Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Study Raises Questions About Why Women Are Less Likely than Men to Earn Tenure Research August 18, 2014

Filed under: gender,academia,discrimination,women in academia,academic job market — Stacey Goguen @ 4:47 pm

You can read the article here


“Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity.”


““It’s not that we need to make women more productive. It’s that we need to change the processes,” said Kate Weisshaar, a graduate student at Stanford University who did the study.”


McGinn hiring blocked

Filed under: academia,sexual harassment — Jender @ 2:16 pm

Administrators at East Carolina University have turned down the philosophy department’s request to award a one-year endowed professorship to Colin McGinn—a prominent philosopher who resigned from the University of Miami in December following allegations of sexual harassment by a female graduate student.

For the Chronicle story, go here.

For words of wisdom from Eric Schliesser, go here.

For a discussion about use of unofficial information in hiring go to the Daily Nous.


A philosophy conference so diverse it merited a news story

The Diverse Lineages of Existentialism meeting was a far cry from a typical philosophy conference. In a discipline dominated by white men, this conference hosted as many women as men and a large number of people of color along with white participants. In a discipline often characterized by its esoteric isolation from public and politics, instead there was outpouring of conversations about social justice and lived human experience. Given the recent public and professional conversations about the lack of diversity in philosophy, the Diverse Lineages of Existentialism (DLE) conference is a hopeful glance into the future of the discipline – one that is long overdue and necessary if philosophy is to continue as a viable and relevant living and growing field, both in the academy and in the public imagination.

More here.


Lego Academics August 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jender @ 7:00 pm


A Glasgow academic has become an online sensation after setting up a social media account using Lego’s new ‘Research Institute’ set.

Lego unveiled its first ever range of female scientists last week, with the popular sets selling out in just three days.

But when Glasgow scientist Donna Yates took receipt of her own box of mini boffins in the post, she managed to create an overnight Lego phenomenon.

“It was delivered in the middle of a terrible rainy day on Friday,” said the University of Glasgow archaeologist.

“My colleague and I were filling out our performance evaluations which we’d had to re-do and it was all so slow and frustrating,” Donna continues.

“We opened it up and started putting the pieces together.”


2013 Gender Inequality Index

The U.N. (Development Program) released the 2014 Human Development Report (and the 2013 Human Development Index within it) a few weeks ago on or around July 24, 2014. It incorporates data from 2013 for the latest Gender Inequality Index on pages 172-175 in Table 4. This index reflects gender inequality along three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market – as rated by five indicators: both maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate for reproductive health, both shares of parliamentary seats and population with at least secondary education for empowerment, and labor force participation rates for the labor market.

This year, all 187 countries ranked in the 2013 Human Development Index are also ranked in the 2013 Gender Inequality Index. The U.S. ranks #47 (down from 42 last year), the U.K. ranks #35 (down from 34 last year), Canada ranks #23 (down from 18 from last year), Australia ranks #19 (down from 17 from last year), New Zealand ranks #34 (down from 31 from last year), and South Africa ranks #94 (down from 90 from last year).

Also out of those 187 countries (for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index…), Slovenia ranks #1 (up from 8), Switzerland ranks #2 (up from 3), Germany ranks #3 (up from 6), Sweden ranks #4 (down from 2), Denmark ranks #5 (down from 3 formerly with Switzerland), Austria also ranks #5 (up from 14), Netherlands ranks #7 (down from #1), Italy ranks #8 (up from 11), Belgium ranks #9 (up from 12), Norway also ranks #9 (down from 5), Finland ranks #11 (down from #6), and France ranks #12 (down from 9).

In addition, out of those 187 countries (for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index…), India ranks #127 (up from 132), Saudi Arabia ranks #56 (seemingly up from 145 – is that right?), Afghanistan ranks #169 (down from 147), and Yemen ranks #152 (down from 148).

Click here for a PDF of the full 2014 Human Development Report (with the Gender Inequality Index on pp. 172-175).
Click here for a more detailed account of the Gender Inequality Index that includes indicator data (for 2013 and also for some earlier grouped years).
Click here for a webpage that contains some frequently asked questions and answers about the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.
Click here and scroll down to “technical note 3” on pages 5-6 for a PDF file that provides details on how the Gender Inequality Index is calculated.

