“Evidence of a toxic environment for women in economics”

A “very disturbing report” has been published on how women and men are discussed in an anonymous online economics forum. From today’s New York Times coverage:

“The 30 words most uniquely associated with discussions of women make for uncomfortable reading … hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.”

The forum is defended by an economics professor at Harvard, who has described it on his blog as “a throwing off of the shackles of political correctness.”

Read more in the New York Times.

Men’s sexual history and rape cases

Rape cases, particularly those involving people who know each other, or who have been drinking/taking drugs, are difficult to prosecute. Juries essentially have to decide whether or not the sex was consensual. The usual way to do this – notoriously – is to consider (amongst other things) the woman’s past sexual history, to try and decide whether she is the sort of woman who is likely to have consented. Now – in what is an obvious, and welcome move – Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has instructed prosecutors to focus more on the man’s sexual history, to assess whether he is the sort of man who is likely to have forced sex on someone without her consent.

This may include situations where an alleged rapist exercised controlling or coercive behaviour towards other women, including previous girlfriends.

There has been growing concern that many male rapists are getting away with their crimes because they are able to convince juries that the sex was consensual.

Victims who are too drunk to consent or give a lucid account of events are also often not believed when they give evidence under cross-examination.

The new move will see evidence collected from a variety of sources including CCTV, social media accounts and testimonies from witnesses, who may have seen the attacker’s behaviour in the hours leading up to the rape.

Ms Saunders said she wanted to see more attention being given to events leading up to an attack, so that juries were able to assess the whole picture.

She said: “We are looking at how to prosecute certain types of cases, the more difficult ones. They tend to involve drugs or drink and people who know each other.”

She said exploring the background of an alleged rapist, would also be key, with their social media history and habits likely to be relevant.

She told the Evening Standard: “Some of it will be if you have already been in a relationship, understanding the dynamics of coercive and controlling behaviour and presenting cases in a way that doesn’t just look at the individual incident.”

She added: “If it’s about drink and drugs in some of them there will have been a targeting element, either by buying drinks or standing back until you pick someone off.”

You can read more here.

A national movement? An addition

Sheet cake for flags and guns?

Maryscott O’Connor on Facebook draws our attention to an extended line of criticism of Fey’s piece. The idea is that it is the height of white privilege to look at the the scene in Charlottesville and start eating cake.

I think I see it differently, but that doesn’t delegitimize people who have found it very offensive.

Sex and socialism: what happens when women’s needs matter

Among the other effects of socialism: twice as many orgasms. In a quite riveting piece, we are told

“.. it was so easy for women before the Wall fell,” Daniela Gruber, East Germany, told me, referring to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. “They had kindergartens and crèches, and they could take maternity leave and have their jobs held for them. I work contract to contract, and don’t have time to get pregnant.”

This generational divide between daughters and mothers who reached adulthood on either side of 1989 supports the idea that women had more fulfilling lives during the Communist era. And they owed this quality of life, in part, to the fact that these regimes saw women’s emancipation as central to advanced “scientific socialist” societies, as they saw themselves.

The author of this fascinating piece, however, thinks we cannot achieve the same situation today. I myself am doubtful of her explanation of the obstacles:

Some liberal feminists in the West grudgingly acknowledged those accomplishments but were critical of the achievements of state socialism because they did not emerge from independent women’s movements, but represented a type of emancipation from above. Many academic feminists today celebrate choice but also embrace a cultural relativism dictated by the imperatives of intersectionality. Any top-down political program that seeks to impose a universalist set of values like equal rights for women is seriously out of fashion.

