Domesticity Afoot in the Barnard Philosophy Department

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When we posted an update about all the new professorial friends you’ll be making (and losing) next year, we weren’t aware that we had made a grave and conspicuous omission. One recent grad informed us that Cheryl Mendelson, wife of Edward Mendelson, is filling in as “Term Associate Professor” in the Barnard Philosophy Department next semester. Cheryl Mendelson is also the author of such fine books as Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House and Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens, which are 884 and 400 pages, respectively.

Oh, dear.

According to scholarly database Amazon.com, Mendelson has also dabbled in fiction, namely a book called  Morningside Heights: A Novel, which Publisher’s Weekly described as a “talky, occasionally stilted debut.” Apparently, it’s about an opera singer and his wife, who turns “domesticity into a deeply creative act” — kind of like Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House and Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens. (From Home Comforts: “Until now, I have almost entirely concealed this passion for domesticity.  No one meeting me for the first time would suspect that I squander my time knitting or my mental reserves remembering household facts such as the date when the carpets and mattresses were last rotated.  Without thinking much about it, I knew I would not want this information about me to get around.”)

Anyway, Mendelson will be teaching two classes in the fall: Mind and Morals and What is Philosophy? 

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  1. This

    is too good to be true. HAHAHA.

  2. This

    is a proud day for strong Barnard women.

  3. cc2011  

    i read her novel! when i was in the last year of HS and wanted to know what columbia would be like

  4. Yeah,  

    her novel was perfectly charming and a good roman a clef about morningside heights. jane austen on the uws

  5. wifey

    good, now maybe some barnard girls will learn how to cook.

  6. just checking in  

    posting from butler for the first time in a month. it's much quieter now.

  7. barnard  

    this is so barnard

  8. Sprinkles

    ...And Jill Muller didn't get her contract renewed?

    This is crazy.

  9. dddd

    Check here wikipedia. She has a philosophy PhD and a Harvard JD. She's published philosophy articles and written three published novel. So if we're judging on the lines of someone's CV (a crude way to judge) I think she sounds like a pretty good person to teach intro to philosophy at a liberal arts school.

    (Imagine a male PhD with a Harvard JD and previous appointments at Purdue and Columbia in philosophy had written a couple of books about baseball. I doubt this would be worthy of a blog post like this one. See, e.g., SJ Gould or Gulati's obsession with soccer).

    • EAL

      If you're talking about professors who love the beautiful game, you mustn't forget Barca's #1 fan at Columbia, the redoubtable Xavier Sala-i-Martin.

      I also believe Mancunian history professor Emma Winter is a supporter of Manchester City.

    • DHI

      What's funny about your implied charges of sexism is that you're also implying sports are in the male realm, and laundry is in the female realm.

      But yes, nobody makes fun of George Will for writing excellent books about baseball, nor would people deny Shirley Povich was a great journalist. But that's because sports are inherently more interesting than laundry.

  10. the above

    is definitely a barnard girl...relax, laugh a little. no need to get all defensive, i'm sure laundry can be just as fascinating as managing a first class soccer team.

  11. yeah...

    but she still wrote books about laundry. Washing dirty clothing != sports. Writing 400 pages about washing dirty clothing != preparing to teach philosophy.

    To be fair, this proves she's not myopic about her pursuit of her academic field, which is like a professor with a love of sports. Laundry is not exactly dynamic though.

  12. DHI

    Sports are an observable and distilled form of competition between humans being performed at an elite level.

    Laundry is the washing of clothes.

  13. check that track

    monopoly on them favorites

  14. Emma Winter  

    Do not take her class. She is a City fan. City fans have no brains.

  15. loop

    Come on, we all know that she's not simply talking about cleaning clothes. Finding comfort in the domestic sphere is plausible.

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