Nya professorer

Cover image and text

Uppsala university recently published this Festschrift that lists all newly installed professors. As cover they chose an image that made me stop short: a single male surrounded by a flock of females. Not exactly what one would expect in usually quite gender-aware Swedish academia. It gets worse once you read the description that enlightens us that there is indeed only one professor in the picture, the man. And that the others are a "group of women from the Orient". Oh, dear!

However, I think there is a way to read all this sympathetically. The caption tells us further that the chaired professorship held by the man in the image is about semitic languages, which explains the connection to "oriental women" shortly after the second world war. Also, this chair is one of the positions newly filled by a women included in the booklet. So, benevolently, the message of the cover image can be read as "Look at how things were a few decades ago, and look inside for how much more equal they are today."

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