Yesterday the Chronicle of Higher Education put out a very useful special supplement on diversity. One section’s title starts with the words above. Unfortunately, my password is not working and they haven’t sent me its replacement yet. But even without a subscription, you can search their data base on race and ethnicity in US universities. You can also buy a web pass. Or read the first para of some articles.
Below is the first para for philosophy. It is a vivid reminder of the fact that it is not just female grad students and PhD’s who are losers in the situation.
The study of philosophy is a pillar of a liberal education. It is an opportunity for students to examine their lives and deepen their knowledge of existence. It would be hard to find a philosophy student who has escaped the very definition of the term itself, which translates from the Greek to mean the love of wisdom. Yet, for a field so profoundly shaped by understanding human experience, it is surprising that its students are hardly representative of humankind.
Of course, one has to ask about whether the characterization above does fit philosophy today. I should think that for at least many of us it does fit the philosophy we most value. What do you think?
BTW, there’s some indication that the article tries to give advice about diversifying. If you can get access to it, please let us know if there’s something useful.
Update: Many thanks to Jen, who put the whole article incomments below, but I’m concerned we’re violating copyright, so we may have to remove some of it. In any case, I think the central point of the long article is in the passage just below. The author has said the male-dominated canon is a big factor. Then she writes:
… one explanation for why there are more women in history and English[which also have male dominated canons] is that researchers and teachers in those fields have taken steps to offset the negative consequences of a male-dominated canon. Numerous English scholars, for instance, bring a critical approach to the interpretation of patriarchal texts, while also raising awareness of the literary works by women. Similarly, many historians reframe the annals by attending to the historical contributions of all members of society—including women.
It is also important to keep in mind that sexism in the canon has the potential to affect philosophy students to a far greater degree than those of other disciplines. That is because unlike the canonical figures in English and history, those in philosophy are models for philosophy students.