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Public intellectuals poll

How did 1,000 voters and the media respond to our poll?

By David Herman   August 2004

There was a noisy response to Prospect’s list of Britain’s top 100 public intellectuals. Two issues attracted the most attention. First, how few women were on Prospect’s original list (12 out of 100). The Guardian women’s page ran its own alternative list of “101 overlooked women intellectuals” and then added another 42 based on readers’ responses. Both lists, however, confused celebrities or well known media personalities with public intellectuals.

The Guardian failed to address the central issue with any rigour: are there fewer women intellectuals than men? If so, why? Why are women public intellectuals, even taking the Guardian list…

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