Thursday, July 28, 2005

And a man shall lead them 

There's much handwringing over the appointment of a man to chair the women's studies program at the University of Washington (link only for subscribers to the Chronicle of Higher Ed). It's the first male to run a women's studies program that has a PhD (there are ten of those) and perhaps only the second overall. He is not a member of the department's faculty.
Nancy J. Kenney, an associate professor of women's studies at Washington, said that while Mr. Allen is "a wonderful man," she found the decision to name him chairman "somewhat depressing." She said she lamented that "after all of these years, there isn't a different alternative out there."

"There simply aren't enough women of the right type and interest to take over this position," she said.
Mr. Allen, the new chair, suggests that men can work on women's issues as much as whites can work on antiracist issues. I think maybe women are smart enough to know that being department chairperson is a thankless task. My guess is Mr. Allen will find it particularly so.