[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Herman Tull hermantull at gmail.com
Tue Apr 2 19:13:50 UTC 2019

There is a great deal to say and think about all this. But I will keep my
remarks brief:

1. Given the current membership of the Indology group (at least measured in
terms of those who reply), not unlike the United States Senate (to name but
one institution), men are here making decisions that deeply affect women.

2. Related to this, how many men and how many women are members of
Indology? (By the way, I can think of at least four excellent
Sanskritists, who are women, who I am fairly certain are not members of
this forum; why have more women not joined?)

3. Audrey's note has generated more discussion than I remember seeing on
this list in a very long time. Perhaps we should look at the matters we
tend to discuss here (which these days is largely confined to "Does anyone
have an electronic copy of...?), and begin thinking about the broader
issues that affect us as scholars (I would put Audrey's charge prominently
in this category).

Herman Tull

On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 9:56 AM Audrey Truschke via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> 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
> Audrey Truschke
> Assistant Professor
> Department of History
> Rutgers University-Newark
> _______________________________________________
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Herman Tull
Princeton, NJ

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