CFP: Feminist Decolonial Politics Workshop

We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Feminist Decolonial Politics Workshop. This is the fourth annual Feminist Decolonial Politics Workshop, and we are looking forward to being able to engage this year with the work of Dr. Saidiya Hartman, including Lose Your Mother (2007) and Scenes of Subjection (1997).

The 2018 Feminist Decolonial Politics Workshop will take place in Charlotte NC from Tuesday May 22nd until Friday May 25th. Presentations will take place on the first three days of the workshop, leaving the last day open for workshops and local activities.

Anyone interested in participating in the workshop should submit an application that includes (a) a CV and (b) a cover letter stating why they are interested in the workshop. A rolling review of applications will begin on February 1st, 2018. This workshop is intended primarily for graduate students, junior scholars, untenured faculty, or independent scholars, but we encourage all to apply. Applications should be sent directly to epaquet1@uncc.edu.

In an attempt to ensure that those who are underfunded or lack adequate financial support are able to participate, travel funding is available. Anyone who is in need of travel funding is asked to submit a statement of need along with their application, as well as a budget detailing how they would use the funds. For full consideration for travel funds, please apply by February 1st, 2018.

You can find out more information about the workshop on the website. https://decolonialthoughtworkshop.wordpress.com/

Symbolic Conscription, Part II

Last year I wrote a post reflecting my view that Rebecca Tuvel had been drafted as symbolic stand-in for a host of disciplinary issues and now I find my reactions much the same regarding the recent essay and guest post by Shen-yi Liao over at Daily Nous. Some details, first.

Professor Liao posted an essay describing his recent efforts to create a novel introduction to philosophy course, one that engaged students in much recent work on biases, silencing, slurs, and a cluster of related issues. Liao detailed some of the responses from students he received and was moved to post about it in part because he took these responses as evidence that pre-college assumptions about what philosophy is and can do are strong – indeed, that students may arrive at college with assumptions about the discipline that work to promote less interest in demographically underrepresented students. So, the post had a twofold purpose: Share some creative pedagogy and query how intro courses might shake loose assumptions that discourage participation by a broader range of students.

Read More »

CFA by March 15: Insiders and Outsiders

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS for CSWIP at Cape Breton University, September 28-30, 2018
Feminist Philosophy: Insiders and Outsiders

 Keynote address: Professor Alice Crary (Oxford), Feminist Theory as an Exercise of Encountering the World Inside Ethics.

We invite papers and panel proposals from all areas of philosophy and philosophical approaches lying within or outside feminist philosophy. While feminist philosophy challenges traditional theoretical methods those challenges can lead to an array of tensions and conflicts within feminist philosophy and between feminist and mainstream philosophy. Within pluralist approaches that may strengthen or reject accepted forms of philosophical critique, who are rendered outsiders and who become insiders? Who can wield forms of power others cannot and who can bring philosophy to new areas of discovery? This conference asks participants to consider how feminist philosophy might further inform or become more informed by traditional and alternative theory and practice. Papers and panels are invited to respond, however broadly, to the following sorts of questions:

• What are the limits of engaging in feminist philosophy? What challenges do feminist philosophical discourse and theory face? How might philosophy become more inclusive of different theoretical approaches, or more protective of established feminist methods? Is there an obligation for philosophers to be inclusive of theoretical or representational diversity?

• What forms of pedagogy enhance or limit feminist philosophy and its aims to recognize and encourage inclusivity? How might technology remove or increase pedagogical obstacles? How best can academics serve as models and mentors to the wider community or to recent and upcoming graduates?

• How should philosophers orient feminist approaches to core philosophical topics and issues? Can feminist philosophy better respond to historical theory and method, or better represent its own history and proponents?

• How can philosophy respond more publicly and proactively toward current pressing moral, social, and political issues such as violence against women, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry, genocide, infanticide, sexual assault, or other serious threats to girls’ and women’s lives? What empirically grounded approaches might complement or inspire such responsiveness? How can philosophers better respond through social engagement, public policy, or community activism?

• How might feminist philosophy or other critical approaches (e.g. race, disability, or queer theory) challenge the scope of traditional philosophical topics and issues (perhaps through including non-human animals in theorizing or through challenging theory or method in light of practical issues and concerns)?

Abstracts Due: March 15, 2018 (1000w)

Responses to Submissions: April 30, 2018

Conference Date: September 28-30, 2018

Submit to: CSWIPCBU2018 at gmail dot com

  1. Please email the abstract as a double-spaced document in Word, prepared for fully anonymous review.
  2. Rooms are wheelchair accessible. Speakers and panellists will use microphones. There will be a quiet room. Baby change tables are available in washrooms. CART for the keynote address will be provided (additional CART use pending funding and requirement). Childcare is available if needed, please indicate by July 15, 2018.
  3. We encourage all graduate students to submit their papers for consideration for the 2018 Jean Harvey Student Award. To do so, please indicate in the body of your email that you would like for the paper to be considered. In that case, the completed paper, not exceeding 3000 words and prepared for anonymous review, must be submitted by 12am EST July 15, 2018.

CFP: SF Bay Area FAP

The San Francisco Bay Area Feminism and Philosophy workshop (BayFAP) is seeking contributions. BayFAP is a group of San Francisco Bay Area scholars in philosophy (and closely related fields) interested in feminist philosophy. We usually meet twice a semester at the University of San Francisco. The standard format is to have a speaker present their work in progress on some topic in the broad area of feminism and philosophy. Ordinarily, papers are circulated in advance to allow maximum time for discussion. If you work in (or are visiting) the Bay Area and would like to have your work discussed at BayFAP, please email us at: bayfapworkshop@gmail.com

Spring 2018 dates: Saturday February 3, 10am-12:00pm and Saturday April 7, 10am-12:00pm. Coffee, tea and vegan donuts will be served. Unfortunately we don’t have funding to cover travel expenses, etc.

