my alma mater.
have written 2 letters already.
for being the “happiest” university in the country,
with a nationally recognized dedication to service
learning and social justice, it’s still in gentrified
chicago, still white, still many things. there
are great visiting staff, but no one stays stays.
welcome to the pseudo-progressive midwest.
also, i LOVE sumi cho. shouts to gender womyn’s studies
& poli sci!
“I don’t want this to become a pattern,” Father Holtschneider said. “This has never happened before at DePaul. People didn’t notice it in the early stages of the tenure process,” which proceeds independently in each of the university’s nine colleges. “Then we realized, ‘Oh, my gosh, all the candidates getting the no votes are people of color.’”
Ms. Goswami was hired seven years ago by DePaul’s philosophy department to teach postcolonial and feminist theory, which she has done through themes including Bollywood movies and Rwandan genocide. She was denied tenure this year in part because her department decided her research lacked adequate grounding in traditional European philosophy, according to the department’s report on her application. It criticized her inability to speak German, though she speaks Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi and is proficient in Spanish and French.
“I was told that I teach gender and race, feminist studies and postcolonial theory — I was explicitly hired to challenge traditional definitions of philosophy,” Ms. Goswami said. “That’s what postcolonial theory is about: undermining Eurocentrism. The fundamental philosophical questions that matter to all of us — death, truth, justice, happiness — can’t be addressed if we exclude most of the world from what we consider philosophy.”
Father Holtschneider said that DePaul had increased its emphasis on race and gender in the philosophy department, and that the denial of tenure for Ms. Goswami was based on her academic record.
Ms. Shelby said her department unanimously voted against recommending tenure for her largely because they did not respect three of the journals in which she published. But she said someone else in the department had been given credit for publishing in one of those journals. “My work was treated differently from my colleagues,” she said.
Father Holtschneider said that the university had raised its standards for tenure in recent years, and that some journals might no longer be acceptable.
Sumi Cho, a tenured DePaul Law School professor specializing in race theory and employment discrimination, said she thought a subtle form of racism was at work in the tenure denials for Ms. Goswami and Ms. Shelby, who were both popular with students and had high public profiles. Ms. Cho said racism often did not involve excluding minorities but rather favoring those who were “sufficiently deferential” and “don’t steal the limelight.”
“If these two women had been more mediocre, maybe they would have had an easier time,” Ms. Cho said. “Their problem may have been not that they weren’t good enough, but that they were too good.”
Valerie Johnson, a black tenured professor of political science, agrees and plans to call for a vote of no confidence in Father Holtschneider.
“Anytime you have a commitment to diversity, it’s not just faces, it’s also ideas,” Ms. Johnson said. “The problem with DePaul is that they on the surface want diversity to point at, but they don’t want to do the hard work necessary to truly create a diverse environment.” (via Questions of Racial Discrimination on Tenure Unsettle DePaul / Chicago News Cooperative)