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Domesticity Afoot in the Barnard Philosophy Department

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, 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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  • loop says:

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

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I still refer to Home Comforts and its sequel, Laundry. I enjoyed her novels, which were actually quite thoughtful. I’m a university graduate who happens to love baking breads.

  • Emma Winter says:

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

  • check that track says:

    @check that track monopoly on them favorites

  • DHI says:

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

    Laundry is the washing of clothes.

  • yeah... says:

    @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.

  • the above says:

    @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.

  • dddd says:

    @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).

    1. EAL says:

      @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.

      1. Sprinkles says:

        @Sprinkles COME ON YOU SPURS

    2. DHI says:

      @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.

  • Sprinkles says:

    @Sprinkles …And Jill Muller didn’t get her contract renewed?

    This is crazy.

  • barnard says:

    @barnard this is so barnard

  • just checking in says:

    @just checking in posting from butler for the first time in a month. it’s much quieter now.

  • wifey says:

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

  • Yeah, says:

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

    1. sgsdglkjkl says:

      @sgsdglkjkl get your story straight. first you say her book is good, but then you compare her to jane austen

      1. hmmm says:

        @hmmm haha, that’s a win.

        1. DHI says:

          @DHI From beyond the grave

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 i read her novel! when i was in the last year of HS and wanted to know what columbia would be like

  • This says:

    @This is a proud day for strong Barnard women.

  • This says:

    @This is too good to be true. HAHAHA.

  • Batman says:

    @Batman Niceys!

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