Go read about a way to help women in philosophy, over at What We’re Doing.
Banning art April 9, 2014
Banning art on textbook covers, that is. Would you refuse to have a picture on a book on social or political grounds? let’s suppose it really does count as art, is not outre, and in fact has a very traditional and even beloved subject matter?
What about this one?
what do you think?
Reader query: how to help? April 2, 2014
A reader writes:
So, I/the rest of my cohort are facing a difficult issue: a male faculty member has two advisees in my cohort, a man and a woman. It is obvious to the rest of us who are not his advisees that he treats the male student *much* better than the female student. Yesterday we all did presentations of our research for this faculty member (as part of a dissertation seminar). Her presentation was very good, just way too long and thorough. After she finished, the faculty member proceeded to go off on her for a good fifteen minutes, in front of the rest of us (her peers). Stuff like “this isn’t philosophy” and “this all has to be gotten rid of,” the latter of which he sort of changed his tune about over the course of his rant. It was intense. Had I been the student on the receiving end, I would have cried. I’m amazed that she didn’t.
My question is: this is plainly inappropriate behavior, but what can we (as her fellow grad students) do about it? I mean, content of the presentation aside, what seems inappropriate was to dress a student down in front of her peers and to do it in such a harsh manner. I’m just worried that, because this faculty member is well-regarded in the department, that if a few of us were to tell someone about this that we at worst would not be believed and at best there would be nothing that anyone else could do.
So, for readers: what can fellow grad students do to support a grad student in an abusive advisor relationship?
‘On being a woman in philosophy and feeling stupid’ March 27, 2014
Katrina Sifferd has written a moving, important blog post titled ‘On being a woman in philosophy and feeling stupid‘. She discusses the often insidious effects of being hit on by people you look up to as academic advisors or mentors. Sadly, I’m sure many women in philosophy can relate to what she says:
Each time I had this experience, every positive thing my teacher/professor had said about my academic work disappeared in a puff of smoke. The attention I received made me feel stupid, unworthy. And the rumors in grad school that I was indeed sleeping with this or the other professor just fed my fears. Not only did I feel like my intellect wasn’t up to snuff, neither did anyone else in my program (I thought).
A question about standpoints and understanding March 19, 2014
Standpoint theory in epistemology provides a gateway for my question: For our purposes, the theory can be something vague like, “Human beings often have perspectives that make some truths access to them, while the truths are not accessible to those without the perspectives.” For example, one might want to claim that there are truths accessible from the point of view of a gay person which are not accessible to others.
I was struck today by the fact that the vague principle above implies something we might find very troubling; namely, human beings typically lack perspectives that make some truths accessible to others. E.g., over some wide area, heterosexuals lack the perspective from which they might understand gay experience.
By way of background, let me say I have been thinking recently especially about conversations I had with Robert McClelland when we worked on the 2013 APA Central Division Meeting. He arranged a number of sessions on African American experience and thought. I learned a great deal from him in the short time we could talk, but I was also left with an abiding sense that too much experience that was a matter of course for him was nearly beyond my understanding. For example, the role of sports in the formation of young black boys’ ambitions was something of which I had only the most superficial of understandings.
I’ve been wondering how to understand and change my ignorance here. But right now I’m also wondering why I missed the fairly staggering implications of standpoint theory? Perhaps I didn’t really, and am simply seeing things mistakenly as if they were new. My sense right now is that there’s a pretty big chasm between many of the beliefs I employ in everyday life and those of people of color, of different ethnicities, etc.
I’d love to hear or see what others think about understanding others. It would be very easy to work one’s self into a quite skeptical mood here. There’s been some discussion in a number of places (e.g., new apps) of epistemic equals. We could see this point as a worry about how even to understand the implications of a fairly frequent lack of epistemic equality.
We need to make room for breaking the silence March 10, 2014
These last few weeks have been difficult for us as a community—and rightly so—but despite all that’s come to light, still, so much remains hidden. Here, at Feminist Philosophers, we have been talking a bit about the pain of silence recently. I think if we are to come out of this stronger as a community, if we’re going to be able to move forward at all, we need to make room for people to not be silent. Sometimes it seems as though we are caught in a web of interlocking prisoners’ dilemmas: Conversations about harassment, discrimination, and assault are difficult and they are often politically risky. In the short run, if we have the luxury, it can seem easier to simply avoid them. But collectively we have the power to make them less risky. We can create a culture in which victims are supported well enough to come forward and active bystanders are cultivated. We can do this by offering our solidarity with those who are marginalized, vulnerable, and would otherwise be ignored; by treating our colleagues with respect even when we disagree with them; by acting with compassion and understanding; by speaking and acting ourselves where possible.
To that end, I must acknowledge what happened here last week, and say that I am thankful for the courageous and peaceful activism of the Northwestern students, for the intervention of Rachel McKinnon (and others) in a comment thread here, and to all of those who are working to make our discipline more inclusive and welcoming.
UPDATE: I also want to acknowledge that our comments policy was violated in a number of ways–and that I am not thankful for. Our ‘Be Nice’ rule is not here simply for the sake of our friends; rather, it’s here so that everyone can participate in healthy and fruitful discussion. It’s important to note these violations even in cases where I’m very glad that something was said. I have also removed the links above.
Help improve the climate for women in philosophy March 8, 2014
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.