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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse

Whereas there's certainly a political dimension to the evolution of discourse forms, it's not the only one. 
An objectivist, rationalist epistemology became ascendant primarily because it's adaptive. 
Societies equipped with this discourse were able to create sciences and technologies that enabled them to prevail over other societies. 

To see how far removed this evolution is from gender politics we only have to look at the history of this ascendance in Europe in which tensions between epistemologies played out primarily between one group of white males empowered by religious institutions and another group of white males reflecting secular power sources. 
In those terms, I think we have regard first wave feminism as ameliorative. 
Women won the right to participate in institutions/professions guided by objectivist, rationalist epistemology.

Perhaps this kind of logic is regarded as 'male' because of historical associations, or perhaps biological differences between the sexes predispose males to that kind of logic (Kimura, 1999). Whatever the reason, it seems unwise to regard the matter purely in political terms, ignoring the adaptive value discursive practices. 


Kimura, D. (1999). Sex differences in the brain. Scientific American, 274, 26-31. http://www.case.edu/affil/sigmaxi/documents/D.KimuraScientificAmerican_gender-brain_.pdf

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Jacob McWilliams
Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2016 9:31 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse

There's no doubt that "logic," as an outgrowth of objectivist, rationalist epistemology, is gendered--after all, if theorists wants us to believe that all _other_ epistemologies are socially constructed, then it follows that objectivism is too. And it's constructed to benefit those in power--i.e., people who think like, and commonly are, white men.

Lots of feminist theorists have written about this. Donna Haraway took us on a wild ride through science's logic fetish back in the 1980s:

Lots of feminists have written about this. Sadly, most folks in most academic departments are appallingly unfamiliar with their work. Sadly but unsurprisingly.

Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but several listserv members--including me--have tried to introduce this position re: logic in prior xmca threads. The position has mostly either been ignored or loudly rejected out of hand by more vocal participants on this listserv.


Jacob McWilliams
Learning Sciences & Human Development Program University of Colorado Boulder j.mcwilliams@colorado.edu

On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 8:12 AM, Greg Mcverry <jgregmcverry@gmail.com> wrote:

