Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

From the Ivory Tower to the Abyss September 15, 2014

Filed under: disability,graduate students — Lady Day @ 10:48 pm

I just learned about this blog about doing graduate study with a disability. I haven’t had much time to poke around on it yet, but it looks promising. The latest post offers a rich discussion of depression within academic philosophy. Check it out:

I think it should be the job for philosophy to demand that society’s discourse regarding mental health gets less awful. Good philosophy should offer alternatives for social problems, or at the very least scold the often careless ideologies that cause social problems.

But first, academic philosophy itself needs to turn its gaze to depression and how it is treated within its own ranks. We treat it with silence. No one finds it polite to speak on it, unless talking about the personal lives of the dead or as a dry systematic theory. We philosophers prefer to hold depression at arm’s length, even though it often lives so close within our chests as a tightening knot limiting our actions.


Adjuncting and the stink of femaleness or poverty September 4, 2014

Filed under: academia,care work,disability — Jender @ 5:21 am

A guest post by Elizabeth Picciuto.

This is my third year as an adjunct. From what I hear from hiring committees. I’m pretty sure that means I will have the stink of adjunct “staleness.” Among the zillions of reasons that adjuncting is a rotten state of affairs, allow me to add my own. I adjunct because I have three children, one of whom has severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Accepting a one year VAP means not only uprooting my typical kids. I must find new doctors (orthopedics, gastroenterology, pulmonology etc. etc.) and acquaint them with his complex medical background. I must find local schools that actually fund their special education. I must create a new IEP (that is, a contract with a school system that lays out what his requirements are for an appropriate public education). I must find accessible housing. In short, it’s too large a burden for a 1 year job that pays $55-ish K, (if you’re lucky).

Caregiving, of course, falls disproportionately on women and those from less advantaged backgrounds. And so, the stink of “staleness” may really be the stink of femaleness or poverty.

I’ve heard people say that if people really want to stay in philosophy, they’d make some sacrifices. I feel like I’ve made plenty of sacrifices just to finish my dissertation. I’m happy to move nearly anywhere for a low-paying job as long as it offers job security and health benefits. How much more of a sacrifice am I supposed to make? Honestly, do we really want to excise from the field people who also value their families’ well-beings? Mightn’t they have something philosophically interesting to say?


Pregnant Deaf Woman Sues for Interpreter Access During Delivery September 2, 2014

Filed under: disability,discrimination,maternity,medicine — Teresa Blankmeyer Burke @ 3:13 am

Cheylla Silva has filed an emergency motion in U.S. federal court (Miami) to obtain signed language interpreter access during childbirth. 

Silva is hoping the delivery goes smoothly because if there are serious problems, she might be at a loss to communicate with her doctors and nurses. Silva is profoundly deaf, and, for months, Baptist administrators have refused to provide her with an American sign language interpreter, she says.

“Can you imagine going to a doctor’s office and not being able to understand what they are talking about? And it’s about your care. How would you feel?”

 “One of the essential elements of personal dignity,” the pleading adds, “is the ability to obtain the necessary information to make an adequate and informed choice about one’s own medical treatment. Medical treatment and childbirth are some of the most intense and important experiences for a person.”

Then again, it should be easy enough to just write notes in one’s second language during childbirth, right?


NeuroGenderings III September 1, 2014

Below is a list of podcasts from Neurogenderings III, a conference on the brain and gender, held this year in May. The podcasts are available here.

I heard Jordan-Young at a conference in honor of Anne Fasto-Sterling a week before the conference; I do recommend listening to her. And if you think that sex is purely biological then you will find Anne F-S’s keynote very interesting, I hope. The other speakers are very distinguished scholars.

Dr Cynthia KRAUS, Senior lecturer at the Institute of social sciences of the University of Lausanne. Opening words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus** Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.

Prof. Franciska KRINGS, Vice-Rector of the University of Lausanne. Welcome words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.


Rebecca JORDAN-YOUNG, Tow Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College. Sex as Chimera: Tools for (Un)Thinking Difference.

Gillian EINSTEIN, Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Gender Medicine, Linköping University, Associate Professor of Psychology, Dalla Landa School of Public Health, University of Toronto. When Does a Difference Make a Difference? Exemples from Situated Neuroscience.

Georgina RIPPON, Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging, Aston University. Functional Neuroimaging (FNI) and Sex/Gender Research: of Differences, Dichotomies and Entanglement.

Anne FAUSTO-STERLING, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies, Brown University. How Your Generic Baby Aquires Gender.

**from your dictionary.com: When a large group of people is very unhappy with a certain policy or event, this collective unhappiness is an example of dissensus.


Shocking ableism from the Sunday Times June 19, 2014

Filed under: disability — magicalersatz @ 8:54 am

The Sunday Times printed an editorial by UCL psychology professor Adrian Furnham that’s so shocking in the blatant ableism it endorses that I’m really at a loss for words. Here’s the conclusion:

Psychiatrists have grouped those with personality disorders into three similar clusters: dramatic, emotional and erratic types; odd and eccentric types; and anxious and fearful types.

There are three important questions. The first is how you spot these people at selection so you can reject them. This is easier with some disorders than others. It is virtually impossible to spot the psychopath or the obsessive-compulsive person at an interview. Clearly, you need to question those who have worked with them in the past to get some sense of their pathology, which many are skilled at hiding.

