Gender Fail: Katherine Franke at Feminist Law Professors follows up on the ‘sex panic’ around South African athlete’s Caster Semenya’s biological sex status. Semenya failed the female sex test, citing levels of testosterone above the accepted ones for a female athlete according to International Association of Athletics Federation. Franke responds to the question-
“What’s to stop men from competing in these events and winning all of them?” I have the following answer: Then don’t call them women’s and men’s events, define the events by testosterone levels – those with levels up to some ceiling run in one event, those with higher levels run in another event. Collapsing “female” and “male” into testosterone levels is both bad science and bad social policy.
You Rehearse!: Geoff Nunberg at Language Log looks at Congressman Joseph Wilson’s ‘spontaneous’ outburst during Barack Obama’s healthcare address last week. To Nunberg, Wilson’s choice of the semi-archaic “You lie!” versus a more contemporary “You’re a liar,” suggests that his interruption was at at least rehearsed. Of course, Wilson is not the only person thinking back to a political rhetoric of yesteryear.
Balancing Act: Lorenz at antropologi.info beat me to reposting Eli Thorkelson’s really interesting analysis of gender imbalances in degrees granted to anthropologists. Thorkelson’s ample data and commentary on graduate enrollment versus degrees granted versus subjective experiences of anthropologists and students offer up the provocative question of what it means to constitute true gender parity in the discipline.
Do the Right Thing? Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Mark Lilla comments on the earnestness of Berkeley’s new Center for Right-Wing studies and bemoans the fact that academia treats conservatism as a pathology instead of a long-standing intellectual tradition. This much is interesting, but Lilla loses me when he trots out the common complaint that conservatives are marginalized in universities. Maybe that’s because I have to pass the future site of the Milton Friedman institute on a regular basis.
Trauma’s Moral Economy: Hanna Kienzler at somatsophere reviews Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman’s new book Empire of Trauma. Kienzler writes:
Fassin and Rechtman reject both a naturalization of the concept of trauma as well as a relativism that raises doubts by asking whether trauma exists at all. Instead, they aim at understanding how our current “moral economy” has been rewritten throughout time and ways in which contemporary societies problematize the meaning of their moral responsibility in relation to distressing events.
Reviewing Peer Review: Inside Higher Ed reports that the National Academy of Sciences will end its policy of fast-tracking some articles through peer review after a potentially bogus article was published. (Funnily enough, the article claimed that caterpillars and butterflies were evolutionarily distinct).
Traveler Beware: Dave Davies at the Philadelphia Daily News reports on the story of Nick George, an undergraduate returning to the U.S. from Jordan who was stopped by TSA and detained for almost 24 hours on suspicion of terrorism. The proof? Arabic flashcards and a recent haircut.
Want something included next week, or have something you want added to the blogroll? Email me. I am coming out of my e-hibernation and adding things slowly.