Added Introduction The STEM fields have a well-know gender and race problem. It’s received a lot of attention in academic circles, and there’s been a fair amount of discussion about it on this blog. If you are not aware of this background, then you may not understand this post. I should have made this clear in the original post. As it is, I’m starting to delete comments who think I’m making wierd connections between sex and a cover showing unclothed women on a science textbook.
The picture is indeed from Matisse’s La Danse. Not quite his quality of colors though.
Is it erotic art? Should STEM textbooks have these sorts of covers? Please use the comments if you have more to say.
Added: There are a number of groups who are not well-represented in STEM disciplines. There are also cultural cliches for members of the groups. Sometimes these cliches are captured in quite serious, stunning art. Diego Rivera, for example, has wonderful portrayals of Hispanic gatherings. One way to view the question I’ve tried to raise here is this: Is it a good idea to put such cliches on the covers of textbooks in the fields where the people’s presence is marginal?