Siri hustvedt on the tangled gender roles in science and literature best exchange rate for usd to inr


“Every person on earth is both a beneficiary and a victim of scientific invention,” Siri Hustvedt writes in her new essay collection, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women. It’s an uncontroversial statement, almost prosaic in its obviousness. But, she continues, “reading history, philosophy, poetry and novels or looking at works of visual art or listening to music” are equally life-changing acts. “Although such changes may be less tangible, it does not render them less real or somehow inferior to the effects of technology.”

In fact, she contends, the divide between science and art, math and literature, is largely a specious one. In collecting essays about painting, dance, and novels in the same work as pieces about neuroscience, physics, and physiology, she offers an example of how the disciplines might not just coexist, but how that coexistence is essential to our understanding of how we learn and what we think.

SIGNATURE: You begin the book referencing English novelist CP Snow’s contention that there is a gulf between our two dominant cultures – the ‘soft’ culture of the humanities, and the ‘hard’ culture of the sciences. You write that in “the last decade or so, I have repeatedly found myself standing at the bottom of Snow’s gulf, shouting up to the persons gathered on either side of it.” When did you first get the idea for this collection of essays attempting to bridge that gulf? Did you know, as you were writing some of these individual pieces, that they were speaking to that larger idea?

SIRI HUSTVEDT: For many years, I have found myself awed by how difficult it can be for people in the sciences to have a productive dialogue with people in the arts and the humanities and vice versa. It is as if they have no common language 40 usd. Specialization has long been with us, but since the Second World War, disciplinary isolation has only become more acute. There are many reasons for this tunnel vision, but I firmly believe that it has hurt our cultural discourse as a whole. The essays in the book were all written over a four-year period, and I was fully conscious of what I regard as something of a mission: to demonstrate that tunnel vision in individual fields creates dead ends. In the sciences hypotheses can turn into dogmas gender roles essay. In the humanities, a theory or cluster of theories can become so dominant, few question it anymore. By applying multiple models or frames to the same problem, at least some of those wrong turns that run into walls can be prevented.

The book’s central essay, “The Delusions of Certainty” treats the intractable mind/body problem from multiple perspectives. I wanted to interrogate certain assumptions about the mind and the body that seem to me to be demonstrably wrong or at least highly problematic usd to thb chart. I wrote as lucidly as possible for an intelligent reader, but not one who is steeped in the various fields I discuss. The last section of the book is made up of lectures I gave at various conferences in the US and in Europe that draw from sources in both the sciences and the humanities. The truth is I was asked to speak at these conferences (in neuroethics, neurophysiology, psychoanalysis and philosophy) because my knowledge crosses the usual disciplinary borders. In short, I did not “get” the idea for this book at any particular moment; the book represents my ongoing intellectual concerns, concerns that are “to be continued…”

SIG: You explore not just the idea of a perceived chasm between arts and sciences, but also between men and women working in these fields: “A woman physicist, for example, is masculinized by her choice of work, while a male novelist is necessarily feminized by his.” You have written portions of your novels from a male perspective, but have you ever tried to publish a paper or novel using a male pseudonym? I’m curious how the act of creation might be altered by knowing the product was going to be received with the perception it was produced by a man.

SH: I have never written under a male pseudonym, although I have certainly been tempted by the thought of doing so. When I was young, I had the experience of receiving responses to my work (both rejection and acceptance letters) from editors who believed I was a man: Mr. Hustvedt. Before the iPhone, “Siri” was not instantly recognizable as a woman’s name. The tone of the letters addressed to the male Siri Hustvedt was strikingly different from the tone of those addressed to the female Siri Hustvedt. The respect and seriousness granted me as a man was frankly astounding msn news headlines. I confess I felt rather shocked by the difference, and I have never forgotten it.

Human beings are prone to dividing the world in two and creating gender identifications for all sorts of things that are inherently neither male nor female. Perception, as I repeatedly emphasize in the book, is a creative, not a passive act, and it is founded on prior experiences that shape our expectations. How we perceive sexual difference is deeply part of those biased expectations. The masculine enhancement effect is at work all the time, as is the feminine denigration effect. My most recent novel, The Blazing World, treated this theme explicitly online binary converter. A woman artist shows her work behind three living male masks.

SIG: You interweave anecdotes about your daughter, Sophie, with your ideas about art, neuroscience, and gender – I’m curious how Sophie’s experience as a young woman in the world reflects or contradicts your own experience, and also how it may have informed these essays – in other words, are things getting better?

