Talk:Joan Wallach Scott

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Initial comments[edit]

Consider changing article name to "Joan Wallach Scott"

I believe that the actor Eli Wallach is her father's brother (ie her uncle) and not her brother. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nestorburma (talkcontribs) 00:04, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I've begun a cleanup of this article--most importantly putting the article "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis" in the first paragraph where it belongs--but it still reads like a laudatory introduction you'd give to someone about to give a lecture. In other words, it needs to be toned down. 05:53, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


according to her CV. List of Articles is very long, maybee too long? List of published Books might be enough. any opinions? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Akaiko (talkcontribs) 17:49, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Research Section Removal[edit]

Two editors @Feministprofessor and Jphiliprmauritius: have tried removing large swaths of information from the research section of this article. I am by no means an expert on the subject but cannot find what they are opposed to (outside of some wording that needs fixing). I am opening a discussion, so that the problem can be exposed and fixed, collaboratively. I am also pinging the writer of most of the content in the section: @A.S. Brown: for any possible clarification on what was written. Thanks. menaechmi (talk) 15:45, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

The article is a gross misrepresentation of Scott's work. To cite every misrepresentation would be to go through every line in it. The characterization of Foucault as saying all truth is relative is wrong--it ignores the nuance of his work. Scott does not say that all white men have imposed inequality on women. If there is a way to edit every line of it, I will do that. But this is really embarrassing for anyone who knows her work. It would receive a failing grade in any serious feminist history/philosophy/theory class. How do we make those corrections? There's nothing wrong with citing controversy, but that's not the issue. The issue is how the controversy is represented and, again, what was there does a disservice to both Scott and her critics.Feministprofessor (talk) 15:42, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Dear Feminist professor, your vituperative tone and accusations of bad faith are not conductive for a discussion, but I do will my best to be polite. First off, there is an ad hominem quality here. The line that you deleted: "Citing Foucault, she adopted his definition of "knowledge" as "the understanding produced by cultures and societies of human relationships" and that such "knowledge" was "not absolute or true, but always relative", is from The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, which I believe qualifies as a RS. You are supposed to follow the source says. You keep going on about my supposed "ideological" agenda (just what is my ideology by the way, since you profess to be an expert on that subject?), but you don't cite any sources. That's not the way things work around here. If what Louise Ainsley Jackson wrote in The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing is wrong as you claim, then it is up to you to find a RS saying that. This is not fair. I always used good RS when I edit articles and there are always people who keep deleting everything I write, saying without citing any sources, that it is all wrong, which is highly annoying to say the least. To take an excellent example; almost everything I write about the Treaty of Versailles did not cause Nazi Germany; that the Treaty of Versailles was not a vindictive "Carthaginian peace" imposed by France, and that anyhow Britain and the United States were just as much responsible for Versailles as France; and that German military leaders like Hindenburg, Schleicher and Seeckt were intent upon starting another world war, gets deleted by people citing no sources, who say that everything write that is properly cited is all wrong. Apparently, quite few editors around here don't like to have their prejudices challenged. Sigh.

Getting back to the topic on hand, for what it is worth, I believe what I wrote, using Jackson as my source, is a correct summary of Foucault. It is my understanding to briefly summarize Foucault's theories that there are "discourses" which reflect the dominant ideology of an age; that history is divided into several épistèmes which are largely discontinuous, and each which had its own "discourse"; that "knowledge" is merely a form of power which reflects the dominant ideology of each épistème; that the Enlightenment was not a liberation, but merely another form of of oppressive "knowledge" that marginalizes certain people; and that essentially history is a Nietzschen struggle for control of the human body. Foucault's idea of the Enlightenment as a form of "knowledge" that oppresses outsiders in the West like homosexuals explains why Foucalt went to Iran to supported the Islamic revolution of 1978-79 in that country as an anti-Enlightenment project as the Iranian people were rejecting the West and its values, through he changed his mind about that after the Ayatollah Khomeini started hanging homosexuals. The last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was trying to modernize Iran, was remarkably tolerant of gay people, and his best friend Ernest Perron was gay, but Foucault was against the Shah for trying to Westernize Iran. Foucault much preferred that man of "great spirituality" (his term, not mine), the staunchly anti-Western Ayatollah Khomeini, until he figured out that the Ayatollah Khomeini thought that people like him deserved to hang. It seems a bit odd that Foucault should be against Mohammad Reza since the last Shah of Iran was a great Francophile who spoke considerably better French than he ever did Farsi (which he was notorious for mangling), and who often spoke of his desire to have Iran become a country like France, but then again, Foucalt was very much against many aspects of French life, and condemned the French Enlightenment as a form of oppression, so maybe it makes sense that Foucault should hate the Francophile Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. I could say something really nasty here about this, but I'll be civil here. I just finished reading the book The Shah by Abbas Milani (which is a great book by the way), who does not have anything nice to say about Foucault or his involvement in the Iranian Revolution, so I will refer the reader to Mr. Milani's book. Quite a number of scholars have linked Foucault's theories about all history as being all power and control over the human body to his obsession with sado-masochistic sex, but that is something that I am not going to get into. For Foucault, "knowledge" is for him and his followers are a merely a form of power that is always "relative", since for him, "knowledge" is there to serve whatever happens to be the dominant ideology of each épistème. I never wrote anything about "Foucault as saying all truth is relative", so please do not put words in my mouth. What Foucault said was all "knowledge" is relative. It should be noted that Foucault as usual used words in very idiosyncratic ways, and he used the words "knowledge" and "archaeology" in a way that many find eccentric, but that is an another matter. But it is interesting that you are French, claim to be a professor and an expert on Foucault, yet seem unfamiliar with Foucault's 1969 book L'archéologie du savoir, where he first offered up his own definitions of "knowledge" and "archaeology".

