The APA is raising money for their initiatives, and they’d like to urge you to donate to this cause in honour of International Women’s Day.
Please, don’t be demoralized, ‘current student’. Please don’t let threats of lawsuits (even if not directed at you personally) intimidate you. Don’t let the cowardly silence emanating from the distinguished named Chairs in the field scare you away from professional philosophy. Don’t let any ‘representative of the elite’ give you a false image of your possible contribution to philosophy.
Let me explain.
By speaking up, you are, in fact, developing, in part, your philosophical voice and contributing to the development of philosophy. We exist — as a community — to develop concepts that make experiences visible and by these (concepts) to improve the possible experiences of others and ourselves. Our shared practice can only develop faithfully and with integrity if we hear the voices that call us to our weaknesses and expose the norms by which we force a flattening conformity or rule of power, however petty, on each other.
- See more at: http://digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2014/03/please-dont-be-demoralized.html#sthash.gkjkSzn5.dpuf
Workshop on the Recruitment and Retention of UG Women in Philosophy February 27, 2014
More information over at What We’re Doing.
Nominations are now open for the 2014 Philosophy of Science Association Women’s Caucus Prize. The Prize is awarded biennially for the best book, article, or chapter published in English in the area of feminist philosophy of science within the five years prior to each PSA meeting. The winner will receive an award of $500, which will be presented to them at the November 2014 PSA meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2014. To be considered, works must have been published between May 1, 2009 and May 1, 2014. Articles posted electronically on journal websites in final (accepted) form prior to May 1, 2014 are eligible for consideration. Self-nominations are allowed but are limited to one per person. One may nominate more than one paper by someone else.
To make a nomination, please provide information about the article, book or chapter you are nominating by clicking on this link.
“Diversifying philosophy” February 23, 2014
The title of this post is my working title for the CSW (APA’s Committee on the Status of Women) diversity conference, which will be held jointly with a Hypatia conference. It will happen at the of May, 2015. I’m the program chair.
I have some ideas to put before a so-far-exiguous program committee, and they will also have ideas. But for now I’d really like to hear what you (my audience) think are important topics.
Let me mention two that I have begun to think about.
(1). The canon(s). In a number of the winter APA conference sessions speakers and the audiences discussed the ‘required reading’ that publishable papers too often have to cover. I think that the canon so understood often acts in a very exclusionary way, and so it may be important to discuss. One thing a discussion on this topic could look at is in effect advice for early scholars. How, for example, could modest, conservative woman-relevant topics be introduced? Still under the advice heading, we could look for areas that have already opened up a bit, or even a lot. Another topic here would be how can we get referees for conferences, journals, book publishers to consider less canon focused ideas. I.e., new creative stuff. Well, of course they already do, but there are … Well, maybe we should discuss this.
(2). The status of women. One topic might be on women doing philosophy outside the standard tt-tenured structures: what can the APA do? Another might be on surviving a cold climate, or the relative invisibility of women in the profession. Another might also be on the special trials of women of color.
So please let me know what more you think are vital topics. Either add to the sub-topics above or suggest new questions.
There are very recent events that have created very inflammatory discussions. So for now let us avoid the following:
- site visits
- injustices to male faculty as illustrated by recent events
- the demerits of feminist thought, the CSW, this blog, me and certain other bloggers.
We will resist derailing.
Want to improve the climate in Philosophy? Sign up to help! February 19, 2014
Philosophical Spaces has made it easy. This post gives a list of simple things you can do. There’s even a link you can click that takes you to an online form allowing you to volunteer. And, if you have money but not time, there’s a link you can use to donate to the APA Fund for Diversity and Inclusiveness.
Some thoughts on epistemic responsibility February 15, 2014
[Trigger warning for discussion of assault]
Throughout my time as a philosopher, I’ve heard quite a bit of talk regarding ‘epistemic responsibility’ when it comes to discrimination, harassment, and assault. I’ve heard it much more frequently over the last few weeks, and so I feel compelled to say a few words about it. As it happens, I think I have a very different view of the nature of epistemic justification and the conditions under which agents can be said to have it than those who bring up epistemic responsibility in these sorts of conversations, but I want to address a slightly different question: What does moral responsibility require of us when allegations of discrimination, harassment, or assault are made? To be clear, what follows is not an endorsement of a presumption of guilt—rather, it’s an endorsement of action, sympathy, and compassion in the absence of certainty. It seems to me that too often appeals to ‘epistemic responsibility’ justify inaction, undermine progress, and enable serious wrongs.
