Since blog against sexism day is actually TODAY, I’d like to extend some of my thoughts from yesterday. Yesterday I talked about the lack of women leadership in the emergent church (and really the Christian church in general, although the situation is improving). That thinking led me to some related thinking about women in the academy.
The situation here has definitely improved drastically, and especially in the humanities. Women undergraduates outnumber men in most colleges. Representation in graduate programs and publications seems to be relatively equal. The place where things seem a little less even, though, is in the realm of theory. Even when we are discussing contemporary theory, it seems male authors dominate. Of course, we can expect older theory to be male-dominated – women didn’t have the access. But how come the 20th century theorists we use are also almost exclusively men. Well, one reason is that women theorists tend to focus their theorizing efforts toward gender and feminist theory. This is certainly a worthy persuit and one that needs to catch up. But I think it leads to the unfortunate consequence that feminist theorists are ghettoized to their own courses or one week in a general course, and that women scholars feel almost expected to have an interest in gender theory. Not that this is bad – gender effects all of us and it’s important to have bright scholars working on these things. The question I want to raise, however, is when will we be able to move beyond identity politics and have scholars bring their varied perspectives to other problems, working together instead of in their own genderized realms? I think this is already starting to happen, and many of the really great women scholars in my field are great examples. I don’t think we will ever need to stop talking about gender issues, but hopefully more other things will also make it onto the radar from time to time.
friends blogging against sexism: Kristen, Matt, Jon