Again, you are correct that "Scott does not say that all white men have imposed inequality on women", but I don't recall ever writing that, and just checking past versions of this article, supports my memory. I have often said that happened in the past happened, but what changes is the memory of the past. In saying this, I do believe that the majority of historians would agree with this assessment. What I wrote was that Scott believes that the memory of the past is preserved in such a way that privileges the deeds and thoughts of white men, which again, is a correct summary of her views. Scott herself wrote that she believed that many historians were obsessed with: "a single prototypical figure represented in the historical subject: white, Western man". She wrote that, not me. So how exactly did I distort Scott's views? It is interesting that you converted that into "all white men have imposed inequality on women". You sound rather threatened here. This sounds like the sort of thing that a white man who is confronted with Scott's work would say. There is a book about how Asians, especially Asian women, have been portrayed in Western plays called National Abjection by Karen Shimakawa, where she argues that there is a history of racism and sexism, and devotes an entire chapter to the musical Miss Saigon in support of her thesis. Dr. Shimakawa is an American of Japanese descent as one might gather by her surname, which is neither here nor there, but one reviewer of her book, a Belgian man who was evidently threatened by her thesis, made the absurd allegation that Shimakawa wanted to "exterminate" all white people. I have read her book, and I assure you that this gentleman is completely wrong here, but I found it interesting that was his reaction. You have not gone as far as the gentleman from Brussels, but you remind me of him. You profess to be a partisan of Scott, concerned with presenting an accurate summary of her views and deleting what you call "inaccuracies", but so far, I have not seen the slightest indication that you familiar with her work and views. It is also interesting that you want to savage this article, cutting it back to a mere stub, claiming that the whole article is "inaccurate" and are content to leave it like that, instead of writing an "accurate" summary of her views, which is the subject that so concerns you. For someone who is only concerned with this one article out of the 5, 452, 722 articles in the entire encyclopedia, and professes to an expert on Scott's work, I find that very revealing that you seem to be unable to contribute anything positive to the article. So far, only you all have done is just delete vast sections of text that is properly cited, claiming it is all "inaccurate" while citing no sources at all. And for what it worth, Scott herself has apparently edited this article from time to time; at any rate, an IP from New Jersey who claims to be her edits this article from time to time, and so far, this IP did not feel the need to complain about how I "distorted" her work. So I do not understand your professed plus royaliste que le roi approach. And why do you delete the statement that Scott's father was fired from his job at a radio station during the Red Scare in the early 1950s? That is a very well established fact, and Scott has written about how her father inspired her to stick with her views. How is that "inaccurate"? You have accused me with no evidence of having an ideological bias against Scott. People often project what they are doing onto others, and the fact that you did not want readers to know that her father was fired during the Red Scare makes one wonder about what is your ideological bias.

Finally, the entire section about Scott and the controversy of Islamic head-scarves in France, keeps getting deleted over and over again, with editors, all saying that this is all wrong, without citing any sources as usual. This seems to be what is getting everybody angry here, as that section has to be least 6 times since April. I suspect that this would happen, as that is a really controversial subject, through I am surprised that it is a group of self-professed feminists who doing the deletion. This is a controversial subject and Scott, a Francophile American historian, has written about it quite a bit, so I thought it would be doing readers a service who wanted to know about Scott's views on this issue. This is especially the case as there was nothing here on the subject. I used Scott's own 2007 book The Politics of the Veil as a source. I don't understand what I have "misrepresented" here, but judging that IPs who keep deleting this section come from an university in Bordeaux (you are, are you not?), Scott's claim that the law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools is a racist law might had struck a nerve in some quarters in France. Note that I did not say that the law banning head-scarves was racist as I keep my opinions out of the articles I edit. That is Scott's view, which is relevant. And since you are so bothered about the "inaccuracy" that Scott believes that anti-Muslim racism is rampant in France, why don't you try to actually read The Politics of the Veil? On page 43 of The Politics of the Veil dealing with Scott's first time with living in France, she wrote "Day after day as I sat in the office turning the pages of old record books, I witnessed classic expressions of petty racism". And on page 89 of the same book, Scott wrote: "I have argued in this chapter that the veil in French republican discourse is understood in racist terms, whether it connotes excessive sexuality or a denial of sexuality, whether it is worn as an expression of personal religious commitment or a sign of political opposition". There is in a fact an entire chapter in that book whose title is "Racism". So how is the section dealing with the debate about head scarves in France full of "inaccuracies". Again, you sound like a Frenchman who is very threatened by what she has to say, which strikes me as a sign that she might actually be right.

