Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

CU Boulder students say tenured faculty member being forced out over a lecture on prostitution December 15, 2013

Filed under: academia,free speech,prostitution,sex work,teaching,women in academia — philodaria @ 2:19 am

At Thursday’s 2 to 3 p.m. class inside the Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry auditorium, or “chem 140″ as it’s called by students, Adler lectured for about 20 minutes before telling students she would not return in the spring.

Students said Adler then told the class that she was being forced into retirement because the administration thought her lecture on prostitution was inappropriate, degrading to women and offensive to some minority communities.

The prostitution lecture is given as a skit in which many of Adler’s teaching assistants dress up as various types of prostitutes. The teaching assistants portrayed prostitutes ranging from sex slaves to escorts, and described their lifestyles and what led them to become prostitutes.

Students said Adler told them the administration heard a complaint about the skit. On the day of the lecture, several people who did not appear to be students attended the skit and took lots of notes, students said.

Adler told her students she tried to negotiate with the administration about leaving the skit off the syllabus. Administrators allegedly told Adler that in the era of sex scandals at schools like Penn State University, they couldn’t let her keep teaching.

From here. 


Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption September 10, 2012

Filed under: free speech,human rights — David Slutsky @ 8:46 am

Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption

“India police have arrested a political cartoonist on sedition charges after his drawings criticizing government corruption irked the ruling Congress party…”


Police had no grounds to arrest cartoonist Aseem Trivedi: Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil

“… ‘If telling the truth makes me [a] traitor then I am one… if I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so.’…”


Sedition: does it have any place in modern India? [pertinent info here - is it accurate?]

India Against Corruption (IAC) Statement on Aseem Trivedi issue


Cartoons Against Corruption‎ [what's up with/what about the "Gang Rape of Mother India" cartoon?]


see also former post on:

Does Criticizing India Count as Sedition? Arundhati Roy Will Find Out




Open letter to Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi November 19, 2011

Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.

What happened next?

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

Read the full account of what happened with links to further photos here.


political protests then and now September 27, 2011

Filed under: English riots,free speech,human rights,politics,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 7:59 pm

Then there were the protests at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. If you look past the pundits you can see, among other things, tear gass and beatings.

Or the recent student riots in London with police charging on horseback:

These pictures make the police reactions to the Wall Street protestors seem certainly more moderate, if in some instances incredibly painful.  But those very painful incidents do not seem to provide enough contrast to  justify the Nation’s recent explanation of the low turn out for the protests:

The teargas aside starts to tap into something important: how the police state and its domestic weaponry and bureaucratic assist with the needs for permits to do anything in protests have successfully crippled the activism community. Activists are afraid. You can smell it in their midst. They talk about the constant presence of agent provocateurs and undercovers at every protest. They share battle stories of being abused by the police … And these are the brave ones that still show up to the protests.

It’s not mere paranoia. We know for a fact that the FBI monitors activism groups, and this practice reached a frenzied level during the Bush administration years. These intimidation practices continue under President Obama in the form of raids.

Now, imagine you have a job you can’t get time off from, or kids. Are you going to risk that precious job security, or the safety of your children, to go protest in an event that may—if you’re really lucky—get some dismissive coverage in the New York Times?

There was a time when individuals cast aside those fears because they had union-protected jobs, and unions organized events with tens of thousands of confidence-inspiring fellow members in attendance. While those events do still occur, they’re a rarity these days as union membership dwindles, the privatization of the country continues and the establishment media still don’t grant them fair coverage when they do occur. Not one of the young people I spoke to at the Occupy Wall Street protest said they were union members. 

I don’t know what the difference between the 1960”s and protectors today in the US is, but police brutality does not seem to be it.  Nor, for those who remember the initial reporting of student protects, is it the sort of  belittling journalism that the NY Times indulged in, and the Nation is criticizing; there was plenty of that then.