Unfortunately, the UNDP seems frequently to delete and/or change the URLs/web-addresses for the aforementioned links. Please report any changes (or updates!) in the comments and I will try to update accordingly.
Click here for links on/for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index

What do readers think? All sorts of data here for all sorts of comments…


depression and suicide: an Addition August 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 4:20 pm

The following description of depression at WebMD is common:

When you have depression, it’s more than feeling sad. Intense feelings of sadness and other symptoms, like losing interest in things you enjoy, may last for a while. Depression is a medical illness, not a sign of weakness…

There is another side to some people’s depression. Suppose we think of depression as caused by a lack of something or things that make normal life mentally possible. For example, perhaps you are facing a boring day of meetings with people all too prone to complain and delay; still, you can get out of bed, have a reasonable breakfast, arrive at work well-groomed, and so on. When depression of the sort described above hits, all that becomes much more difficult, and maybe sometimes so close to impossible that you don’t do it.

It is important to know that for some people there is quite a bit more to depression. Something fills in the lack, and it is pretty horrible. Kay Jamison writes about this in today’s NY Times:

Suicidal depression involves a kind of pain and hopelessness that is impossible to describe — and I have tried. I teach in psychiatry and have written about my bipolar illness, but words struggle to do justice to it. How can you say what it feels like to go from being someone who loves life to wishing only to die?

Suicidal depression is a state of cold, agitated horror and relentless despair. The things that you most love in life leach away. Everything is an effort, all day and throughout the night. There is no hope, no point, no nothing.

Jamison emphasizes that depression even of this sort can be treated. But some people are treatment resistant, and for others the effects of the treatment may be too costly. Facing that relentless horror may drive one to drink or drugs. One may find it completely intolerable, and when faced with it again and again finally decide life is very literally not worth living.

There is a great deal we do not know about depression and suicide. Still more, much about Robin Williams is out of our ken. But it may help to know that most of us can’t imagine what he may have been going through, and those that do go through it may find it impossible to explain, as Jamison says it is for her.

I’ve worried over the last day or so that I’ve put something up for discussion that in effect I’ve maintained only the (very unfortunate) cognoscenti know about. One result might be to denigrate the more ordinary thorough misery of a deep digression that does not involve this mysterious horror. That would be very unfortunate.  Or it might just leave people not believing in that horror as a phenomenon. I think that would be a shame since I expect it is a clue for why some people find suicide is a reasonable option. So I looked up “the horror of depression” and found that sometimes when it occurs the depression is called psychotic depression. William Styron’s description of his depression might help one see the label as appropriate:

For as Styron discovered, true depression swallows its victims entirely, devours them in one huge gulp, then spirits them to an otherwise unknowable nadir.

“To most of those who have experienced it,” Styron writes in “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness,” a slim volume Random House is publishing this month, “the horror of depression is so overwhelming as to be quite beyond expression.”

But if there were a single designation for this disorder, a word or a phrase, Styron believes it would be something like brainstorm , meaning not some burst of intellectual inspiration, but “a veritable howling tempest in the brain.”

That is how it felt to William Styron, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Lie Down in Darkness,” “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” “Sophie’s Choice” and other books and plays. At his year-round home in Roxbury, Conn., five years ago, Styron’s family watched helplessly while he moaned and shouted from his bed.

“My head is exploding!” Styron cried. “My head is exploding!”

The next day, he entered the psychiatric unit of Yale-New Haven Hospital for the treatment he believes saved his life.


Ferguson, MO August 15, 2014

The past couple of days I’ve been keeping up with the protests in Ferguson, MO, following the death of 18 year old Michael Brown on August 9th. Sitting in my apartment two nights ago watching a live feed of people running away from police through a suburb while the police threw tear gas at them and into people’s front yards is one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had in the past few years. The last time I was locked onto twitter like that and completely lost track of time was when the Boston marathon bomber was running through a neighborhood was that directly adjacent to my own.

So here is a compilation of some resources that I think do a particularly good job of explaining and contextualizing what is going on in Ferguson. On top of this being an important current event, I think there are a lot of issues here that are relevant to various areas of philosophical research. But really, these events deserve attention on their own.

When I include my own commentary and judgment, I try to restrict myself to what direct testimony and documentation have claimed and to keep in mind the available counter evidence. But this compilation is not not ‘objective’ in that knee-jerk “well both sides did stuff wrong” way. Yes, some protesters were violent and there was opportunistic looting. But those actions are political and moral peanuts compared to what the police have done. Uneven power dynamics matter. Who escalated the violence and distrust matters. The different obligations that each side has to the other matters. Saying, “well both sides have been violent,” without factoring in the historical and political context of that violence is intellectually and morally lazy.

