More anti-immigration laws in France

From Reel Aesthete:

[1.] Two days ago, Sarkozy ordered the expulsion of Gypsies living in France illegally, saying their camps should be “systematically evacuated.” That order came after police clashed this month with Roma in the Loire Valley following the shooting death of a youth fleeing police. The pronouncement caused special outrage because Sarkozy singled out a particular ethnic group in a country official that’s official blind to ethnic origins…

[2.] Sarkozy traveled to Grenoble Friday for the induction ceremony of a new prefect, Eric Le Douaron, and used the occasion to announce a new get-tough approach to delinquency that notably hits hard on immigrants who disobey the law. “French nationality should be earned. One must know how to be worthy of it,” the president said. French nationality should be revoked “from any person of foreign origin who voluntarily threatens the life of a police officer” or other public authority, he said.

And that’s on top of the Burka Ban.

For more, see here.

Heard the one about the German breast-oggling study?

No? Well where have you been for the past ten years, since that’s how long the story seems to have been circulating. It’s now resurfaced on this website. In short, the story claims that a German research team led by Dr. Karen Weatherby have discovered that staring at a woman’s breasts increases a man’s life span, and is pretty much the same as doing aerobic exercise. The study was allegedly published in the New England Journal of Medicine. But surprise, surprise, no such article was published in the journal. Nor do there appear to be any entries on medical article databases for Weatherby. The only source for the story seems to be this tabloid news story, where the research is credited to a Dr. Franz Epping. He doesn’t appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, or on any other medical article databases either. You can read more about the hoax here. Thanks to J-Bro.

Do they actually know what ‘sweatshop’ means?

Everyone’s been posting this on FB, and seeming to like it, but I’m really annoyed by it. There are genuine and serious problems with academic life that deserve serious discussion and even outrage. But this is not a description of a sweatshop:

Mr. Donoghue, the associate professor of English at Ohio State, says faculty life changed there three years ago, when professors saw a one-course reduction in their teaching load—to four per year. That’s when faculty members started clustering their teaching on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. “It used to be the whole faculty was in the building, running into each other, having lots of conversations,” he recalls of the years when faculty members taught five courses a year. “Now the Monday/Wednesday people never see the Tuesday/Thursday people.”

When I saw the title, I thought it would focus on adjunct faculty, who often have huge workloads, no time for research, no job security, and no benefits. But they were mentioned only in passing. Instead, the focus was on the plight of those at top research universities, who complain about having to go to too many international conferences and not having enough time for leisurely lunches. There *are* problems at the research universities, and this commenter,mlisaacs, actually does a nice job of explaining one of them:

The increase in administrative loads is the direct result of the loss of full time professorships. With 70% adjuncts nationally, that leaves all of the administrative work on the backs of 30% of the faculty. I am not referring to the administrative roles of Deans and Chairs but rather all of those things that are related to the academic programs, advising students, serving on committees, governing bodies such as university senates, search committees etc. Enormous amounts of time must be spent writing reports, preparing for meetings, arranging meetings, and sitting in meetings. There used to be a much larger population to share these duties. To maintain any sort of standard, and continue to believe in what one does, most full time professors must work 7 days per week. Burn out is common. Add on to this that most students are really working people who are trying to be students, and it is easy to see that the academic environment leaves very little time for discussion, exploration, sharing, or collective learning.

If only they’d mlisaacs had written the article. There are real problems. But the article sounds like a bunch of highly privileged people at the top of the academic food chain whingeing about the fact that their lives aren’t insanely privileged in quite the same ways any more.* That does a disservice to the cause.

*Not everyone in the article is like this. And, in fact, the pressure to go to lots of international conferences is a real problem. But it ain’t a sweatshop, and it needs to be presented as part of a more intelligent analysis, like that by mlisaacs.

Ways for women to be immodest

according to some Christian dudes who were surveyed:

Bend over to pick something up
Wear a bag with the strap across your chest
Wear a shirt with a message on the front
Allow your breasts to bounce
Wear tights with designs
Wear shirts with chest pockets
Wear jeans with decorative stitching on the rear

I never knew that I was so sexy. But I want more. I’m gonna go get me some pocket shirts, now that I know they’re hot. (Will pocket protectors make them even hotter?)

