Melissa Harris-Perry is the host of a TV talk show and a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. Her book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, argues that persistent harmful stereotypes profoundly shape black women's politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena. Harris-Perry is my go-to source of information on issues of intersectionality. I’m a dedicated viewer and a fan of her show.
Nicholas Kristof is a journalist, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. Along with his wife, Sheryl Wudunn, he is the author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. They write that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women participate in the labor force. I read Half the Sky from cover to cover, but I had to do it in small doses because it was quite depressing. I so admire Kristof and Wudunn for bringing these stories to light.
Harris-Perry often writes a letter of the week to a public figure on a matter of social injustice. They are often snarky, condescending . . . and well-deserved! Some examples are her letter to Nikki Haley about taking down the confederate flag in South Carolina; to Jeb Bush for choosing the same man who advised his brother on Iraq to be his foreign policy adviser; and to Sam Brownback on the effects of his tax policy on the poorest people in Kansas.
Astronomy 501: Departmental Methods for Faculty (Fall Semester)
You have 50 minutes. Answer all questions. Show your work to maximize partial credit.
Question 1: You are a faculty member in top US astronomy department and serving on a search committee for an assistant professor. Which of the two candidates below gets your vote for the job?
Candidate A is a father who has 10 first author papers and has appeared frequently at international conferences to give invited reviews. He completed his PhD 2 years ago.
Candidate B is a mother who has 8 first author papers and currently travels only rarely to give talks. She completed her PhD 3 years ago.
Explain your decision using the standard metrics of academic success, and present a compelling case for your candidate.
Bonus: Imagine you are an untenured professor and a woman. Explain how your decision about which arguments you present to your senior colleagues on the committee is unaffected by your gender and junior status.
A group of astronomers started a new blog last week: Astronomy in Color. The blog consists of members of the astronomy community committed to increasing diversity by recognizing, confronting and removing the barriers to racial equity and inclusion. They are committed to an intersectional feminist approach combined with a framework of cultural materialism to understand the past and present repercussions of systemic oppression of marginalized groups on our ability to study the Universe.
In our newest series on the Women in Astronomy blog, we'd like to introduce our readers to the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy. Our first committee member to be introduced, Christina Richey, is the new Chair of the CSWA, and has been a member of the committee for 2 years.