[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Michael Brattus Jones mbjones at utexas.edu
Thu Apr 4 05:21:28 UTC 2019

Dear List,

I support parity on the governing board. It would be a small action with a
great effect, and I don't believe I've read any arguments directly against

I happen to follow Dr. Truschke on Twitter and I've seen the terrible
abuses she endures there, as a result of discussing her academic work. I'm
not comparing this forum with that one, but it does underscore the need for
this forum to strive to seem as safe a place as possible, whether or not
people see eye to eye on any specific issues.

Thank you,

Michael Brattus Jones, Ph.D.

On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 12:56 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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