SH: My daughter, Sophie, is a singer-song writer. I am a great admirer of her work and her artistic ambition. And, yes, things have changed. My daughter and her friends (all middle or upper middle class, it must be said) have a greater sense of freedom than my generation did. They grew up knowing that they would work outside their homes. I was born in 1955, and as a child, almost all the women in my life were housewives whose choices had been extremely limited 99 usd to euro. And, no, in other ways, things have not changed. Women are still punished for aggressively pursuing power in ways that men are not. The recent election has made that sadly obvious. Condescension toward women is miserably common. Anger in a woman is not tolerated. The beauty-image culture seems only more pernicious. Progress is a relatively recent idea, by the way. The notion that the world gets better and better is a positivist fantasy. Some things improve; other things get worse usd law school ranking. If women’s rights aren’t protected, we will slide backward swiftly.

SIG: You take on two very popular writers: the psychologist Steven Pinker and the novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard, pointing out sexist assumptions underlying both of their work. Pinker’s insistence on biological difference between the sexes suggests that women are inherently less suited to physics and math, while Knausgaard’s contention that he only considers one female novelist worthy of competition implies that men are more literary than women usd to kes exchange rate today. Since you work in both areas, do you find it more difficult to challenge sexist stereotypes and assumptions in the world of fiction or of science?

SH: You are right that I believe both Steven Pinker and Karl Ove Knausgaard are hampered by their sexism, but I do not think they should be lumped into the same category. Knausgaard’s multi-volume autobiographical novel, which I admire and say so loudly and clearly in my essay, is an outpouring of unedited angst about emasculation (among many other things) that reveals a lot about how heterosexual masculinity is constituted in contemporary culture. If you don’t prove your manliness over and over again, you risk the horrors of effeminacy, especially if you are an artist, engaged in what is already a suspiciously sensitive, soft activity.

In this context, competition with a woman becomes impossible. No matter how brilliant or accomplished, a woman cannot be a rival if you locate your masculinity in the approving eyes of other men. Although I admire Knausgaard’s honesty and am sympathetic about the perceived humiliations of effeminacy, I am critical of his lack of insight about his own prejudice. (Note: Julia Kristeva, K.O.K’s single womanly exception to the no competition rule has written novels, but she is known as a philosopher and theorist, and I believe she appears in the book because she was wildly popular in Bergen, Norway where Knausgaard was a university student.)

Pinker, on the other hand, is an academic, a representative of a particular position–evolutionary psychology–that I find untenable, not simply because it is sexist, but because it is built on what I regard as intellectually shaky foundations: neo-Darwinism combined with classical computational theory of mind convert usd to idr. His argument that the small numbers of women in physics and mathematics can be partly explained through a natural lack of ability in these fields is rather easily dismantled when examined closely, and I am hardly alone in offering severe criticism of Pinker’s work. What is truly unfortunate is that those critiques seem to have gone unnoticed in the wider culture.

In my own experience, I have found that whatever their initial prejudice might be, once scientists know how much I know about their fields, once they understand that I can talk and argue points with them on equal ground, I have been mostly welcomed as an interesting interlocutor. (It is important also to remember that I am not seeking grants or funding and am literally beholden to no one in that world, and I pose no threat to anyone’s livelihood.) In literature, knowledge is far less important. You can be endlessly erudite without it making you a good fiction writer. Further, in literature, there is no measure for taste, no proof for greatness, no unerring demonstration of the fatal flaw in a novel’s construction, and it is easy to dismiss a writer for the flimsiest of reasons, to spin glib absurdities around what is finally a gut feeling of revulsion, a revulsion that may come down to nothing more than implicit sexual bias or some other irrational feeling.

Sexism is embedded in our perception of the world. Both men and women are afflicted with it. It is alive in the sciences and in the literary arts. Literature, however, labors under a cloud of inferiority in a culture where science has become the arbiter of truth. Poems and novels are often seen as fluffy, soft, imaginary, and feminine in ways physics never is. Add to that the fact that women are the great consumers of fiction, not men, then you have a roiling sea of worry dollar to rupee exchange rate today. Therefore, the desire to make literature serious, to dignify it with tough, masculine traits, with beards and bulging biceps and swagger, becomes all the more important. To a significant degree this has meant championing work written by men or work that connotes masculinity in one way or the other. Although a lot of attention has been paid to sexism in STEM fields, it is no less present in the arts, and it may be that among the so-called literati, the threat of being labeled “girly” and “inferior” is far greater, and sometimes that means the resistance is stronger.

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