This essay analyzes the transcript of Lawrence Summers' remarks to the January 14 Conference on Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce. The purpose of a close textual analysis is to develop understanding of the firestorm unleashed by Summers' remarks. Which aspects of his remarks were so incendiary and what can be learned from them? In particular, the essay explores possible sources of Summers' stated hypotheses about gender differences that contribute to women's underrepresentation in certain fields. It also explores the material consequences of these hypotheses in women's lives to highlight the interconnection between such beliefs and discriminatory behavior. The overall goal of this analysis is to contribute to a broader and deeper understanding of the relationships between gender, culture, and work and to promote a responsible approach to both diversity discourse and diversity itself.
Phyllis Goldfarb. "Summers of Our Discontent." Cardozo Women's Law Journal 11, (2005): 569-576.