New Republic’s Ivory Tower: Extra Phallic!

Yesterday, The New Republic introduced its readers to The Open University, its “first-of-its-kind blog, featuring America’s top academics on today’s top stories.” As promised, there are lots of big-name professor types–the University of Chicago’s Cass Sunstein, Harvard’s Steven Pinker–and they’ve already taken on such weighty topics as “ideological amplification” and the demise of the HBO series “Deadwood.”

Also among the contributors is deposed Harvard president Lawrence Summers, who ran afoul of female academics by speculating that women might be underrepresented in the science departments because of their inherent limitations. And it looks like the laboratory isn’t the only place where the fairer sex isn’t pulling its weight: A quick count of the 20 contributors turns up 17 men and 3 women: Harvard Professor Elisa New, Princeton Professor Christine Stansell, and Manhattan Institute Fellow Abigail Thernstrom.

Asked how TNR’s newest blog wound up looking so old-school, the publication’s online managing editor Adam Kushner said the magazine had tried to court more lady contributors.

“We did invite quite a number of women professors and some of them turned us down,” he said. “The original conceit of the plan was roughly 50-50. I think we cast a lot of invitations all over the place.

“So we’re not happy with the balance right now, and we’ve already been looking to improve, and we hope to improve,” he said.

-Lizzy Ratner