Archive for Monday, March 20, 2006

Women’s Studies faculty responds to criticism

March 20, 2006

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We write to clarify the mission and methods of the KU Women's Studies Program in light of David Horowitz's biased and uninformed testimony about us before the Kansas House Appropriations Committee on March 15.

Like the university as a whole, our program is all about academic freedom and adamantly opposed to the indoctrination of students by any force whatsoever. We teach students to think critically about their world in order to take their place as responsible adult stewards of our local and global communities. We are very proud of our program and the accomplishments of our students and faculty. We invite you to investigate us and view examples of our students' work on our Web site at www.womensstudies.ku.edu.

Like the faculty at the university as a whole, our program's faculty members are each subject to multiple sources of regular peer review of our teaching and research. Peer review is a process whereby one's intellectual work is rigorously evaluated and criticized by other experts in the field, often anonymously. It is the deliberate sifting and winnowing of theory, evidence, critique and counter-critique that has resulted in the enormous progress of knowledge over the past century in fields across the academy.

As teachers of women's studies, we bring our students into this vast, global conversation of ideas about gender and sexuality. The ideas that Mr. Horowitz claimed are so "politically controversial" - that women are oppressed, that they are nonetheless agents of change, and that social injustice exists - are well established. They are an essential part of the global discussion of human rights, injustice, inequality and freedom, engaged in by persons across the spectrum of philosophical, religious and political views.

Mr. Horowitz is, of course, free to speak his mind about this or any other idea. We remain committed to free intellectual debate. As a part of this free debate, it is essential that all of us hold each other accountable to evidence for ideas we express, particularly those with which we seek to influence political action to constrain others' rights to freely express themselves. The so-called Academic Bill of Rights seeks legislative oversight of the content of ideas expressed in state-supported universities. It is our view that this is an intrusion of a political process into the free intellectual process of academic peer review, and that, as such it is ill-advised for a free society.

Ann Cudd, director of the KU Women's Studies Program, wrote this column on behalf of herself and six other members of the Women's Studies faculty.

Comments

xenophonschild 9 years, 2 months ago

This Horowitz is a flake, a phony, a modern snake-oil salesman. The company I work for does direct-printing for him. He's the self-appointed "president" of three or four groups or committees, all of which pander to the lunatic fringe of the Republican party (and there are tens of thousands of them. Horowitz routinely portrays himself as the champion of some cause or other, then solicits the gullible for money "to continue the fight."

No doubt we'll soon see a galley or proof copy of a plea, wherein Horowitz will recount his attack on the women's studies programs at KU and K-State, followed closely by an appeal for a donation so he can continue his noble work.

Don't give this sleaze a second thought. He's laughing, or trying to laugh, all the way to the bank.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Are you posting from your work computer? I wonder if your boss would like to lose Horowitz' business.

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

i wonder what percentage of women studies students are man-hating lesbians or straight?

it used to be inhabited by radical lesbians. just how strong is the patchouli scent today?

david horowitz is a man, this should explain some of the outcry from the women.

james bush 9 years, 2 months ago

Women's studies should not be a course unless in medical school for women's diseases. The entire curriculum at KU should be reviewed and useless studies like it should be discontinued.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

"Are you a lesbian that hates men or an effete male that hates heterosexual males?"

Neither. But you and jim are obviously not secure in your own sexuality to be so fixated on this.

hilly 9 years, 2 months ago

Not to get off topic, but David Horowitz is my hero.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200412010006

And I always thought attacking other races was his speciality. I'm happy to see that he's multitalented.

Anyone remember a few years ago when there was a big controversy over an ad he tried to run in school newspapers? I believe the name of the ad was "Ten Reasons Why Reperations For Slavery Is A Bad Idea- and Racist Too." And even better, it claimed that African-American's owed more to the United States then the United States owed them, mostly because of welfare.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating reperations, that's totally another topic, and I totally respect his opinions, I just find them rather... tasteless.

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

jimincountry and conservativeman -

you have no idea what women's studies involves, do you?

james bush 9 years, 2 months ago

Mom, nothing that couldn't be studied in other basic courses.

xenophonschild 9 years, 2 months ago

We already have a white-male studies program: it's called Western Civilization. And, as a white male, I'm proud of our contribution to civilization, even though we misstep occasionally.

Let the girls have their pep-talk. Life is hard enough on them, particularly when they get past thirty and everything starts to sag and no man wants them any more.

somemistere 9 years, 2 months ago

To Whom it May Concern:

Unfortunately, there are still misconceptions about the curriculum Women's Studies Program at KU. It seems that many people on this forum have not taken the time to fully explore the topic they have chosen to comment towards.

To begin, Western Civilization and (to take someone else's nomenclature) "the White Man" only represents certain viewpoints in this world. To live in a democratic society such as ours, students should have the opportunity to see other perspectives on society. Women's Studies gives people the opportunity to see otherwise suppressed or ignored views. This is not much different than African Studies or Eastern Civilization.

Secondly, Women's Studies is not about indoctrinating students into becoming feminists. On the contrary, many classes challenge students to think analytically about feminist philosophy and theory. In these classes, there are fair exchanges and lively debate.

Finally, from this forum, it is easy to see why Women's Studies and Gender Studies are necessary and vital. The subjugation of different ideas can be seen from these comments. In belittling and suppressing ideas that are different from the mainstream, we as a society cannot grow and evolve.

I challenge all who read my letter to explore further Women's Studies. At least give the subject matter a fair chance.

Sincerely, Marcy Quiason

Bubarubu 9 years, 2 months ago

c-boy--

Her proper title is "Dr. Cudd". She is a full professor, very well-respected, and from my limited experience with her, a very interesting teacher. And if the best you can do is mocking people's surnames, I think Ms. Quiason's point is made for her.

Bubarubu 9 years, 2 months ago

Yeaaaaa, I've insulted an intelligent and accomplished woman by making fun of her last name and comparing her to a cow! I'm a winner at life! All of my troubles are over now!

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