> I want to bring a call back to the idea of logic and gender.
> Someone in the thread noted that "academic discourse" wasn't about 
> winning but simply prevailing logic. Anna commented back you could be 
> logical and not be a "jerk" about it.
> Maybe both statements can be true.
> White males may not excel in this type of logic simply based on their 
> privilege. Though I am sure privilege plays a huge role.
> Could it be the Western tradition of logic is itself rooted in gender 
> inequality? It is a field a few thousand years old that was made up by 
> white men arguing "logically" with other white men. Naturally the 
> discourse practices would signify and reinforce membership within these circles.
> Exclusion of underrepresented voices has influence how the concept of 
> "logic" has evolved.
> I keep thinking about "logic" and argumentation as I begin to interact 
> with scholars outside of the US. We have put a strong emphasis on 
> arguing in our
> K12 curriculum. Yet when I talk to people from other countries they 
> note a word for "argumentative writing" or "argumentation" does not 
> really exist in their language. Which as we know influences 
> thought...which influences language..and both contribute to culture and activity.
> So could it be the gender bias that has existed in the listserv is a 
> symptom of stressing a definition of "logic" maybe engendered. Notice 
> the talk in our models of logic have been proving who is right and who 
> is wrong? What translation is best for example.
> It is one individual "proving" he is right rather than they reaching a 
> consensus on what is right.
> On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 12:47 AM Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> >
> > Sometimes synchronicity is spooky. I spied this in the Guardian just now.
> >
> >
> > https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/02/
> silicon-valley-sexism-diversity-valerie-aurora-frame-shift
> >
> >
> > In reply to Maria-Cristina, it's difficult to have work-life balance 
> > when the division of the personal and the public worlds exists. From 
> > what is described in biased workplaces (in article above), it's 
> > necessary to have some sort of protective wall, if only to survive another day.
> >
> >
> > The irony is that people become competitive in the work place 
> > because of
> a
> > perceived scarcity of resources, but in technology it seems to me to 
> > be a perceived scarcity of privileges. I have never understood how 
> > sitting at
> a
> > keyboard is somehow "hard work." I know it requires effort and
> intellectual
> > effort in particular, but it's not like working on a farm, where 
> > solving problems with scarce resources is always the norm. Think bricolage.
> >
> >
> > Maybe this perceived scarcity is the same in academia. Having a 
> > worldview that the field of knowledge is infinite, seems to be, 
> > looking from the outside. But perhaps I am unaware of the bricolage 
> > people do inside the university. I do not mean to diminish truly hard work.
> >
> >
> > Anyway, these resources are culled from the public world to feed the 
> > personal world in the end, isn't that the true motivation? To 
> > protect
> home
> > and hearth when we aren't talking about invading hoards on longboats 
> > shooting flaming arrows at our huts shouldn't carry that same 
> > impending fear, dread, and uncertainty. But sometimes it seems to 
> > feel that way,
> that
> > people behave with that same ferocity of a struggle to the death.
> >
> >
> > It is an illusion, a misperception. But this misperception has its 
> > apparent reality that creates real fear in people. As if their lives
> didn't
> > matter and unbalanced equations must be attacked with quadratic
> solutions,
> > to set the matter straight.
> >
> >
> > Instead, a shared effort is required to permit that defensiveness, 
> > born
> of
> > competition, to dissipate. In order to do that, people have to feel safe.
> > So how is safety created in the spaces? Spaces free of ridicule and 
> > non-acceptance. Then, isn't that what every human being desires and 
> > requires to flourish? Interesting that that need has no bias.
> >
> >
> > That is why I admire Aurora so much. I really think that she is on 
> > to something.
> >
> >
> > Larry, rather than reversibility, I'd prefer receptivity or reciprocity.
> >
> >
> > And rather than finer nature, I'd prefer true nature (with an idea 
> > that being competitive, biased, prejudiced, unethical etc, are 
> > actually artificial constructs, that when obstructions have been 
> > lifted, what is natural is to balance what is there (like 
> > homeostasis), free from hindrances.
> >
> >
> > In order for us to recognize what is fullness in ourselves, fullness 
> > must already be present within us, otherwise we could not recognize 
> > it, we wouldn't have affinity toward it. So if we can remove the 
> > notion of scarcity, then the fullness of who and what we are, which 
> > is already
> there,
> > will be evident. It will have an appearance of emerging from 
> > nothing, but it's really just appearing like a tree in the fog that 
> > was standing quiet all along, and all that was required was for the fog to lift.
> >
> >
> > Anyway, I want to lastly add that I bring up demand over production,
> which
> > Maria Cristina had shown some interest. The idea is that we have 
> > demands which actually decide production, and these demands are 
> > socially based, because we have social natures. Even if we are 
> > talking about biological demands like food and shelter, early 
> > childcare, regardless, in those
> cases
> > there is a social aspect to them.
> >
> >
> > Looking through the other end of the telescope, when we consider 
> > demand first rather than production, things look interestingly 
> > different. If we include things in demand in that exploration 
> > (rather than things in production), we begin to see the social life 
> > of things, we start to see
> how
> > these items go in and out of commodification, where objects have 
> > auras of value that reside outside of monetary value and markets.
> >
> >
> > Let's consider your dining room table. You bought it in a furniture
> store,
> > or perhaps online, or from a thrift store or garage sale, maybe it 
> > was a gift. But as long as you own it, you don't consider the market 
> > value of your dining room table, or its appreciating value if say it 
> > was made by a famous furniture maker where in 20-30 years you'll see 
> > those items appraised on The Antiques Road Show; at least not until 
> > you decide you don't want to own it anymore. During that time of 
> > possession, the dining room table starts to have different value, a 
> > social value, which is determined by its demand, or should I say 
> > demand for it. It supports the family by providing a comfortable 
> > place to eat meals. A place for kids to do homework. A place to play 
> > card games. Or to cut a dress pattern from fabric, etc. All of these 
> > are domestic activities, but they have no production value in terms of tables. You only need one dining room table.
> > Still, the table will generate value in the household, because of 
> > the activities that the table supports, even if it is to bring 
> > people
> together
> > at holidays, or even if it has only sentimental value, say if the 
> > table
> is
> > damaged and must be repaired, or it has been moved because the room 
> > is being painted. This description depicts the social life of the 
> > dining
> room
> > table. Which is based upon its demand, not its production.
> >
> >
> > Anyway, as I said previously, my debt for these thought experiments 
> > comes from Arjun Appadurai. If anyone is interested.
> >
> >
> > Maria Cristina makes a great point considering work life and living 
> > life as two types of activity systems and thinking about their 
> > inherent contradictions. What comes from this tension that transcends the two?
> > (Might this exploration echo the comparison between production and
> demand?)
> > Is Maria Cristina correct that there hasn't been much discussion in 
> > this area? if so, I'd like to learn more about that.
> >
> >
> > Great conversations. Thanks.
> >
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> >
> > Annalisa
> >

Status: O