Rosa Brooks, “What the Internet Age Means for Female Scholars”

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Rosa Brooks’ essay “What the Internet Age Means for Female Scholars” is available as part of the Yale Law Journal’s online “Pocket Parts.” Below is a short excerpt:

… Take any random sample of women in the top fifty law schools and compare them to their male counterparts; odds are that the women will have fewer visiting professorships under their belts. I know many men who have done visiting stints at half a dozen law schools over the course of a decade or so:visiting stints that have helped their careers. Almost all of them possessed that most valuable asset, the trailing spouse.

You might say, of course, that some women simply choose to value family over career, and that there is no basis for objecting if this leads to a lower representation of women at the top of the profession. Certainly, there is no shame in valuing the wellbeing of one’s family over one’s own career ambitions – indeed, the contrary is true. But for most women, this is by no means a wholly free choice. And women often lack the luxury of choice in another way, as well. Because women are less likely than men to accept invitations to visit, faculty appointment committees are, in turn, less willing to invite them. Most professors have seen this dynamic many times: when names of possible lateral candidates are tossed around, someone will mention a woman’s name, only to have someone else say, often with only the best intentions,”Oh, no point in inviting her to visit:she’ll never come. She has young children, and her husband works at a local firm.”So the invitation is never extended in the first place, for why go to the effort to vote through an offer for someone unlikely to accept? And we never find out whether the woman in question would in fact have accepted an offer. …

Preferred Citation: Rosa Brooks, What the Internet Age Means for Legal Scholars, 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 46 (2006),

NB: Brooks also just published an Op-Ed in the LA Times entitled “Students, Beware Professor Osama.”

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0 Responses to Rosa Brooks, “What the Internet Age Means for Female Scholars”

  1. Patrick Seamus says:

    Regarding her Op-Ed:

    ‘Universities aren’t neutral marketplaces in which all ideas should be presumed equal, but rather, institutions to foster knowledge. And despite their supposed lack of ideological diversity, most U.S. universities have robust disciplinary norms for distinguishing between persuasive analysis and sheer dogma, and between sound theories and those unsupported by facts….’—This is an extremely important observation, one compatible with the recognition that universities should not be compelled to conform to (neo-classical) ‘consumer’ model of education. It is exposure to these ‘robust disciplinary norms’ that often challenges our students to critically reflect on their own worldviews (or, better, ‘lifeworlds,’ inasmuch as their beliefs may lack the articulation of worldviews). And it is these disciplinary norms that can assist them in the endeavor to ‘think critically’ both in their intimate lives in the daily round and in their capacity as public citizens.

    Many things, of late, have begun to irritate me about my ‘local’ paper, the LA Times. Rosa Brooks’ occasional articles are among its few saving graces.

    Oh yes: now I read everything by both mother (Barbara Eherenreich) AND daughter.