home - login - register

Conference Proceedings Detail Page

Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs
written by Fatima N. Abdurrahman and Alice R. Olmstead
After decades of interest in promoting diversity and inclusion in the field and higher education more broadly, physics and astronomy departments in American universities remain predominantly white and male.  While some STEM fields have made progress in recent years towards correcting the historic overrepresentation of white men, 75% of physics and astronomy PhDs awarded in 2019 went to this demographic that constitutes only 30% of the US population, higher than chemistry, math, computer science, and engineering (NSF, 2019). This work seeks to understand the barriers to creating a more diverse field by examining how its cultural beliefs can work to maintain inequity in graduate programs.

In this paper, we present a subset of the results from a larger study which used the lived experiences of 12 female and gender-non conforming students of color to understand how physics and astronomy graduate programs in American predominantly white institutions maintain equity gaps between majoritized and minoritized students.  This paper focuses on the theme of equity work in departments, and how it relates to a foundational cultural belief in Western physics and astronomy: that physicists comprise an objective, cultureless, and apolitical community, impervious to social influence (Traweek, 1988).  By contextualizing participants' observations of attitudes, policies, and behaviors with the literature, we attempt to demonstrate a how departments can systematically prevent the advancement of equity goals, and subsequently, create negative outcomes for minoritized students. We emphasize the design of program structures as a critical point of intervention, and conclude the work with recommendations based on participant input.
Physics Education Research Conference 2021
Part of the PER Conference series
Virtual Conference: August 4-5, 2021
Pages 15-20
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Astronomy Education
= Education Research
Education - Applied Research
- Careers
Education - Basic Research
- Sample Population
= Ethnicity or Race
= Gender
- Societal Issues
= Cultural Issues
- Student Characteristics
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Administrators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Researchers
  • Currently 0.0/5

Want to rate this material?
Login here!


Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2021…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2021.pr.Abdurrahman
Keyword:
PERC 2021
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 28, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 28, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 10, 2021
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
F. Abdurrahman and A. Olmstead, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452).
AJP/PRST-PER
F. Abdurrahman and A. Olmstead, Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452>.
APA Format
Abdurrahman, F., & Olmstead, A. (2021, August 4-5). Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452
Chicago Format
Abdurrahman, Fatima N., and Alice R. Olmstead. "Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, August 4-5, 2021. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452 (accessed 27 June 2022).
MLA Format
Abdurrahman, Fatima N., and Alice R. Olmstead. "Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs." Physics Education Research Conference 2021. Virtual Conference: 2021. 15-20 of PER Conference. 27 June 2022 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Fatima N. Abdurrahman and Alice R. Olmstead", Title = {Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2021}, Pages = {15-20}, Address = {Virtual Conference}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 4-5}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Fatima N. Abdurrahman %A Alice R. Olmstead %T Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs %S PER Conference %D August 4-5 2021 %P 15-20 %C Virtual Conference %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %O August 4-5 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Abdurrahman, Fatima N. %A Olmstead, Alice R. %D August 4-5 2021 %T Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs %B Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %C Virtual Conference %P 15-20 %S PER Conference %8 August 4-5 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15718&DocID=5452


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

Objectivity, culturelessness, and apoliticism: how cultural beliefs prevent the advancement of equity in astronomy graduate programs:


Know of another related resource? Login to relate this resource to it.
Save to my folders

Contribute

Related Materials

Similar Materials