[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Isabelle Ratie isabelle.ratie at gmail.com
Sat Apr 6 13:29:54 UTC 2019

Dear colleagues,
As far as I understand, the most grievous offense attributed by Dr.
Truschke to the Indology governing committee is that Dominik Wujastyk
recently asked a list member who had congratulated her for one of her posts
(on a matter related to women in indology) not to send such thanks to all
members in future because this takes up too much space (as all such
messages have to be stored even if they contain no information of a
specifically indological nature?). Given the tone and content of some of
the latest remarks in this thread, however, I feel that we might do well to
keep in mind 1, that whatever happened with the French History of Science
list, Dr. Truschke is NOT the victim of violent, unmoderated misogynistic
attacks posted on Indology; 2, that although the power of the Indology
committee has been compared in another recent post to that of the American
Senate, the Indology committee has virtually no power; and 3, that surely,
we all have many more serious and urgent battles to fight for women's
rights (including in the field of indology) than this chastising of a
powerless committee for comprising three male members against two female
ones. As for those of us who think that there are no battles too small to
be fought, they can at least agree that as past and present discussions
have shown, the Indology list hasn't been ignoring issues of gender
inequality and bias; that the Indology committee hasn't been censuring
debates on these topics; and that if Dominik Wujastyk's decision to ask a
list member not to post thanks to the entire list in future was debatable
(he has written that he regrets it), this hardly makes him a misogynist,
all the more since he claims to have sent in the past similar messages with
respect to other posts that did not bear on gender equality, and since we
owe him a forum where women and men alike have been able to freely exchange
on all kinds of matters related to indological scholarship (including
gender bias) for many years. Adding a female member to the committee would
have the pleasant advantage of satisfying everybody's sense of symmetry,
and it is probably the best way to quickly end this controversy; I remain
in doubt, however, as to whether this would constitute in any way a
significant progress in the struggle against gender bias and sexism. Let us
keep our eyes on the frontlines.
With best wishes to all,
Isabelle Ratié
Professor of Sanskrit Language and Literatures
Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris 3)

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