have been met with blanket denials, belittling of my concerns, declarations
that discussing sexism is not a substantive issue, accusations of being a
troublemaker, and flat out refusals to discuss gender issues. Indology as a
discipline has deep-seated issues with male privilege, discrimination
against female scholars, and even outright misogyny. The issues within
INDOLOGY's male-dominated governing committee are arguably a reflection of
this larger set of problems that systematically drives women out of the
discipline. If Indology or INDOLOGY are going to survive in any worthwhile
form, we must face our ongoing issues of sexism and bias. I have made
numerous suggestions to the INDOLOGY governing committee in this regard,
including striving for gender parity on the committee by adding more female
members, conducting committee business more openly as a check on bullying,
and undergoing bias training. I hope the committee follows up on these
suggestions. But, to date, I have seen only a desire to circle the wagons
and deny bias, rather than any serious attempt to make the committee or the
list a more equitable place.

Last week, following another case where I documented and called out a
committee member for acting with bias, that committee member wrote that if
he were in my position, he would consider resigning from the committee. In
other words, if I find members of the INDOLOGY committee discriminate
against women, then I should bow out. I find that suggestion highly
inappropriate, and I do not acquiesce to it here. But I will no longer
serve as a punching bag for men who insist I keep quiet.

I expect to face significant pushback and recriminations for shedding light
on the dark underbelly of the INDOLOGY governing committee. But, unlike
many of my fellow committee members, I think that this is an issue for the
list at large. Many of us, myself included, find scholarly value in this
listserv. But knowledge exists within power structures, and I find that I
can no longer stomach what I have to overlook in order to quietly run this
forum. I think it is time for us to talk about the key issues of bias and
sexism facing our discipline that make women unwelcome at every turn,
including in running this listserv.

All the best,


Audrey Truschke
Assistant Professor
Department of History
Rutgers University-Newark

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20190402/0749210f/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list