Weekly Roundup and the Harassment of Professor Kathleen Stock
Kathleen Stock

Weekly Roundup and the Harassment of Professor Kathleen Stock

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann
5 min read

Before you read this week's articles, I'd like to draw your attention to the distressing harassment that one of our contributors, Kathleen Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, has been subjected to on her campus.

Posters (left) and a protestor (right) at the University of Sussex

Kathleen Stock authored the book Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism and has highlighted the conflict between women's sex-based rights and transgender activism, for which she has been labelled "transphobic," "anti-intellectual," "anti-feminist," "anti-queer," "harmful," and "dangerous." The letter of demands put forward by the students denounces of Stock for her views and demands that she be sacked for them.

Letter of demands from students protesting Professor Kathleen Stock

In July 2019, Stock wrote an essay for Quillette in which she stated "personally I am more than happy to use preferred pronouns for colleagues and students and would consider it rude not to." She has also repeatedly argued that transgender people are deserving of full human rights, freedom from harm, discrimination, and harassment.

She has, however, criticised compelled speech, and the conceptual principles on which compelled pronoun usage rests. She has also criticised the wisdom of letting biological males into spaces hitherto restricted to women only, such as single-sex change rooms and showers. Whether one agrees with her arguments or not, she presents them carefully, reasonably, and with the independence of mind that one would expect from an academic philosopher.

Stonewall’s LGBT Guidance is Limiting the Free Speech of Gender Critical Academics
In 2015, the main trade union for UK academics, the University and College Union (UCU), objected to the government’s newly announced counter-terrorism strategy—specifically, the part concerned with universities’ legal duty to attempt to prevent student radicalisation. A central aspect of UCU’s highl…

Thankfully, the University of Sussex's Vice Chancellor, Adam Tickell has defended Professor Kathleen Stock and her academic freedoms. At Quillette we applaud Tickell for his defence and hope that it serves as a model for other university administrators.  

This attack on Stock is yet another unsettling example of how independent thinkers are subject to intimidation in today's climate. The notion that biological males should not be allowed to enter female-only spaces was a widespread view a mere five years ago. Now, thanks to the speed of cultural transformation driven by social media, activist demands harden into orthodoxies virtually overnight. It takes brave professors of Kathleen Stock's meld to stand up to them, not with force, or retaliatory intimidation, but with argument and deliberation. We owe her a deep gratitude.


Social Media

Podcast #168: Jonathan Haidt on Instagram’s Mental Health Emergency
Quillette podcast host Jonathan Kay speaks with NYU professor and Coddling of the American Mind Co-Author Jonathan Haidt about the emotionally destructive effect of social media on many young users.
Instagram’s Mental Health Emergency
Facebook has recently paused the development of their “Instagram Kids” project after a whistleblower leaked internal documents showing that Facebook’s own research finds a link between poor mental health and Instagram use. “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said a slide i…

Art and Letters

Cancelling the Beat Generation
Almost from its inception, the Beat Generation seemed to be doomed to failure. In and around Columbia University, a ragtag group of bohemians coalesced based upon an odd array of mutual interests. Two of them were homosexuals, one bisexual, and all were interested in drugs and subversive literature.…
Guns, Germs, and Steel is a Powerful Anti-Racist Book. So Why Doesn’t the Left Love It?
It has been 30 years since the publication of Jared Diamond’s first book, The Third Chimpanzee, and it has survived the test of time well. It examines the evolutionary foundations of human behaviours, and, in particular, looks at the differing behaviours of the sexes. In passing, while considering h…
Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache: Quebec’s Too-Perfect Police Officer
My introduction to Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny came through a friend who’d urged me to hate-read Bury Your Dead—a 2010 novel that was so bad, he told me, it had ended up as kindling in his wood stove. Yet not only did my own copy escape the
Rocker Crocked. Pistol Shot.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.The paths of glory lead but to the grave. ~Thomas Gray, Elegy written in an English Country Churchyard. I shouldn’t overstretch this frame—or shoe-horn the bunion-disfigured

Science and Bioethics

Biology Won’t Solve Your Problems with Abortion
I’m a biologist. A neuroscientist, actually. Since I received my PhD in Biological Psychology from the University of Chicago, I’ve spent more than a couple of decades as a professor and scientist in both Psychology and Biology departments, and I’ve written a bit about the history and
Vaccinology, Immunology, and COVID-19
Louis Pasteur worked at a time when very little was understood about microbes and even less was understood about the human responses that kept them at bay. He is best known for advancing germ theory, which distinguished itself from the prevailing concept of “miasma” or putrefaction suffusing the eth…

Education

What Is Diversity? And Why Is It Valuable?
Suppose I just get back from vacation, and you ask me how it went. “Oh, it was wonderful,” I say, “There was such diversity.” That wouldn’t answer your question at all. Instead, you’d want to know two things: Diversity of what? And why would that sort of diversity

Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette.