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Alice in Genderland

Last week, a colleague of subcontinental persuasion who had been on leave last term sent around an email expressing surprise that 20 minutes had been added to the length of seminar classes apparently without any faculty discussion. He further added that the extra time was draining for his students.

A torrent of emails were sent in response all supporting the pedagogical value of the change.


I thought the new class length was sub-optimal and said so in a one line email. I also queried my students. They too, unanimously and unhesitatingly, said it was a bad idea.Today another colleague sent around an email suggesting that dissenting from the added time, reflected the “gendered entitlement” of the dissenters.


All two of us.

Am I wrong to think such claims have a chilling effect on the expression of views (that have nothing to do with gender) among colleagues? And that the optics of a white South African woman accusing two possibly uppity brown guys of shirking, aren’t great either? Not to mention the historic irony. (My mother’s aunt was a Godbole for EM Foster fans)

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