My blood pressure rose, my stomach gurgled as I read the following two accounts of academic feminists who would totter–not male supremacy–but mathematics and science. The first (see here) is by Rochelle Guterriez, a professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She claims in a new book that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness (sic).” She advocates “that things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.” Further, basic material in mathematics emphasizes Western culture too much (the Dead White Man complaint?): “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.” (Note: all quotes are taken from the linked article.)
The second (see here) is by Sara Giordano, a Women’s Study professor at UC Davis, who argued in an article in Catalyst Journal, that rather than traditional science, people should take an “anti-science, anti-racist, feminist approach to knowledge production.” Shades of Stalinist Lysenkoism! She proposes that “feminist science practice” (which is???) be introduced that “explicitly unsticks Science [sic] from Truth [sic].” Further, she is interested in what “scientific illiteracy we might embrace to destabilize science [no uppercase here] and remake knowledge production.” And, pray tell, what is knowledge production? Science is only a part of knowledge production, but perhaps this isn’t known by academic feminists. (Again, quotes are taken from the linked article.)
I should emphasize that I do not oppose women taking part in science. There is a letter from a former grad student in my research group (it was on the occasion of my 80th birthday–a minor Feschriff (sp?)) thanking me for the efforts I took back in the 1950’s (when feminism was not in sway) to argue for her against professors who said women had no place in gradate school, who gave her unfair grades and who wanted to boot her out of the graduate program because she was pregnant. My efforts to change her grades and keep her doing research were successful. She got her Ph.D. and a successful career thereafter. There are many women who have made significant contributions to science and mathematics. One of the most significant is Emmy Noether, who made a profound contribution to theoretical physics by her work relating conservation principles to symmetry.
What amazes and disturbs me is that the two feminist academics discussed above are suckers of the public teat; they have positions (tenured?) at moderately prestigious universities, financed by taxpayer dollars. Is the academic enterprise so far gone that there is no hope for recovery? I don’t see that there’s any cure, other than a stake through the heart–remove all public support from institutions of so-called higher learning and let the marketplace decide what shall flourish. Although, that may not work either–witness the Ivy League and second and third class stand-ins. Hmm… any solutions, dear reader?