When discrimination, inequity, and violence are carried out by intentional agents and effectively enabled by the communities in which they occur, withholding all judgment for the sake of epistemic responsibility and withholding all action on account of epistemic reasons will very often quite rightly lead to feelings of further alienation in the victim. If, for example, upon becoming familiar with a report of sexual assault, racial discrimination, or a violent hate-crime, you are not passionately moved, that unaffected reaction cannot help but communicate that there is real sense in which you either do not understand the plight before you, or you do not care. In some circumstances (note: I do mean some), this can be more harmful to a victim than the original offense. A certain amount of stupidity and evil in the world are to be expected. What is generally not expected is for good people to stand witness to severe injury and fail to be demonstrably aggrieved by it (note, here, the aptness of ‘injury’ need not entail that the content of any particular allegation is certainly true, or even true). The unexpected nature of this response often makes the hurt which follows more difficult to deal with. It can communicate indifference, it can normalize suffering, and it can steal away hope.
I do not deny that epistemic responsibility is a great good; but when our epistemic practices prevent us from responding to injury altogether, we are in the neighborhood of vice rather than virtue.
I have experienced attempted rape. Surely I would feel differently had my attacker been successful, but for me, what was most traumatizing was not the assault but rather what happened next. It was in a public park. I was able to get away. I ran to a man reading on a bench and told him what happened. He saw I was being followed. He offered to sit with me until it looked like it would be safe to walk home. But that was all he did (and I do mean that was all: he did not offer to take me to the police, to call any one, etc., and it didn’t occur to me to ask for those things). I sat with him for two hours on that bench in silence. In retrospect, I’m sure he just didn’t know what to do and didn’t know what to say—but in those two hours, and in some months that followed, I felt like what happened must not really matter because it didn’t seem to matter much to him. I thought that I was being silly for feeling angry, violated, and scared. In those later moments where I didn’t doubt myself, I doubted the world at large—the capacity of my fellow humans to do right, to be even minimally decent.
I don’t ever want to be the man on that bench to someone else, whether I think I know what happened or not.
The Dutch branch of the Society for Women in Philosophy, SWIP.NL, is organising their first symposium on April 11, 2014.
The theme of the event is “Does philosophy have a future and if so, what is the role of women in it?“. That is definitely something I want to know!
The event is hosted at the Free University in Amsterdam, and the language is Dutch. You can find more information here (in Dutch).
The PGR’s un-women-friendly epistemology February 11, 2014
McAfee’s punch line: “Is there a systematic bias in the PGR methodology that leads it to value more male-dominated departments? Well, yes. An unrepresentative and hand-picked advisory board plus unrepresentative and hand-picked evaluators will lead to a slanted take on the value of the work going on in the profession. You don’t have to be a stand-point epistemologist to see this.”
[Update: I'm going to recommend that anyone who wishes to comment on the post do so at Gone Public, where it originally occurred, rather than below the reblog here. To that end (and because I'm not able to moderate comments today), I've closed comments below.]
Originally posted on gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life:
It may be very hard to see that one’s remarks are sexist, racist, etc. This point was illustrated on the Piers Morgan show on feb. 5. Piers had interviewed Janet Mock, a famous trans woman and activist, some days before then. This first interview seemed to be one both found acceptable, but she expressed considerable reservations on Twitter and, as he said, dropped him in the sh-t. What was going on? There was a reinterview on the 5th, and one thing became clear: while cis folk might think the journey to become a trans person has got to be the most fascinating thing about trans people, many trans persons very strongly disagree. And the language to describe their lives is important to them. Duh! For example, Janet wants to say that she was born a baby, and not that she was born a boy.
This seemed to be news to Piers, and I’d expect, most people who are white and heterosexual. The result is that what he intended to be a supportive interview stressed seeing her from a cis point of view, and viewed her as pretty sensationally different. Not good.
There is also the constantly worrying fact that too many people in the white, hetero, etc class simply do not realize that what seems perfectly fine to them may not be at all for other people.
These sorts of thing worry me every time I hear that people in a department seek to change the department’s climate. Even without the problems Piers Morgan has, that can take a lot of specialized knowledge to do. And, with the Piers Morgan problem, one can unwittingly leave the climate hostile as, for example, one praises at every talk the remarkable female graduate student who, would you believe it, used to be a man!