[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Audrey Truschke audrey.truschke at gmail.com
Sat Apr 6 19:20:53 UTC 2019

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I disagree that dealing with multiple cases of sexist treatment during the
last year - and being required to keep mute by those who, in my view,
treated me with bias - is not a serious matter (for those who have asked,
please see my earlier notes giving a list of situations and behaviors,
beyond a single case). I disagree even more that attention to such matters
distracts from the larger fight for gender equality. Demanding equal
treatment is not a zero-sum game.

In the meantime, behind the scenes, it has become clear that the INDOLOGY
governing committee is not a safe place for me. I have been told in the
past week that we cannot require bias training (that's bollocks - of course
we can). There remains no grievance procedure or talk of instituting one.
The committee is discussing adding another woman, but probably only one
because a male committee member has expressed discomfort at the thought
that women might outnumber men on the committee. To quote this man: "Gender
parity applies both ways, however. With the current active lineup, we only
need to add *one* female member to give us parity...nothing further needs
to be done."

For me, I choose to no longer contribute to a power structure here on
INDOLOGY that I think is too ugly to overlook, and so I am leaving the
committee and the list. In the end, this conversation has become about far
more than me, and I hope that others continue that larger discussion.

All the Best,


Audrey Truschke
Assistant Professor
Department of History
Rutgers University-Newark

On Sat, Apr 6, 2019 at 8:46 PM Isabelle Ratie via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> 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
> --
> Isabelle Ratié
> Professor of Sanskrit Language and Literatures
> Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris 3)
> http://www.univ-paris3.fr/ratie-isabelle--302292.kjsp
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