Tag Archives: marginalization

Gandhi the Activist, Gandhi the Pacifist

by Anand Venkatkrishnan, ’10

The recent flurry of articles and subsequent commentary on this and other sites about Stanford and South Asia, India and Israel, casteism and nationalism, disrespect and denigration, have made me think about the relationship of these conversations to my own social location as a scholar in the field of religious studies. In one sense, these debates fall along the spectrum of a thematic which we might call “Hinduism and its Culture Wars,” to invoke the title of a recent online essay (and to which I have responded elsewhere). In another sense, they raise larger issues of political commitment, moral self-criticism, and religious sentiment. I want to take a step back and consider these issues with reference to M.K. Gandhi, whose voluminous writings reveal a nexus between religion, politics, and public discourse that frequently confounds the ways we have been conditioned to think about them. Continue reading

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Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14


The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue reading

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STEMarginalized (or Why I’ll Never Take Another Class Outside the Humanities)

by anonymous, ’14

My mother likes to tell the story of how I applied for Stanford as a hardcore biology major with a concentration in genetic engineering, then called her after one quarter to come out as a drama major. For perspective, I’d never been involved in theater in any shape or form before college. For her, this makes an amusing anecdote about the liberalizing/artsy big blue blob that is California. For me, it’s a sobering reminder of just how alienated I felt in the STEM courses I’ve taken at Stanford.

It’s not that the material is too difficult or uninteresting—I was actually really engaged with my biology, physics, and calculus courses in high school, and looked forward to working in labs and doing research when I “grew up.” My shift from STEM is rather due to the different approaches to discussing (or not) marginalized peoples in the humanities and sciences. Whereas most of my Theater and Performance Studies professors (and especially my Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity professors) regularly use examples and materials that validate and explore the experiences of people who aren’t at the top of the privilege food chain, my STEM professors often make me feel angry, invalidated, and anxious. In TAPS and CSRE courses, I can speak to and learn about the lived experiences of people like me (and unlike me!). In STEM courses, data which appear to be objective often show that marginalized groups are inferior to dominant groups, without including a discussion of the systematic challenges that can produce those data. Put another way, we don’t discuss confounders that happened before we began our study.

Let me give you an example from a popular statistics course at Stanford. Continue reading

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