[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Apr 7 17:07:04 UTC 2019

I am writing this email in my own voice, not as an INDOLOGY committee
statement. The committee has been reluctant to get into "you said, I said"
arguments, for good reasons including the fact that some points of
disagreement are hard to talk about without revealing confidential

Yesterday, Prof. Truschke posted a message ("I disagree that dealing ...",
appended below) that referenced a committee post that I sent last week and
made remarks about my opinon on bias training.  So that INDOLOGY members
may see the context, here is the full text of the post that I sent to the
committee last week.  I have redacted the names of the scholars we were
discussing (XXXX and YYYY are both women with appointments at Indian

Subject: Re: suggestions for new committee members
From: Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>
Cc: indology-owner <indology-owner at list.indology.info>
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Dear committee colleagues,

I'm very busy and short of time (crazy last week of semester and academic
year, sick child at home, etc. etc. etc.), but I've been told that Audrey
has re-raised this issue about expanding the committee and inviting
specifically women participants to even out the gender balance.  I agree,
as I've said before.  So, since nobody else has done anything yet, I
propose that as do as we usually do when we're making committee decisions,
we have a vote.

I propose that, following Stefan's suggestion from October last year, the
most recent I can quickly find, we invite the following two scholars to
join the INDOLOGY management committee:

   - Prof. XXXX (at academia.edu)
   - Prof. YYYY (ditto)

Shall we say that votes should be in within a week?  11 April.

Criteria: this committee has never formalized criteria, or even really
discussed them.  Should we?  I would include that candidates should have a
record of being somewhat dynamic, i.e., answering email reasonably quickly,
and being willing and able to do the weekly-rota duties and having
professional experience in such things as student admission committees,
journal refereeing or other situations that would help with skills and
sensitivities needed to evaluate incoming short CVs.

I would also draw attention to Stefan's important observation about
considering candidates from East Asia.  Suggestions welcome.

I think Audrey's idea of bias training is a good one; I don't think we can
formally require this of people, but when we invite new members we can
mention that we recommend this, and we should point to some online
resources, for example Harvard's ITA test (which is publicly available).
(My university uses the Harvard test as part of it's internal bias training
package; it's a bit clunky, but generally good.)  Perhaps we can have a
committee vote on this issue separately if we want to.

INDOLOGY committee member

On Sat, 6 Apr 2019 at 15:39, Audrey Truschke via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

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

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