Update on NEH seminar

You may remember our post from a few days ago about a single mother who was accepted to an NEH summer seminar then given 12 hours to arrange childcare on another continent to the satisfaction of the seminar director– or be withdrawn. There was a giant outpouring of outrage round the blogosphere, and an article on Inside Higher Ed, in which an NEH spokesperson made clear that this was against their policies. You’ll be pleased to know that the philosopher/mother in question has been in touch with an NEH lawyer. E writes that “he asked for her patience while the matter is being investigated but made clear that the NEH does not support the kind of demands that were being made of her.”

This is looking likely to be a big, and remarkably rapid win for the Femisphere– hurrah! And many thanks to all of you for helping to spread the word and also to offer support and advice when it was much needed.

And it’s also a lovely teachable moment. The woman who had all this happen to her writes: “Ironically, I’m teaching the chapter on Woman’s Situation in _The Second Sex_ … tonight and we were scheduled to discuss the extent to which things have (and haven’t) changed since then. Now I’ve got the perfect example! It illustrates both the sameness (co-director response) and the change (huge mobilization against that response).”

I do love happy endings. Hope this really does turn out to be one.

8 thoughts on “Update on NEH seminar

  1. I’m so glad you did this post. It’s important to know we can successfully challenge some things (where “we” means the community who responded).

    But I also remember, Jender, that you seemed to see this as particularly important. So congrats to you!!

  2. oh, good news! very heartening about NEH’s response. interesting irony about the subject matter she is currently teaching.

  3. This excellent news! Feminist Philosophers: whenever you have doubts on whether all the effort you put into this blog is worth it, especially given all the aggravation that comes with it too, do try to remember this episode! It is the perfect example of how the good noise you make *can* make a difference and stir things up in the right direction.

  4. I thought about this post while I watched a movie that’s been on my *must see* list for a little too long. The Changeling, starring Angelina. Once I got past a few cliches by telling myself that they weren’t yet cliches when the story took place (1928) I found the movie to be a pleasant surprise, very inspiring.

    This post had the same effect on me. Thanks for giving me hope for my own struggles with injustice, and congratulations to our fellow working mom. Best to you.

  5. Great outcome. Cloudy, inconsistent use of transgender pronoun (“E writes that “he…etc.””), but great outcome nonetheless.

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