What do you mean your wife won’t take care of them?

by Kieran Healy on April 10, 2010

Feminist Philosophers reports on some egregious behavior under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities:

a good friend of mine (a tenured philosophy professor in the states) was just accepted to an NEH summer seminar in [European city]. She’s a single mom and, obviously, wants to bring her son along. But, she says, she “has just been given 12 hours to “demonstrate” that she has full-time childcare arrangements for her son for the month of July that “are to the [completely unspecified] satisfaction” of the Institute directors; if she fails to meet this requirement, she has been told her accceptance in the program will be withdrawn. She was notified of said acceptance on Monday.”

The mind boggles. Then again, I’ve always thought it a very fortunate accident of nature that men are never in a position where they are responsible for offspring genetically related to themselves. (Is there even a word for that?). If they were, it would really be impossible to have a proper career.

Update: Edited to clarify the role of the NEH (as funder, not organizer). And just to be clear, I don’t have any inside knowledge on this incident beyond the post quoted above. As I say in comments below, perhaps some further details will emerge that make the whole thing an unfortunate misunderstanding or otherwise resolve things. We’ll see, I guess.