The entries below with asterisks are the ones I recommend if you don’t have a lot of time.

The info here isn’t exhaustive, and I don’t provide much concerning today’s events. Other aspects that you might want to look up on your own include: comparison with the Occupy movement (in terms of police response), comparison with the Bundy Ranch events, how Palestinians tweeted messages of support for Ferguson and included tips for how to deal with tear gas, the witness accounts given by Dorian Johnson and Tiffany Marshall, more on how journalists were treated and had a hard time accessing protests, and analysis of the police chief’s press conference today where he finally identified the officer who shot Brown (Darren Wilson) and claimed that Brown was a robbery suspect. Brown’s family has things to say about that press conference.

Summary and timeline of events:

**If you want to read just one comprehensive overview of events in Ferguson, I recommend this article by Vox. It’s a pretty lengthy article. It includes a timeline, punctuated with pictures and vine videos (very short) from twitter. It pretty clearly distinguishes between rumors and what we know for sure. It includes explanation of events from today, and briefly discusses at the end some of the context for why events in Ferguson have played out as they have.

There is a google maps that has pinned many important events and locations. When you click on the link just find the cluster of symbols around St. Louis, and zoom into that area. If you click on a symbol on the map, or on its listing on the left side of the screen, it will highlight the location and give you information about the event. You’ll easily be able to identify Florissant Ave (where Brown was killed) because it’s where most of the symbols are clustered.

This post on reddit is a live feed of users reporting events from Ferguson. It is long. I mean, LONG. But if you want to see the nitty gritty of what was going on minute by minute, this is the place to go. Also you can check out #Ferguson on Twitter.


Context and History:

**For a quick summary of Ferguson’s demographics and why there was been so much tension between the citizens of Ferguson and police, Vox has this 2 minute video.

This article shows some of the pictures from Ferguson protests next to pictures from the civil rights movement. When I was watching live feeds on August 13th, I saw cops in military/riot gear, with German Shepherds standing next to them. My exact thoughts were something like, “WTF do they need dogs for? Do they understand how ****** racist that looks to bring dogs to these protests–given our history?”

This picture is becoming one of the most iconic from the events.


Journalism Coverage:

A collection of pictures from events. If #22 was in black and white, I would think it’s from the 60s.

There was a really important change between Weds night and Thurs night. To get a sense of that change, you can watch these live feed recordings.

This is one of the feeds I was watching on August 13th (Wed). It’s about 30 mins in total, but police actions escalate quickly and the journalist recording the video does a good job of narrating what’s happening, even as he has to start running. You’ll see tear gas (I think it’s tear gas) being thrown onto people’s property (around 11:00).

Just to note, given pictures and people’s first hand accounts, there was at least one molotov cocktail thrown Weds night.

Now you can watch this video from August 14th (Thurs). It’s long, but really you can just skim through it to get the sense that for the whole hour, cars are honking in support and people are walking around with signs. That is the same street where the night before there was tear gas, armorer vehicles forming a blockade, police with sniper rifles, etc.  The first picture on this article (with the train) sums up how wildly different Thurs was from Wed.

**I also highly recommend this report by Elon James White, who is a political and cultural commentator / internet radio host from NYC (with a background in comedy, I believe), who went down to Ferguson with his two of his co-hosts (Aaron Rand Freeman and Emily Epstein White). If you don’t have a lot of time, I recommend listening to the part where White explains how he got a police officer to aim his gun at him (starts around 14:15). I probably can’t explain what it’s like to listen to one of your favorite podcasters (who normally discusses the news, recipes involving bacon, and super hero movies) talk about him being his sort-of-snarky-but-polite, refuses-to-backdown-from-confrontation self, and getting a *sniper rifle* pointed at him. So I’ll just say listen to the clip. And check out TWIB for good podcasts on news/culture/race/etc.

At least two journalists were arrested on Weds night. This article includes a short (1 min) video recorded by one of the journalists as a police officer (who looks like a soldier) orders him out of McDonalds. He was arrested I think right after that video cuts out.

St. Louis politician Antonio French was also arrested on Weds night. You can check out his twitter feed here.