The second is, given that they have already been appointed, how to manage them. There is, alas, no simple method that converts the antagonist into a warm, open, honest individual or the disinhibited worker into a careful, serious and dutiful employee. Sometimes it is a matter of damage limitation.

The third is how to rid your workplace of these maladaptive personalities, and that is the toughest question of all.

Yes, we should definitely fire all the people who the DSM might classify as ‘odd and eccentric types’. Like Steve Jobs, for example:

A search of the Nexis news database turned up the word “obsessive” in connection with a Steve Jobs-related article a total of 68 times in the past week.

Numerous news reports have noted Mr. Jobs’ “obsessive” attention to detail and perfection in the products he brought to life. Indeed, when you get past the tribute articles and dig deeper into Mr. Jobs’ past, you find stories of him being tyrannical and harsh as a leader, paying exacting attention to details that he undoubtedly paid other top executives to monitor. But the vision of Mr. Jobs that we seem to get is of someone who just can’t help but be involved in every single minute step of the process of product development and marketing.

Clearly too odd to be successful, that one! Get rid of him!

(Thanks for the tip, N!)


“Too many wheelchairs” May 20, 2014

Filed under: disability — annejjacobson @ 4:59 pm

That was the judgment of the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) supervisor last evening at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.  “They can go through the lines like everybody else.”  So they closed the booth dedicated to processing people in wheelchairs, though later opened it up to the general public, approximately 99.5% of whom were not in wheel chairs.

I arrived at the figure above from the simple fact that there were about 500 people in line before me and no one else was in a wheel chair.

It is quite possible that there would have been wheel chair assisted passengers had they closed the special booth earlier, instead of right before me.  But I had spent about 30 min waiting to be assisted through customs, and I didn’t see anyone get help before me.  That was what made made the roughly one hour processing so painful; I wasn’t pushing myself, and the woman who was should have been able to get back to others.

So if you ever get the idea that it would be easier and quicker to get wheel chair assistance, let me say that is not my experience at Heathrow or Bush Intercontinental.  There are several points at which one sits around for 15-45 minutes waiting for someone to be free to help you. These add up.

Still, I resisted snarling at someone who got a wheel chair clearly destined for me, ‘Do you have a card?’ while waving my authorization.

And I remain amazed that we have yet another case of the fairly careless assumption that people with needs are seen as trying just to avoid what everyone else copes with. In comparison, the TSA’s response to my setting off alarms (artificial knee) was exemplary.

(In case you are wondering, let me say that my knee replacement surgery went as well as could be expected, but if you haven’t been walking properly for 3 years, coping with long distances and long lines requires more recovery time than I have had so far. This trip was almost too soon after surgery.)


Another philosopher accused of sexual misconduct April 20, 2014

Filed under: disability,sexual assault — Jender @ 5:37 pm

Assault this time.

But the story is incredibly complicated due to the disability issues involved. [UPDATE for clarification: The case is very controversial within the disability community, which is the source of the complexity.]


Disability and Graduate School Considerations April 14, 2014

Filed under: deaf,disability,graduate students,minorities in philosophy,Uncategorized — Teresa Blankmeyer Burke @ 11:33 am

Helen de Cruz has a great post up at NewAPPS that discusses, among other things, why graduate students might opt to attend unranked programs.


Another, often overlooked, consideration in play for some graduate students is disability. Some campuses are more friendly and accommodating to students with particular kinds of disabilities, some local communities have more resources than others, some states have policies that make it easier to be funded by vocational rehabilitation than others, some states (in the U.S.) provide tuition waivers to students with certain disabilities, and so on.




Cochlear Implants, Viral Videos, and Sexism March 29, 2014

Filed under: cochlear implants,deaf,disability,gender stereotypes,Uncategorized — Teresa Blankmeyer Burke @ 2:39 pm

Once again a video of the miracle of hearing via cochlear implants has gone viral. I find this bothersome, but not for the reasons you might think, given that I’m a member of the signing Deaf* community, a bioethicist, and philosopher. Instead, I’m annoyed by the framing of the cochlear implant narratives and the gendered aspects of cochlear implant videos that go viral.


Before I say more, I want to note that I am delighted and touched by the joy of the cochlear implant recipient, Joanne Milne. Joanne Milne has had a life-changing experience. Most hearing people will watch the video, appreciate her happiness, and perhaps reflect on their own capacity to hear. I hope that we can push the conversation further along here at Feminist Philosophers.



What is it like to do a PhD with disability & chronic illness? March 24, 2014

Filed under: academia,disability,health,mental health — hippocampa @ 12:41 pm

bw2fa7xcqaad-qe[1]@zaranosaur‘s own experiences with having to juggle her chronic illness while trying to do a PhD led her to start a blog on just that: what it’s like to do a PhD with a disability & chronic illness with the accompanying twitter ID @PhDisabled. From the website:

The experiences of disabled PhD students are seldom heard in the world at large.  This is despite the fact that there are many out there whose doctoral efforts are inextricably shaped by their experience as PhD students with disability or chronic illness.

Our goal is to create a space for PhD students with disability or chronic illness to share their experiences.  It is only by sharing these experiences that we realise that we who walk this path are not alone.  It is only by sharing these experiences, by beginning to talk openly about them, that we can hope that things will one day improve.

We welcome submissions from all PhD students, past, present or otherwise, on all aspects of the experience at the intersection of academia, disability and chronic illness.

People are invited to share their stories and the response is overwhelming. Also check out the hashtag #AcademicAbleism.



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