In 1991, an English professor at a state university kissed one of her female graduate students. In 1993, she was accused of sexual harassment by that student and one other. The charges, painstakingly described in detail and nuance, were violations of college policy concerning sexual interaction between professors and students. What the author thinks makes these all-too-common events unusual is that she, the accused, is a feminist who has authored other books on feminist history and practice. She uses the particulars of her "case" to generalize about the place of sexuality in teaching and learning and the meanings of sexuality in feminism. Reading this long essay may leave readers with questions the author doesn't address: Where is the line between scholarship and autobiography, or simply self-indulgence? A "local, left leaning, countercultural weekly ran a wrap-up of the university investigation." This isn't exactly a media blitz, but three pages in this very short book are devoted to an analysis of the sidebar accompanying that article. Why not just reprint the thing and let readers decide for themselves what it says? The author seems to be arguing that teaching and feminism depend upon personal and sexual relations between teachers and students, power differential or not. But it's hard to say how much of this position is vindication and how much is scholarly and analytical. On the positive side, Gallop writes well, and here she is obviously writing about her favorite subject. (May) FYI: Helen Garner's The First Stone: Some Questions About Sex and Power (Forecasts, March 10) also looks at sexual harassment on campus.
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Gallop (English and comparative literature, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) here attempts to address the harassment case brought against her in 1993 by two female students. She begins by tracing her own development as a feminist, an academic, and a woman but fails to sustain her argument that learning and erotics are intertwined on any of these bases. Her feminist thesis is perhaps the strongest but is seriously undermined by such facile and irresponsible statements as "[academic] conferences are also inevitably sexual...a good conference is likely to be an eroticized workplace." Only a few pages are devoted to the facts of the case; the reader is left puzzled as to its outcome. What could have been an original and enlightening discussion of a serious issue becomes a portrait of unprofessional behavior glibly sketched. Not recommended.?Barbara Ann Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L., B.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I myself have written a Ph.D. dissertation, "Hostility Toward the Unattractive: A Critique of 'Sexual Harassment' Law," so in some sense I am sympathetic toward Gallop, but I do... Read morePublished on May 31, 2012 by Richmond West
For decades, many male professors have made the same excuses for sexual exploitation of their students--to the fury of feminists. Read morePublished on January 25, 2006 by another reader
I could not agree more that this is "shrill, unconvincing screed." I might also add that for a Professor who teaches psychoanalytic theory, Ms. Read morePublished on August 3, 2000