Posted by: gdevi | October 7, 2011

English 328: 2011 Nobel Peace Prize announced

I was just telling my students yesterday to study the candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

What wonderful news.



  1. Wonderful news, yes. But it actually shows that the Nobel Committee has a problem with women. I’ve been debating this with the Nobel Institute, as covered on

    • Thanks. I read your article, the Nobel Foundation’s reply, and your subsequent posting. What you stress in your second posting–what is the connection between the three women winners this year–you say this was the “core issue” for you — if this was the core issue–such a rhetorical and tendentious emphasis cannot really be inferred from your original article, which addresses many of your complaints with the Nobel prize and the process. I would even guess that this is the reason why the Nobel Foundation did not address this particular question you had. This question did not really take an emphatic center stage in your first article. it is part of a litany of charges against the Foundation.

      Because I do believe that this question is an important question. Why did these three specific women win the prize? I wonder if the Nobel prize nominations are “outsourced” as so many things are these days. That does not minimize the relevance of the nomination or the award. But it does contextualize the winners in a different light that is worthy of analysis and further study.

      Which brings me to my personal response to your article and posts on this topic. I don’t find the Nobel Peace Prize — or any Nobel Prize for that matter — to be the gold standard for any intellectual achievement. While I think the prize money and the publicity are good for the winners, and some of these wins make me personally happy because I respect some of these winners personally–I think it is ritualistic at heart, and thus a social process that is rather mystified. Mystification with money is always a bad thing, as far as I am concerned. Nobel Foundation practicing gender parity will not make me satisfied at all with the status of women in the world at large. It is so inconsequential, almost silly to me. I guess what I am trying to say is that unlike you who appears to value the Nobel Prize as an important index of some sort, and thus appears to feel genuinely troubled by what you see as their gender inequality, i see it only as a money/ PR occasion. It does not trouble me as an ethical problem. Both money and publicity have their relevance, and I hope the winners will put both to good use for the society. But I have never looked towards big international foundations and their decisions for insight into the ethical problems facing serious gender or racial conflicts in our world. There are lots of ordinary people doing all kinds of good work all over the world. Some of them we hear about; some of them we don’t. But they exist and they make life better for a whole lot of people. Nobel Foundation to me is simply a bank; not a place of any kind of “work.” I post these things for my students because they need to know these things. Young people hardly read the news these days. But I wish you good luck with your debate.Thanks. GD.

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