I’m including one picture on here, because even if all the claims about looting, molotov cocktails, and gunshots are true, this picture still encapsulates why the police’s actions have been so problematic. It is a picture of a sniper rifle laser pointed at a protester’s back. You can see a video of this here (at the bottom of the article, around 1:20). If the police are so nervous (or so cavalier) that they are pointing military-grade weapons at protesters who are not even facing them, something is deeply, deeply wrong.



This post on reddit includes links to responses from the mayor, the governor, Eric Holder (US attorney general), and others. They’re under the heading, “Statements, comments, reports”

Rand Paul wrote this piece in response to the protests in Ferguson. Many people find it notable because of this line: “Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention.” Though, it ends up spending more time talking about the relationship between militarization of police and the size of the federal government than it does about race.

President Obama made these remarks about Ferguson (video). People seem split over whether these remarks influenced later events and whether were empty attempts to appeal to both sides.

Captain Ron Johnson, who was put in charge of security in Ferguson after the police’s militarized reactions Weds night, discusses his concerns with how some information was released on August 15th (today).


“Why I Left Academia: Philosophy’s Homogeneity Needs Rethinking”

Article by Eugene Sun Park (now a filmmaker) on why he left philosophy. 


“The pressure to accept and conform to a narrow conception of philosophy was pervasive. [...] While much of the rest of the academy has evolved to reflect these demographic changes, philosophy remains mired in a narrow conception of the discipline that threatens to marginalize philosophy even further. [...]  I loved studying philosophy, and truly have no regrets about devoting nearly a decade of my life to it. But I also grew tired and frustrated with the profession’s unwillingness to interrogate itself. Eventually, I gave up hope that the discipline would ever change, or that it would change substantially within a timeframe that was useful to me professionally and personally.”


“It’s not that women and minorities are (inexplicably) less interested in the “problems of philosophy”—it’s that women and minorities have not had their fair say in defining what the problems of philosophy are, or what counts as philosophy in the first place.”


For Vegans and vegetarians whose minds are filled with coming semester demands August 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 5:41 pm

Using this site you can find hundreds of recipes, the NY Times says, and you can search by key ingredient. In my experience, the recipes are relatively easy, slightly unusual, and healthy.

Those who don’t have a subscription might be able to find online access through your library.

(From a user of the Oxford comma.)


Contested Terrains: Women of Color, Feminisms, and Geopolitics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 2:17 pm

October 1-4, 2015, Sheraton Sand Key Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida

Submission deadline: February 27, 2015

Keynote speakers:

Kimberlé Crenshaw, Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia and founder of the African-American Policy Forum. An international activist, Crenshaw is well known for her foundational scholarly work on intersectionality and critical race theory. Professor Crenshaw’s publications include Critical Race Theory (edited by Crenshaw, et al., 1995) and Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (with Matsuda, et al., 1993). Her work on race and gender was influential in drafting the equality clause in the South African Constitution and she helped facilitate the inclusion of gender in the U.N. World Conference on Racism Declaration. In the U.S., she served as a member of the National Science Foundation’s committee to research violence against women and assisted the legal team representing Anita Hill.

Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. A founding member of RACE (Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity) and a past President of Canada’s National Action Committee on the status of Women, Thobani’s research focuses on critical race, postcolonial and feminist theory, globalization, citizenship, migration, Muslim women, the War on Terror and media. Professor Thobani is the author of Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2007) and numerous other works. As a public intellectual, Thobani is well known for her vocal opposition to Canadian support of the U.S. led invasion into Afghanistan.

Invited Sessions:
• Invited Panel honoring the work of María Lugones
• Invited Panel on U.S. Wars/Imperialism and the Women Within

FEAST encourages submissions related to this year’s theme. However, papers on all topics within the areas of feminist ethics and social theory are welcome.

Description of this year’s theme:

Engaging in feminist theory in the 21st century requires placing emphasis on the ‘where’ of its production. Such an emphasis includes considering the situated perspectives and geopolitical locations out of which a given theory is produced. Another equally important part of contemporary engagement in feminist theory concerns appreciating the ways that theory travels and changes through the traveling. The notion of contested terrains is invoked to refer to the many junctures of perspective, location and travel with which feminist theory must contend in an era of multinational reception.