Since you are French, so you must know that what Scott has to say about there being no plural identities in France is true. In the United States, you can be Polish-American, Chinese-American, Irish-American, Egyptian-American, and so on, but that is not the model in France. In France, you are either French or you are not. The idea of being Franco-Polish, Sino-French, Franco-Irish, Franco-Egyptian and so on is something that the republic rejects. The idea in France is that if you immigrate to France, you erase whatever was your previous identity and become 100% French. French culture is to be open to all who are willing to embrace it, but to become French, you have to erase whatever was your previous culture as dual identities are not considered acceptable in France. According to the republic, you can not be 50% French as plural identities are not encouraged in France. Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day every March as a way of affirming pride in their Irish heritage; it would be inconceivable in France for the descendants of the "Wild Geese" who settled in France in the 17th and 18th centuries to have a St. Patrick's Day parade because in France dual identities are considered unacceptable. Which is why French census forms do not ask questions about race, religion and ethnicity as American census forms do as the idea in France is that everybody in France is 100% French. This is why nobody knows for certain just how many Muslims there are in France because the census forms do not questions about religion, but most experts guess that about 11% of the French population are Muslims, mostly immigrants from the Maghreb or their descendants. These are all very well established facts, and I did not understand your claim this is "inaccurate". Scott argues in her book The Politics of the Veil that France might benefit from adopting American style multiculturalism as a better way of dealing with the Muslim minority, as she believes that the demand that one erase one's previous identity to become French imposes too much sacrifice on immigrants from the Maghreb, who are not willing to completely erase their own culture to be French. One may agree or disagree with this, but do not delete this under the spurious grounds that does not reflect Scott's views, because this is Scott's view. Just what are Scott's views by the way? You keep ranting about how what I have written does not reflect Scott's at all, but so far, I have seen the slightest attempt on your part to explain just what precisely are Scott's views. Since are you the self-proclaimed Scott expert, who knows what are her "true views" are without everybody else is clueless about this matter, so why don't you try to explain to the world what are are Scott's views rather than deleting my work all the time.

To be fair, I also added in a section relating to critical reviews of The Politics of the Veil, which again was deleted because of "gross inaccuracies"-since this appears to be the only article in the entire encyclopedia that interests you, and the reviews I cited were all on-line sources, why don't you edit that section instead of just deleting it, and getting all self-righteous in the process? To take only one example, I wrote last year: "Reviewing The Politics of the Veil, the French political scientist Cécile Laborde praised the book as one of the best in English about the affaire du foulard of 2004 that saw the headscarves banned in lycées, praising Scott for her "remarkable understanding of the complex layers of French political discourse" and taking the "discourse of French republicanism – its commitment to individualism, secularism, immigrant integration, gender equality – seriously, and brilliantly demonstrates how the wearing of the hijab at school was so problematic in France because it was interpreted as a threat to a cluster of core ‘national’ values"". It you had taken the time to read the link I cited, which you can do here Review of The Politics of the Veil, you will see that is a correct summary. So what is the "inaccuracy" here? Since you deleted that section as full of "gross inaccuracies" without citing any source saying so, but left the rest of my work here intact, it seems to me that is what is bothering you. It is interesting that you first took out the section relating to debate in France about Muslim head-scarves that you gave as your reason that: "This work by Scott is not paramount to the ordinary reader when looking up Joan Wallach Scott". Nothing here about any supposed "inaccuracies". I am going to revert what you have done here. Please discuss what you feel is inaccurate here, and do not engage in edit warring. If I made any mistakes, I am open to have them corrected. But again, please discuss and try to be civil. Good day. --A.S. Brown (talk) 21:14, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Ok, I have left this page alone for four days. I am going to restore all the material I wrote last year as I explained why I feel it should be in this article, because it is a fact a correct summary of Scott's views, through some beg to disagree. So far, nobody has posted any objections to my remarks. If somebody feels that it does not belong, please join this discussion.--A.S. Brown (talk) 06:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

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