Perhaps one difference is that the  protects before were coming from universities, and students were well versed in getting into groups and planning things.  Here’s an interesting clip about the planning before the Chicago riots:


Nottinghamshire police pay £20,000 to student arrested over research material September 16, 2011

In 2008, Rizwaan Sabir – an MA student at the University of Nottingham – was reported to the police by the university for downloading a copy of the al-Quaeda training manual and emailing it to his friend, Hich Yezza, who worked as an administrator. Yezza was helping Sabir put together a PhD proposal on counter-terrorism. He downloaded the manual from a US government site. A longer version, containing more material, can be purchased from any bookshop. However, when another administrator found the manual on Yezza’s computer, the university immediately called the police, who arrested Sabir and Yezza. Sabir was held for seven days before being released without charge. However, despite his innocence, information was kept on record, and as a result, he endured various forms of harassment from the authorities. (Yezza’s treatment was even worse: he was imprisoned for several months in an immigration holding unit as the UK tried to deport him. It took two years, and thousands of pounds in legal proceedings to halt the deportation and win back his residency papers. Again, he was completely innocent of any connection with terrorism.)

The Nottinghamshire police have now paid Sabir £20,000 in an out of court settlement, over their handling of the affair. Let’s hope this changes the way that such cases are dealt with in the future. You can read more here.


Writing about discrimination against Iranian Women June 8, 2011

Here is a seemingly important article on “Iran’s women footballers banned from Olympics because of Islamic strip“.

This [Iran-women-Olympic-strip] article/news story involves a very important matter as regards individual Islamic women (or teams of them) who cannot do something such as play a sport because of how they choose to dress, especially if that dress is something as important to them as their understanding of their religion. Perhaps some significant percentage of the women do not choose this form of dress, as Iran requires something like it. We do not know because the article appears not to say or to address this issue of choice. (Even oppressed women who have internalized sexist norms in a great many cases nonetheless have substantial autonomy and agentic skills.)

I regret that this news story is cast in terms of a focus on Iran. Perhaps a focus on Iran is required for the story to use the Olympics as a main example. The problem with that use, however, is that Islamic women in many places suffer discrimination for using this kind of dress in all kinds of sports venues besides the Olympics – I can think of many unfortunate cases of female high school athletes in the U.S., for instance.

Of course, I wish more people would read and understand Irshad Manji on such matters. One might think that my two paragraphs above are not sufficiently feminist because of how sexist the Islamic religion is. However, all forms of western monotheism are incredibly sexist (among other bad things) and I really do not see Islam as particularly bad for western religions as regards feminist concerns.

Ideally, if I were writing newspaper stories/articles I would write about how Iran massively oppresses women. I would also write about the oppression of women with regard to discrimination against them in the field of sports.

What I would NEVER do is write a story/article about Iranian athletes that does not even seem to mention, let alone strongly emphasize, how badly the Iran state treats women. (People go to jail all the time in Iran just for signing a peaceful petition saying that they support democratic reforms! And the lawyers in Iran who represent people who go to jail in Iran for doing something like signing a peaceful petition in support of democratic reforms are themselves sent to jail or worse.) It pains me to read the article with which this post began given the concern expressed in this paragraph and in the context of this entire post.

For related comments threads to two posts that document Iran state oppression of women, see:

What Do Iran And The U.S. Have In Common?

interested readers might especially want to check out comments numbered 12 through 20 at the post above


Urgent Petition To Save Sakineh

interested readers might want especially to check out comments numbered 5, 6, 8, 18, 19, 39, 45, 46, and 49 at the post above


Overt and covert misogyny May 30, 2011

Filed under: free speech — Jender @ 6:46 am

Melissa McEwan has a really interesting article on derogatory speech, specifically on MSNBC.  She criticises the way that individual words are focussed on: roughly, you can get away with almost anything as long as you don’t make assertions containing certain forbidden terms.  I’m a bit torn on this myself, because it’s much tougher to formulate easy to follow rules without focussing on specific terms.  And I worry about the chilling effect of unclear rules.  (Recall that perfectly legitimate, non-sexist criticisms of Sarah Palin were called sexist by her campaign.)


Diane Nash: Famous Name? Famous Face? May 23, 2011

Filed under: free speech,gender,politics,Uncategorized — jj @ 1:40 pm

Her name ought to be as famous as those of other leaders in the civil rights movement, such as John Lewis, Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond, and James Farmer. But I’m not sure I had every heard of her, and I’m assuming I am not alone. Here’s what Wike says of her:               

Diane Nash (center) leading students in singing at the police jail in Nashville, Tenn.