For example, it is at the juncture of perspective, location, and travel that one finds the often contested political identifier “women of color.” The term is contested not only because there is no singular “woman of color” perspective and/or location, but also because of the diversity of possible stories of travel in and out of ‘women of color’ spaces. As Jacqui Alexander explains, one is not born but becomes a woman of color. That “becoming” is by no means a given and, for many, ‘woman of color’ is not a personal identifier. The term is contested, and its meaning is continually recreated through the contesting.

Feminism is practiced and theorized within contested terrains in a transnational world. Understanding the connections and disputes created by borders, castes, classes, and other boundaries is at the heart of geopolitics. Feminist geopolitical analyses concern the spaces, places, relations of power, and interchange among feminists in local, regional and global contexts, paying careful attention to the locations out of which we theorize and practice feminism(s).

This year’s FEAST conference invites submissions that take up this notion of contested terrains in relation to women of color, feminism, and geopolitics. We welcome papers that take both theoretical and practical approaches to these issues and related issues in feminist ethics, epistemology, political and social theory more broadly construed.

Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to:

• Situated knowledges, including the racialized terrains of knowledge production
• Intersectional theories of space and place
• “Women of color,” “third world women,” “women of the global South,” “postcolonial women” and other descriptors as contested identifications
• Tensions between White/US feminism, women of color feminisms, third world feminisms, and transnational feminisms
• Women’s agency and autonomy as contested feminist assumptions
• Contested conceptions of home and homelands
• The different social locations and embodied experiences of racism
• Perspectives on trauma and violence, terrorism and conspiracy, security and danger
• The geopolitics of mobility and immobility, including tourism, migration, detention and deportation
• Gatekeeping geographies, technologies of surveillance and border patrols
• The geopolitics of intimacy, including the racialized affective labor of mail order brides, transracially and transnationally adopted children and migrant domestic workers
• Geopolitical analyses of neo-liberalism, global capitalism and militarism, including their effects on women of color
• Ecofeminisms and resource conflicts
• Solidarity movements among diverse groups of women of color and white feminists

Call for abstracts: Difficult Conversations

A signature event of FEAST conferences is a lunch-time “Difficult Conversation” that focuses on an important, challenging, and under-theorized topic related to feminist ethics or social theory.

In keeping with this year’s theme of Contested Terrains, this year our topic for the difficult conversation panel is Damage by Allies. This conversation hopes to provide an environment conducive to dialogue for and among women of color and white academics concerning the harm that can be done by well-meaning feminist allies who, despite possible commonalities of values, can sometimes undermine the viewpoints and work of women of color. We hope that women of color will be able to bring to light both subtle and obvious experiences of damage done by allies and open a discussion about how this might be avoided or dealt with effectively in the future.

We are soliciting abstracts (see below) that address, in both North American and transnational contexts: concrete experiences of the sorts of hardship that academics and activists of color experience at the hands of allies; well-intentioned but misplaced pedagogical and political strategies; strategies for being a better ally to marginalized peoples in academia and elsewhere; strategies for women of color to respond to misplaced attempts at solidarity; and effective transnational activism that does not undermine the agency of its intended beneficiaries.

Submission Guidelines

Please send your submission, in one document (a Word file, please, so that abstracts can be posted), to FEAST2015submissions@ucf.edu by February 27, 2015. In the body of the email message, please include: your paper or panel title, name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, surface mail address, and phone number. All submissions will be anonymously reviewed.

Individual Papers
Please submit a completed paper of no more than 3000 words, along with an abstract of 100-250 words, for anonymous review. Your document must include: paper title, abstract of 100-250 words, and your paper, with no identifying information. The word count (max. 3000) should appear on the top of the first page of your paper.

Please clearly mark your submission as a panel submission both in the body of the e-mail and on the submission itself. Your submission should include the panel title and all three abstracts and papers in one document, along with word counts (no more than 3000 for each paper).

Difficult Conversations and other non-paper submissions (e.g., workshops, discussions, etc.)
Please submit an abstract with a detailed description (500-750 words).
Please clearly indicate the type of submission (Difficult Conversation, workshop, roundtable discussion, etc.) both in the body of your e-mail and on the submission itself.

For more information on FEAST or to see programs from previous conferences, go to: http://www.afeast.org

Questions on this conference or the submission process may be directed to the Program Chairs, Ranjoo Herr (rherr@bentley.edu) and/or Shelley Park (Shelley.Park@ucf.edu).



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