Jezebel rightly draws out a serious point from this:

This is a great deal of self-monitoring for girls. Not just when they shop, but when they get dressed, and all day as they move, and with constant re-evaluation of their clothes and how they fit. But, the rationale is, they must be vigilant and obey these rules in order to protect guys from the power of all bodies (both their own sexiness, and men’s biological response to it). Guys are burdened with lust, they insist.

Thanks, J-Bro!

Women in Philosophy: Stuff to read!

I should have known about this before, but somehow I missed it. Probably you didn’t, but just in case…

The APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, Spring 2009 contains SIX fabulous articles on the under-representation of women in philosophy.

MIRIAM SOLOMON AND JOHN CLARKE , “CSW Jobs for Philosophers Employment Study”
KATHRYN J. NORLOCK , “Love to Count: Arguments for Inaccurately Measuring the Proportion of Philosophers Who Are Women”
JANET A. KOURANY , “Why Are Women Only 21% of Philosophy?: Introduction to the Panel Presentations”
ELIZABETH K. MINNICH , “Women in Philosophy: 21% of What?”
SHARON CRASNOW , “What Do the Numbers Mean?”
ABIGAIL J. STEWART , “What Might Be Learned from Recent Efforts in the Natural Sciences?”

And the Fall 2009 Newsletter contains FIVE excellent articles on strategies to help women in philosophy:

ROBIN S. DILLON , “Strategizing Changes in the Culture and Ideology of Philosophy: An Introduction”
ANN GARRY , “What is on Women Philosophers’ Minds?”
“Drafting Peer Support: The Promise and Perils of an Online Draft Exchange”
“Women in the Profession: The Persistence of Absence”
“Sharing Strategies for Succeeding as a Feminist Philosopher”

Happy reading!!

Violent men and nurturing women?

I will never forget one of the first things we had to read in the first feminism class I took. It was an argument claiming that women should do all the childcare, because men are too selfish and warlike to look after children. Just one of the daft things people have said to explain why we shouldn’t be allowed to work or leave the house. But the picture of men as violent meat-heads, and women as nurturing and peaceful is firmly lodged in many heads. The recent news that women were more greatly involved in the Nazi holocaust than previously thought, has thus come as a surprise to many. You can read more about it here – but be warned: as one might expect, it’s not a happy read.

EDITED TO ADD: It occurred to me that this post might need a bit more commentary. Especially in light of some of the research on domestic violence statistics that has been linked to by commentators. The idea that men are violent and women are nurturing abounds in the minds of many people – feminists, anti-feminists, and feminist-neutral types alike. (It’s not just feminist doctrine, as many writers discussing the issue would have us believe.) My hunch is that we should reject this view, since (i) it’s not at all clear that it’s true, and (ii) it leads to various types of gender injustice, affecting both men and women (and no doubt also those who identify as neither). As I implied at the beginning of this post, it’s been used to justify restricting women’s role to childcarer, and by extension, homemaker. Whilst I’ll fight for women to be able to choose to take up these roles, I’ll also fight for women to have more choices available to them. Correlatively, it’s been used to deny men – or at the very least make it more difficult – the choice of being childcarer and/or homemaker. And I’ll fight for men to have these choices available to them too. It also makes it more dificult for the victims of female domestic violence – whether these be men, lesbian partners, children, and so on. Clearly, these people need to receive the same support as victims of male domestic violence. And we can recognise this without in any way belittling the abuse suffered by the female partners of violent men. So you see, the myth – for I think it is one – of violent men and nurturing women – is harmful to all of us. I posted this in the spirit of dismantling the myth.

Some good news

The number of non-emerita women on the Editorial Board of Political Theory just quintupled, from 1 (Elshtain) to 5 (adding Benhabib, Mansbridge, Rosenblum, Pateman).

The journal’s editor Mary G. Dietz writes: “On behalf of the Editors and Executive Editorial Committee,
I happily announce the appointment of four new members to the journal’s
Editorial Board. In recognition of their distinguished scholarship and influential
contributions to the fields of political theory, politics, and political philosophy,
the journal honors Professors Seyla Benhabib (Yale University), Jane
Mansbridge (Harvard University), Nancy Rosenblum (Harvard University),
and Carole Pateman (University of California Los Angeles). We look forward
to working with them to further the success of Political Theory and offer
them a warm welcome to the Editorial Board.”

The announcement is here.