Comments on: Women in Catholic higher ed: do we exist yet? History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:23:22 +0000 hourly 1 By: DePaul University: safe for white male scholars only? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 04 Jan 2011 19:23:37 +0000 [...] “DePaul tenure process takes a turn for the . . . ” last May, and in “Women in Catholic higher ed:  do we exist yet?” last January, it sure looked like DePaul University was in the running to beat even Baylor [...]

By: Comrade PhysioProf Sun, 17 Jan 2010 18:44:36 +0000

But my service was concentrated in activities that were called “women’s” this or “gender” that. (If it wasn’t all about teh menz, it was necessarily suspect, as at DePaul and BC, I guess.)

This is ubiquitous in higher education. Service that serves the overwhelmingly white male majority is simply “institutional service”, while service that serves underrepresented constituencies is a “special interest”.

By: susurro Fri, 15 Jan 2010 03:34:11 +0000 “One of the things I’ve concluded, and it’s quite worrisome, is that I think it’s much, much easier to take a nurturing, kind department and turn it into a destructive one, than it is to take a toxic department and turn it into a nurturing one.”

I’m going to be thinking abt this a lot over the next few days espec. since I have often been hired as a consultant to do just that in both academic and social service agencies. It’s been particularly frustrating lately (see my “last night there were skinheads on my lawn” post for example) so seeing this written out so succinctly is making me really do some radical re-thinking on the issue.

By: Historiann Fri, 15 Jan 2010 02:14:37 +0000 Fannie: now you’ve got it all figured out! Exclusion of women: God’s plan. Exclusion of men: Satanic!!!

I think you hit on an important difference re: equity in universities. I think we’ve done a much better job ensuring equality of opportunity for students than for faculty. (As the article you sent me about DePaul suggests yet again, quite strongly.)

By: fannie Fri, 15 Jan 2010 00:02:24 +0000 I attended law school at a large Catholic school and it was somewhat, and surprisingly to me, progressive. At least to students. It has a thriving public interest law program. And, for the most part, the faculty and administration was supportive of a student LGBT group and the National Lawyers Guild, and allowed us to hold many debates/presentations on same-sex marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

As for the faculty composition, however, female professors were largely relegated to the so-called pink ghetto of Legal Writing and courses that were “_____ and the Law” (Feminism and the Law, Race and the Law, etc) whilst they hired (mostly white) men to teach the “Real” Law courses like Property, Civil Procedure, and Torts. When I was there, there was one openly gay male professor. I think the situation has somewhat improved in recent years. But at the time, it wasn’t very inspiring for an openly lesbian law student. It was hard to reconcile how the school could be so progressive in some ways and so archaic in others.

Re: Daly and her exclusion of men from her courses.

I think it’s interesting that when the Catholic hierarchy excludes women from the clergy, that is considered “God’s” plan. We are supposed to view that as right, moral, and holy.

Yet, when a women’s studies professor excludes men from her classes, it is outrageous, unfair, and sexist.

By: Anastasia Thu, 14 Jan 2010 17:18:14 +0000 Teaching other religions is not as significant as hiring non-Catholics. And even hiring non-Catholics can come with a clause requiring faculty to uphold the mission and teaching of the Roman Catholic church. There are shades of difference. All of that is to say nothing of hiring non-Christians.

I agree that it isn’t anything like a definitive dividing line. I do think that the situation for faculty in the religion or theology departments at such places is often telling. Baylor isn’t a bad example. Baptists are non-creedal so there isn’t a statement of faith but religion faculty must be active members of a Baptist congregation and job seekers must provide proof of that.

I commented on this because navigating religious affiliation on the job market is something that is more at the forefront of conversations in my field. A person can be denied consideration for a job based on religious affiliation if religious affiliation can be construed as a bona fide job requirement. Even if it isn’t that overt, I know that I was a better candidate for the t-t job I turned down two years ago because the school was affiliated with the same denomination as the seminary I attended. We all go to seminary before we start a PhD. I think those of us in religion take these things for granted in a way people in other fields don’t necessarily–I’m speaking from my experiences discussing these issues with my husband’s colleagues in philosophy.

By: Historiann Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:22:42 +0000 Perpetua alluded to problem unis for women’s advancement that we’ve discussed here. I thought I’d provide a list of links for those of you interested in these past discussions. The list is diverse–public unis, protestant unis, and now with DePaul, a Catholic uni too!

University of Buffalo

Baylor University: multiple links here because Baylor has been a bad, bad uni–scroll down for the data on women and tenure in 2008.

And in case any of you can’t get enough of hearing about my personal battles, here’s a round-up of some links about my second Catholic uni employer, and a little more here, and here’s a tale of sex bias at a large public uni.

By: Historiann Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:17:12 +0000 Susurro: “not all schools are set up to be open and questioning even when secular in nature.”

True ‘nuf! Beyond the religious denominations and the particular orders that founded different unis, there’s also a micropolitics in each department: how they understand and execute their work. One of the things I’ve concluded, and it’s quite worrisome, is that I think it’s much, much easier to take a nurturing, kind department and turn it into a destructive one, than it is to take a toxic department and turn it into a nurturing one. This is a problem in departments and universities worldwide, regardless of the identity, size, mission, etc. of the schools.

By: Historiann Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:12:24 +0000 Meander and polisciprof: thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences. I’m not surprised to hear that a Catholic women’s college was a more open place. Catholic women’s education has always been potentially subversive–with respect to the Church and society at large. (And frequently is WAS subversive, if not always; it’s been held in suspicion by the Church at various times through history, such as our moment in which North American nuns are enduring an inquisition by Rome.) I have to say that I’m surprised to hear that the Jesuit/Catholic identity of Meander’s uni is that strong, at least in the History department. I’m guessing that hir uni is one that Hotshot Harry and I would call one of the Big Dogs of Catholic higher ed! (Funny that Theology squirms at the notion of a prayer before faculty meetings, whereas in History it was a ritual practice.)

Perpetua: I think you make a good point about “good girls,” but I don’t think it always stacks up so neatly. I knew a lot of “good girls” (me being one of them) who tried to conform in every way to the expectations of their colleagues, who were served the same way as women whose lives were less traditional. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a magic formula of life choices, personality, and career choices that protects anyone from irrational bias.

By: susurro Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:09:34 +0000 @historiann – yep, it’s true we still have a long way to go in moving past internalized stuff and how it shapes women’s advancement; I think it is worth some thought (in the context of where it comes from – male power over – and how it is carried out – female internalizations) in perhaps a different thread.

@Frautech – thanks for complicating things. I don’t think we really can center any 1 type of institution as the greatest source of conservativism or sexism in academe, while some (like Pat Robertson’s Regent’s Uni) may seem like good targets, the push-pull you identified is certainly everywhere and not all schools are set up to be open and questioning even when secular in nature.