Diane Judith Nash was born on May 15, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois. She was the leader and strategist of the student wing of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. A historian described her as: “…bright, focused, utterly fearless, with an unerring instinct for the correct tactical move at each increment of the crisis; as a leader, her instincts had been flawless, and she was the kind of person who pushed those around her to be at their best—that, or be gone from the movement.” [1]

Nash’s campaigns were among the most successful of the era. Her efforts included the first successful civil rights campaign to de-segregate lunch counters (Nashville);[2] the Freedom riders, who de-segregated interstate travel;[3] founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and the Selma Voting Rights Movement campaign, which resulted in African Americans getting the vote and political power throughout the South.[4]

From a feminist  perspective, one’s not surprised at the following egregious  entry from Answers.com:


Who was the founder of the SNCC during the civil rights movement?

Julian Bond was a co-founder of the organization of the S.N.C.C

There are many other forgotten names and faces among those who went on the Freedom Rides.  PBS’s recent program on them can be seen online.


Free speech, and cheering for one’s rapist May 8, 2011

Filed under: free speech,rape — Jender @ 7:26 pm

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court declined to review the case of a recent Texas high school student who was kicked off her school’s cheerleading squad after she refused to chant the name of a basketball player who had allegedly raped her. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country, ruled last November that the victim — who is known only as H.S. — had no right to refuse to applaud her attacker because as a cheerleader in uniform, she was an agent of the school. To add insult to injury, the Fifth Circuit dismissed her case as “frivolous” and sanctioned the girl, forcing her family to pay the school district’s $45,000 legal fees.

The Fifth Circuit explains:

As a cheerleader, HS served as a mouthpiece through which [the school district] could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams…This act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, HS was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.

But as Think Progress notes: “It’s unclear to many court watchers how H.S.’s silence was disruptive, or how the school’s right to “disseminate speech” through cheerleading outweighed the needs of a sexual assault victim.”

Appalling. And some interesting material here for those who work on silencing. In this case, what’s at issue is the right to *be* silent, which is being denied. Astounding that it turns out to be the school’s free speech supposedly at issue.

Thanks, KI!

For the full story, see here.


University of Nottingham suspends whistleblower May 5, 2011

Filed under: academia,free speech,politics — Monkey @ 8:34 am

Readers may remember a disgraceful incident that unfolded at the University of Nottingham in 2008. An MA student in the Politics Department, Rizwaan Sabir, asked a friend, Hicham Yezza, who worked as an administrator to print some documents he needed for his studies. Unfortunately for the two men, they are Muslim, and the documents were about Al-Quaeda. Cue: all Hell breaking loose. Despite the fact that the documents concerned are in the University of Nottingham’s library – I’m going to say that again – the documents are in the University of Nottingham’s library, and Rizwaan’s tutors confirmed that they were necessary for his research, the University called the police, and both men were arrested and detained for six days under the Terrorism Act. They were released without charge, as neither has any links whatsoever to any terrorist organisation. But of course, in these murky days of the War on Terror, there’s a big difference between being cleared, and being considered innocent. Once charged, forever tainted – both Yezza and Sabir have been subjected to various forms of harassment and constraint ever since. You can read about some of it on this campaign page.

Now, in a new twist to this sorry tale, Rod Thornton, a lecturer in Politics at the University of Nottingham, has just been suspended for criticising the way the University handled the incident. Thornton believes that the senior University personnel involved acted in ways that “can be classed as unfair, discriminatory, and sometimes, outright illegal”. He has called for a public investigation into the University’s actions. His accusations are based on a rigorous and detailed consideration of the evidence. Moreover, Thornton seems well-placed to understand these issues – before coming to academia, he spent nine years in the army, serving three years in Northern Ireland in a counter-terrorism role, which included a six-month period in a police station, operating in an intelligence capacity. You can read his description of events here.

An anonymous ‘university spokesman’ has called Thornton’s article “highly defamatory” of a number of his colleagues. The official reason for his suspension is apparently the “breakdown in working relationships with [his] colleagues caused by [his] recent article”.

You can read the Guardian article here.



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