Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies

Daphne Patai, Author, Noretta Koertge, With
Daphne Patai, Author, Noretta Koertge, With Basic Books $24 (235p) ISBN 978-0-465-09821-7
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-7391-0454-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-465-09827-9
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-0-7391-0455-2
Open Ebook - 453 pages - 978-1-299-62004-9
Open Ebook - 456 pages - 978-0-7391-5963-7
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This unsparing account of the troubles that beset women's studies programs should incite vociferous debate. Drawing on interviews with professors and students, Patai, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts, and Koertge, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, contend that the greatest threat to the field comes from within. Rigidly doctrinaire politics, they claim, overshadow education: activism rather than scholarly accomplishment often prevails in hiring and tenure decisions, and ``ideological policing'' in the classroom precludes tolerant appraisal of alternative points of view. The academic deficiencies that result, the authors assert, favor the demagogue over the student. Such problems ironically testify to the enduring vitality of feminism, yet, they conclude, only a more rigorous focus on free inquiry and scholarly merit will perpetuate that vitality in the academy. (Nov.)
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