wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Mon, 6 Jun 1994 15:17:31 -0600

In response to O'Brien.

I have been on only two hiring committees during my time in anthropology
departments, but I have a lot of experience on the job market from the
other end. I did once lose a job I was short-listed and interviewed for,
because the department "wanted a woman." Knowing that department, I
could understand, and while I was sad not to get the job, I feel the
same way I do about jobs I don't get because they decided they really
wanted an Andeanist instead of a Mesoamericanist. I also know that for
every male who has missed being hired because of gnder, or white because
of their skin color, there are hundreds of women, people of color,
people with handicaps, people with too much age on them -- all of whom
have not been hired, perhaps unjustly, because departments discriminated
against them.

To me there is a world of difference between a conscious decision to
acheive balance in a department by hiring more women, people of color,
foreigners, gays, or whatever - and the exercize of discrimination -
passing someone over because you consciously or unconsciously carry
stereotypes or prejudice against people with their attributes.

All that said. In my experience there is rarely any coherent "plan"
behind any hiring, rarely a coherent agenda of any kind. Lots of people
have ideas, favorites, goals and plots, and they are worked out in many
different ways through a political process. It is rare that anyone is
passed over merely because of their gender -- with the exception of
departments that are making a serious effort to correct past gender

Rick Wilk