Senator Malarndirri McCarthy

In her historic maiden speech, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Yanyuwa woman and Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, addresses Indigenous resilience, support for migrants and refugees, and solidarity with LGBTQIA Australians.

“I urge parliamentarians in both houses to understand this: the Yanyuwa are a people whose struggle for recognition took nearly 40 years. So many elders died well before such recognition and, most importantly, before any respect took place. Such long, drawn out legal battles have wearied many families of first nation peoples, constantly trying to defend their sense of self and identity and country. Maybe that was the intention – to battle fatigue. But we’re still here, and we’re not going to go away.”

Source: ABC.

Structural Barriers for Women in Science

“But the sad fact is it is much easier to say ‘we need more women in science’ than it is to stand up, look the (mostly male) leaders in science and politicians in the eye and say: ‘Your laboratories, hiring procedures, grant-allocating processes and publishing routines are all sexist, and this results in science and technologies that aren’t good for at least half the population. Why have you allowed this to continue for so long?'”

Quote: The Guardian.

Overcoming Gender Inequality in the Classroom

 

Stanford law Professors Daniel Ho and Mark Kelman have conducted research showing that larger classes in law schools increase gender inequality. The study has relevance to STEM as the findings support other research about teaching in physics.

The study, published in the Journal of Legal Studies, included almost 16,000 grades given to around 1,900 students. The researchers find that pedagogy (teaching philosophy and teacher-student practice) matters to gender outcomes. The authors conclude that smaller classes where teachers provide more feedback reduce gender differences in grade scores. The researchers found that women outperformed men in small, interactive classes focused on practical exercises. The researchers note that similar results have been found in interactive physics courses.

Continue reading Overcoming Gender Inequality in the Classroom

‘Jokes’ and Sexism in STEM

A lot of people are trying to squeeze this whole Tim Hunt affair in a “he said/she said” frame, but what they’re missing is twofold: Even if he was making a joke initially, he meant what he said, and that’s why he’s suffered the consequences of it, and either way this event has once again shone a spotlight on the rampant sexism in society in general and in the sciences specifically.’

– Philip Plait​, via Slate.

Online Moderation is not Censorship

Democracy is not about saying whatever you want whenever you want, without facing consequences:

‘this notion we have about radical free speech — this distinctly American framework, that anyone can say anything, more or less, short of screaming “fire” in a theater or making a “true threat” — does not have to apply to online spaces. Instead, companies like Twitter can make new standards, new frameworks, according to their corporate values and the needs of their users. (Twitter, a longtime holdout here, has recently escalated its attempts to make sure that “differences of opinion do not cross the line into harassment.”)’

– On Twitter’s ban of internet troll Charles Johnson, via The Washington Post

Being a Black Puerto Rican

“Neely Fuller, a great Black sociologist, stated: “Until one understands the system of White supremacy, anything and everything else will confuse you.” Divide and conquer still applies.

Listen people: Being Black is not just skin colour, nor is it synonymous with Black Americans. To assert who I am is the most liberating and revolutionary thing I can ever do. Being a Black Puerto Rican encompasses me racially, ethically and most importantly, gives me a homeland to refer to.”

– Rosa Clemente, activist, writes about how American and Latin communities exclude Black Puerto Ricans

Continue reading Being a Black Puerto Rican

Camus Writes to his Teacher

Dear Monsieur Germain,

I let the commotion around me these days subside a bit before speaking to you from the bottom of my heart. I have just been given far too great an honour, one I neither sought nor solicited.

But when I heard the news, my first thought, after my mother, was of you. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened.

I don’t make too much of this sort of honour. But at least it gives me the opportunity to tell you what you have been and still are for me, and to assure you that your efforts, your work, and the generous heart you put into it still live in one of your little schoolboys who, despite the years, has never stopped being your grateful pupil. I embrace you with all my heart.

Albert Camus

Continue reading Camus Writes to his Teacher

Public Anthropology

So one of the questions we need to reflect on as anthropologists interested in engaging the public is: Who is our audience, and how can we best reach them? Is blogging the key? If so, what platform, what format, what language do we use? …de Koning notes that it’s somewhat ironic that anthropology blogs largely focus on a Western audience and topics related to Western ideologies, when we’re the primary field that prides itself on a cross-cultural and often non-Western focus. I endorse his call to create “a more global and plural anthropological community” (2013:397). We need more anthropologists writing in a variety of languages about a variety of cultures and topics, specifically engaging the public in our attempts to explain the fascinating biocultural nature of humans around the world.

Kristina Killgrove reflects on the use of blogging and social media to extend public outreach amongst anthropologists. Read her whole post, it’s terrific and there are lessons for sociologists and other social scientists.

Black Women Mentors in Science

The overall motivation for my desire to see more Black women as mentors in science is not self-centered. I believe that science needs the perspectives, ideas, and creativity that can only result from diversification. As more underrepresented women and men of color are offered positions, more of them will take up roles as PIs, research advisors and administrators, and I am certain that more of my needs and those of others like me will be met. In order to navigate a career that I love, but that requires years of exhaustive training and that comes with no guarantee of financial reward, I have to be thoughtful of what will ensure my success. This applies to everyone.

American biology student Stephani Page is undertaking her PhD research. She argues that there is a dire need to introduce diversity within the upper ranks of scientific leadership. As Page notes in her guest post in Nature’s Soap Box Science blog, it is rare for Black research students to encounter other Black women scientists while they undertake science degree. As she recounts, Page has had wonderful mentors who are White – but where are the diverse role models for Other students to aspire towards? The lack of diversity in science vexing and important topic for all disciplines. Sociology is not immune. While sociology is attracting more diverse students, these students are less likely to get jobs within academia.

Indigenous Mental Health

Indigenous culture has for a long time had a holistic understanding of mental health. Within this are concepts of the cultural importance of the connection between the mind and body as well as the land, ancestors and other spiritual connections…. What I admire most in my family and all the communities is Aboriginal people’s great resilience and generosity of spirit, not only to their own people but to everyone. Despite a terrible history that is still very close for Australia’s Indigenous people, this spirit of generosity and resilience are something to celebrate and acknowledge.

Prof Pat Dudgeon, National Mental Health Commissioner.