Prof. Hooven hopes Summers keeps talking.
Amid outcries of dissent, University President Lawrence H. Summers has found a fan in Lecturer on Anthropology Carole K. Hooven. A bio-anthro professor and—get this—a woman, Hooven’s support of Summer’s inflamatory comments about women in science stand in opposition to many of her colleagues in her outspoken department. And Hooven, whose class Anthropology 1365, “Sex Differences in Humans” couldn’t be timelier, is pretty well-educated on the subject.
Is she vying for tenure? Attempting to become the president of the Larry Summers Fan Club? Or does she actually agree with the prez?
“I am extremely supportive of attempts to generate discussion on the underrepresentation of women in any field of study,” Hooven explains, choosing her words carefully. “We must explore all reasonable hypotheses, whether they refer to biological or cultural theories.”
Hooven first became interested in sex differences through her study of chimpanzees in Uganda. Her interest in the topic prompted her to write Summers a personal letter of support.
“It is risky for him,” she says. “I applaud his courage.”
Unfortunately for Summers, not all are applauding. But Hooven thinks that may be because they don’t want to listen to the truth he speaks.
“We tend to put blinders on to science when the explanations for behavior or social problems are distasteful or difficult,” she says. “There are many lines of research that suggest that biology plays a role in the modulation of sex differences in behavior and perhaps cognition.”
Hooven hopes that the controversy will result in more research, proving or disproving Summers’ remarks. “Challenge his scientific claims,” she says. “Don’t criticize him for bad breath.”
Spoken like a true fan.