Since someone posted a story here about a philosophy department in Scandinavia, here’s another. I send this story because it is important to realize that however bad things are in the U.S., in some European departments things are much worse.
Some 12 years ago I had a falling out with a philosopher in my field, on the basis of ethical issues and also what I saw as a tendency toward sexual objectification of myself and others. A typical incident: once as chairman of the dept., he walked into a class I was teaching 45 minutes late and remarked: “I am here to inspect the merchandise.” There are many other incidents of this kind I could recount. At the time he had been having an affair with a student, who since left philosophy. I decided to base myself in another department, but suffered in the years since by being tarred as difficult, not only in his department, but in others.
Since then he has become a very powerful person in philosophy in this country, in spite of a poor publication record and in spite of continuing to use the graduate students as a dating pool. (So his recent affair with yet another graduate student, this time a very, very talented woman, also ended in her leaving philosophy. ) He also has had conflicts with many other colleagues in the years since his conflict with me. But like me, they always end up leaving the department.
FInally, in his capacity as chairman, he has conducted an open war with feminist philosophy and fields related to it.
Needless to say a female professor has never *ever* been hired in that department, of whatever AOS.
Nobody can do or say anything about this person because he has the administration on his side. If there were anything like a conversation about women in philosophy in this country, maybe his behavior toward female students could be checked, and other areas of philosophy—besides those related to his—could have a chance. But that conversation has not gotten started yet. There is just no way in at the moment.
Not to focus so much on this one person, my point is that because of the general attitude that prevails here, he can pretty much do what he wants. As a person of authority he is always give the benefit of the doubt.
It’s a tragedy.
Scandinavia: not the feminist paradise you thought it wasPosted: September 7, 2013 by Jender in failure to take women seriously, insults, objectifying women, power dynamics, relationships with students, retaliation
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