Florian Cramer on Wed, 29 Nov 2006 15:29:11 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Racism and Sexism at Citizendium

Am Dienstag, 28. November 2006 um 11:44:57 Uhr (-0700) schrieb Kali Tal:
> I am withdrawing from Citizendium because of the racist and sexist  
> policy put in place by Larry Sanger, who claims that the disciplines  
> of Ethnic Studies and Gender Studies do not belong in the list of top  
> level categories in Citizendium, or as individual categories at all.   
> Sanger has unilaterally decided that all race and gender topics  
> should be split up under traditional disciplinary headings, so that  
> there will be, for example, a sub-group of "African American  
> Literature," and "African American History," but no category -- at  
> any level -- in African American studies, and he embraces the same  
> tactic of fragmenting other Ethnic Studies and Gender Studies.  The  
> fact that his broad strokes of exclusion primarily effect women and  
> minority scholars does not seem to matter to him.

Two remarks: 

- If one participates in a project that is structurally conservative (as
  an elitist, anti net-cultural counter-project to Wikipedia), it's
  hardly surprising if it's also structurally conservative in its
  content.  If there is a lesson to be learned for feminist, queer
  studies, African American studies etc. intellectuals, then the one
  that they should finally look beyond conservative academia and
  traditional publishing.  Wikipedia, in fact, is such an alternative,
  and would overcome much of its quality problems if more academics and
  intellectuals would bother to contribute to it. (That said, there also
  are amazingly good Wikipedia articles on philosophical and humanities

  It always struck me as odd that, for example, you need to attend
  expensive ivy league universities in order to study with the best
  scholars in that field, and that minority students at inexpensive
  state schools hardly have a chance of studying with reputed scholars
  in those fields. (Back in the 1990s, as an exchange student in the
  USA, I struck me - from my European point of view - as plainly obscene
  that self-declared Marxists taught at Duke University.)

- To have a conservative understanding of displicines is one thing, 
  to be racist and sexist another. Many feminists, in fact, are opposed
  to disciplines like Women Studies because they consider them ghettos
  and find it more important to "hack", or rewrite, disciplines like
  literature and history altogether. But even as a conservative, Sanger
  shouldn't be called a racist unless he claimed that, for example,
  African American history didn't belong into Citizendium at all. 



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