No, not those fringe elements. The other ones, the ones that are taken seriously within the academy, by which we mean feminists.
One day professors of gender theory and critical studies will critically study discourses for implicit and explicit values and elitist norms and determine quantitatively that the stance and interdiscursivity of the syllabus descriptions do not privilege masculinist values; but that day is not this day.
Evidence presented by the prosecution:
1. Ståhl, Marie and Anita Hussénius. "Chemistry inside an epistemological community box! Discursive exclusions and inclusions in Swedish National tests in Chemistry." Cultural Studies of Science Education (2016) pp. 1-29.
Abstract: This study examined the Swedish national tests in chemistry for implicit and explicit values. The chemistry subject is understudied compared to biology and physics and students view chemistry as their least interesting science subject. The Swedish national science assessments aim to support equitable and fair evaluation of students, to concretize the goals in the chemistry syllabus and to increase student achievement. Discourse and multimodal analyses, based on feminist and critical didactic theories, were used to examine the test’s norms and values. The results revealed that the chemistry discourse presented in the tests showed a traditional view of science from the topics discussed (for example, oil and metal), in the way women, men and youth are portrayed, and how their science interests are highlighted or neglected. An elitist view of science emerges from the test, with distinct gender and age biases. Students could interpret these biases as a message that only “the right type” of person may come into the chemistry epistemological community, that is, into this special sociocultural group that harbours a common view about this knowledge. This perspective may have an impact on students’ achievement and thereby prevent support for an equitable and fair evaluation. Understanding the underlying evaluative meanings that come with science teaching is a question of democracy since it may affect students’ feelings of inclusion or exclusion. The norms and values harboured in the tests will also affect teaching since the teachers are given examples of how the goals in the syllabus can be concretized.
2. Parson, Laura. (2016). "Are STEM Syllabi Gendered? A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis." The Qualitative Report, 21 (1), 102-116.
Abstract: This study explored the gendered nature of STEM higher education institution through a feminist critical discourse analysis of STEM course syllabi from a Midwest research university. I explored STEM syllabi to understand how linguistic features such as stance and interdiscursivity are used in the syllabus and how language and discourses used in the syllabus replicate the masculine nature of STEM education. Findings suggest that the discourses identified in the syllabi reinforce traditional STEM academic roles, and that power and gender in the STEM syllabi are revealed through exploration of the themes of knowledge, learning, and the teaching and learning environment created by the language used in the syllabus. These findings inform and extend understanding of the STEM syllabus and the STEM higher education institution and lead to recommendations about how to make the STEM syllabus more inclusive for women.
Fortunately, discourse analysis and multimodal analysis "based on feminist and critical didactic theories" were used. Presumably, these were calibrated to the relevant ISO standards prior to the analyses.
Parson in the second reference also used "discourse analysis," which appears to mean counting whether and how often certain words were used in the course syllabus descriptions. Apparently, some people pay attention to these things. Technical-sounding terms like "stance" and "interdiscursivity" are used to give it all a patina of objectivity, due to the curse of scientism infecting all of post-modernity. TOF is not sure what "findings" means when one always finds what one sets out to find a priori. In technical fields one sometimes discovers surprises, and this may form a sort of disconnect for those who regard such things as a form of false consciousness or even oppression.
|Example of discourse analysis
Notes for the perplexed. The paper defines the term: "interdiscursivity is the use of elements in a text that carry institutional and social meaning from other discourses (Afros & Schryer, 2009). Syllabi reflect the conventions, values and practices of neighboring discourses and communities that are identifiable, in part, through content-specific terminology (Afros & Schryer, 2009). Specifically, the discourses that syllabi refer to are college teaching (e.g., learning objectives) and discipline-specific languages/terminology (Afros & Schryer, 2009). Connecting to larger discourses about STEM education and teaching is often accomplished through interdiscursivity." Now you know all that TOF knows about interdiscursivity, which seems to be a fancy, pseudotechnical term for using common words like "learning objectives." TOF also does not know why the same reference text was mentioned three times in the same definition, but without page references.