Rebecca Mason, co-organizer
Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco

Saray Ayala, co-organizer
Assistant Professor, Sacramento State University

The #MeToo movement as overdone political Correctness

Perhaps people who work to be on the right side of the truth sometimes just let themselves go off the rails. That could account for a fairly vile op-ed that appeared in the NYT yesterday.

I wrote a response which the Times did print. They also told me how to send off as a more formal letter to the editor. Here is that version:

Merkin’s op-ed piece:

Dear Editor,
The appearance of this article is puzzling. On Dec 29th, an article in the NYTimes held that “sexual harassment has been endemic in blue-collar workplaces from the moment that women entered them and continues to this day, according to interviews with more than a dozen employment lawyers, academics and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission workers, as well as dozens of women who described such incidents.” Yet, without any research beyond discussions in supermarket lines, Merkin maintains that those of us not at the Golden Globes think the #MeToo movement is just political correctness that’s gotten out of hand. What happened?
Clearly, Merkin and her sources are not blue-collar workers. This perhaps makes it even more likely that they’ve had the training – which comes from all angles in our society – that women are supposed to please men, as a slightly older op-ed piece claimed.
She says, “The women I know — of all ages — have responded by and large with a mixture of slightly horrified excitement (bordering on titillation) as to who will be the next man accused and overt disbelief.” The women I know have very different perspectives. To see some of them, try beingawomaninphilosophy.wordpress.com or Feministphilosophers.wordpress.com.

Anne Jacobson
Houston, Texas, & Oxford, England.
713-xxx-xxxx

The author is a senior research fellow at Somerville College, Oxford.

It could be much, much worse.

You hate the cat calls from construction sites. And the shouted “Hey, shake it for us, baby!” It could be much, much worse. You could work on a construction site.

From the NY Times:

Women in [blue-collar] jobs also often endure deliberate humiliations like not having bathrooms provided for them on construction sites. They can be blacklisted in construction or similar fields where tight networks and referrals are crucial to win the next job.
Construction culture has a range of humor more direct and crass than other workplaces, ” Soph Davenberry, a sheet metal worker in Burien, Wash., wrote. “It’s a tough balance to gain trust and acceptance while staying respectful, yet not come across as politically correct.”

And as we saw in the post below this, retaliation for getting it wrong can leave one feeling ones’ life is threatened.

The NY Times Asked Women in Blue-Collar Workplaces About Harassment.

At least in academia, feeling one’s life is threatened is relatively rare, disturbed gun carrying students and brutal rapists aside. Blue-collar work can be different. What can academic feminists do?

A woman on a repair crew was deliberately stranded on top of a 200-foot wind turbine by her male co-workers after enduring months of lewd taunts. An aerospace worker got the nickname Bird Seed because men flocked around her like pigeons. Men dropped tools on female co-workers or deliberately turned on electrical power when they began working on lines.

Sexual harassment has been endemic in blue-collar workplaces from the moment that women entered them and continues to this day, according to interviews with more than a dozen employment lawyers, academics and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission workers, as well as dozens of women who described such incidents. More than 80 women in these fields responded to a call for accounts of sexual harassment. They, along with several others interviewed, cited sustained, even dangerous, abuse in workplaces from factories to shipyards, mines to construction sites…

Physical danger is one issue that sets sexual harassment in blue-collar environments apart; unions, torn between representing the accuser and the accused, are another.

The situation of so many women seems so awful. We do teach some of their abusers. We can organize conferences to increase community awareness. We can write academic books and less formal pieces.

Could we get some part of our professional organizations to highlight work already done? And to find ways to increase attention to such problems?

Two models of forgiveness

Let me start off by acknowledging that some of our readers have thought more deeply about forgiveness than I have. And everyone who wants to should join in and comment.

The first form of forgiveness seems principally or even entirely internal to the victim. It may result in beneficent action toward a transgressor, but the transformation need only be in the victim.

The second comes from an article asking about victims of sexual assault and forgiveness of the transgressors. What is given is the first step of three in a standard conception of forgiveness from Judaism. Here the change starts with a change in the transgressor.

(1) Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Wikipedia

Or

(2) From the NY Times:

Judaism offers a prescription for restorative rather than punitive justice that I think can provide a template for all of us — not just Jews — in determining what it should take to readmit transgressors into public life.
In Judaism, a religion that prizes deeds over faith, atonement is not an easy process. And why should it be? It is designed to effect nothing less than personal transformation. This is why the Hebrew word for “atonement” is “teshuva,” or return — as in a return to your higher self, a return to your essential goodness, a return to recognizing your own dignity and the dignity of others.
The repentance process begins with an “accounting of the soul” (heshbon ha’nefesh), an examination of how one has failed or fallen short. God can forgive sins against God, but notably, sins between people can be forgiven only by the aggrieved.

I’m concerned about the first. I think there are a number of negative feelings one can have toward or about others: envy, jealousy, anger or even hatred. Taking oneself through the transformation of (1) may make one a better person to be around, but if it involves letting the transgressor off the hook, it may be less than a good thing. It does not seem right to let racists off the hook, for example.

I remained puzzled by exhortations to foregive. Perhaps by self-transformation the transgressor can re-earn the right to one’s regard. But in other cases? What do you think?