[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Malcolm Keating c.malcolm.keating at gmail.com
Wed Apr 3 06:07:58 UTC 2019

Dear all,

1. Regarding Dr. Truschke's concerns about gender parity, I would draw 
attention to an analogous effort being made in philosophy, which is a 
field that is also heavily male-dominated and has its share of problems 
with sexism, from egregious cases of harassment to pernicious and 
persistent cases of stereotyping. The idea of aiming toward gender 
parity in conferences has been present there for a decade now (see the 
"Gendered Conference Campaign" post at the Feminist Philosophers Blog: 
This post includes links to some discussion about implicit bias, 
stereotype threat, etc. I raise the question of whether analogous 
efforts within Indology more broadly might not also have salutary effects.

2. I would like to echo Dr. Sauthoff's concerns about the experiences of 
women in academia. As another junior academic, I post to this list with 
trepidation, aware of its public nature and wide reach. At the same 
time, I have enough evidence, testimonial, perceptual, and inferential, 
to believe that there persist widespread problems in academia more 
generally, and Indian philosophy (my own subfield) more specifically. I 
also agree that the problems are more entrenched than what might be 
visible from the vantage point of most men, myself included. Perhaps 
these may be mostly structural, and not a matter of individual bad 
intentions. That possibility does not mean those of us within these 
structures aren't responsible for seeking solutions. And finally, if my 
female colleagues are speaking out at the risk of their reputations--at 
least in the sense of reputations for not stirring things up--I cannot 
simply watch. What the implications are for this list, I am in no 
position to say. However, I would like to add my voice to those who 
would like to see more discussion of how to create a more humane and 
equitable environment for scholars.



*Malcolm Keating*
Yale-NUS College | Assistant Professor | Humanities Division 
(Philosophy) | malcolm.keating at yale-nus.edu.sg

Office hours may be scheduled here: https://malcolmkeating.youcanbook.me
Academic website: http://www.malcolmkeating.com/

    Re: [INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee
    Audrey Truschke <audrey.truschke at gmail.com>
    2/4/19, 8:11 pm

    "Indology List (indology at list.indology.info)"
    <indology at list.indology.info>

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    Dr. Silk raises a valid point, which is that I am slightly vague in
    my account of what has happened. I would encourage everyone to be
    sensitive to the fact that other committee members have repeatedly
    told me, often angrily, to not share their emails and to not discuss
    any of this with the list at large. There are real risks for women
    who choose to come forward with these sorts of concerns.

    That said, I do point to some specific things, such as an attempt to
    encourage me to resign when I pointed out bias (March 2019; in an
    e-mail), refusals to talk about possible bias (numerous e-mails;
    fall 2018), and persistent demands that I keep silent about what I
    experience as abuse and intimidation (repeated over the past year or
    so). To add another specific case, last week a committee member
    wrote to Dr. Paturi and chastised him for writing 'thank you' to the
    entire list regarding the post I sent around sharing Anand
    Venkatkrishnan's excellent blog post on female Sanskritists and
    sexism. Indology members say thank you to the list all the time
    without complaint, and so this was a targeted silencing of a
    discussion about discrimination against women in our profession (and
    it worked). I think this is a fair amount of precision and several
    discrete instances. I do not know whether the intent was sexist or
    biased in any specific case, but the effects were.

    So far as how to move forward, I recommend a few concrete steps. All
    are aimed to redirecting the committee's energy toward making both
    the committee and the list a more equitable, welcoming place. (1) I
    want gender parity, or at least approaching gender parity, on the
    INDOLOGY governing committee by adding female members. I think
    everyone on this list should value and want gender parity. (2) I
    want the committee to take further steps to address bias issues,
    whether that is bias training, a system for adjudicating complaints,
    shaking up committee membership, or something else. Whatever we
    decide, I would like those steps announced to the list at large. (3)
    Personally, I think that the individual who suggested that I resign
    after pointing out bias should instead, himself, consider stepping
    down. But I will not press this particular point.

    Another thing that I wish to achieve here is awareness and space for
    conversation. Indology as a discipline may be focused on classical
    India, but we exist in the modern world, and modern issues of bias
    are a legitimate topic for scholars to discuss on INDOLOGY
    (preferably without declarations by list members that a given
    discussion of bias and discrimination is inappropriate on
    INDOLOGY). I would like issues of bias and discrimination treated
    seriously on this list and on the governing committee going forward.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    All the Best,

    Audrey Truschke
    Assistant Professor
    Department of History
    Rutgers University-Newark
    Audrey Truschke
    Assistant Professor
    Department of History
    Rutgers University-Newark

    Re: [INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee
    Audrey Truschke <audrey.truschke at gmail.com>
    2/4/19, 8:11 pm

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