Registration Open: Bias in Context (#4): Psychological and Structural Explanations of Injustice

Registration is now open for Bias in Context (#4): Psychological and Structural Explanations of Injustice

Bias in Context Edited Poster_2.jpg

October 26 – 27 2017, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Confirmed speakers:

Ásta (Sveinsdóttir)
Glenn Bracey
Jacqueline Chen
Clifton Granby
Adam Hosein
Theresa Lopez & Bryan Chambliss
Meena Krishnamurthy
Kate Manne
Jennifer Mueller

Confirmed poster presenters:

Saray Ayala-Lopez
Rima Basu
César Cabezas
Gabbrielle Johnson
Annette Martin
Katherine Tullman
Nadya Vasilyeva
Jennifer White & Alex Madva

Organized by Erin Beeghly & Jules Holroyd

What is the relationship between psychological and structural explanations of persistent social injustice?

This conference—the final in a series of four (see here and here for earlier events) —considers recent empirical and philosophical work that frames social injustice in terms of individualistic psychological explanations.  Such explanations appeal to phenomena such as prejudice, implicit bias, stereotyping, and stereotype threat, in order to understand persisting inequities in a broad range of contexts, including educational, corporate, medical, and informal social contexts.

A key challenge to these explanations, and to the discourses that incorporate them, maintains that the focus on individual psychology is at best obfuscatory of, and at worst totally irrelevant to, more fundamental causes of injustice, which are institutional and structural. Yet structural explanations face difficulties accommodating the extent to which individual agency is implicated in those problematic structures or institutions. Nor are they well placed to articulate how individual agency might be directed towards changing these structures.

This conference will generate more fully worked-out understandings of the interaction between these two kinds of explanations.  It will also investigate the normative and practical implications of one’s explanatory mode on attempts to address bias via institutional policy, interpersonal intervention, and collective action.

To register and to see specifics of program, as well as to get details about accessibility, go to: http://biasincontext4.weebly.com/programme.html. Deadline for registration is September 24th.

This event is sponsored by the University of Utah’s College of Humanities & the Philosophy Department.

If the UK Media Wrote about the UK like it writes about Latin America…

Some light satire for your Thursday afternoon, but the central point is well-taken.

As the May regime collapses into economic chaos and repression, what hope now for the British people?

Following a disastrous and disputed General election in which she could not secure a democratic mandate, the United Kingdom’s increasingly unpopular authoritarian leader, Theresa May, has resorted to side-stepping the constitution to protect her deeply corrupt and weakened regime.

A massive bribery scheme to buy the loyalty of Far-Right Northern Irish lawmakers and the support of pariah state Saudi Arabia are now all that keep the embattled Autocrat in her Downing Street base.

You can read the full article here.

Hypatia: Why We are Not Weighing In


Many of us have been asked why Feminist Philosophers is not taking a public stance in the Hypatia controversy.  There are several reasons.

 1. We are a group blog.  As individuals, we hold a wide range of opinions on the topic.  There is no view that would be the blog’s view.

2. Some of us are associated in various capacities with either Hypatia or other feminist philosophy journals, and therefore feel it would be inappropriate to weigh in.

But also:

3. Some of us do not feel that online discussion of this issue is doing any good for anyone.  A variety of carefully thought-out positions have already been articulated, and we do not feel that we would have anything useful to add.  Much of the online discussion has only served to cause more pain to people on all sides who are trying their best to do what is right.  We do not want to add to this.  In short, even though we are a blog, we don’t think that online discussion is always useful.  In this case, we think further online discussion is counterproductive, and we’re not going to contribute to it.

Delia Graff Fara (1969-2017)

We are saddened to report the death of Delia Graff Fara.

Delia Graff Fara, a noted professor of philosophy of language at Princeton University, died peacefully at home July 18 after a chronic illness. She was 48.

Fara served on Princeton’s faculty for 11 years. She made exceptional contributions to her field and was a highly engaged member of the philosophy community, her colleagues said.

“Delia was an eminent scholar, an extremely conscientious teacher and an exemplary department citizen,” said Michael Smith, the McCosh Professor of Philosophy and department chair.

You can read the rest of the obituary from the Princeton webpage here.

Jason Stanley also has also written an obituary, posted at the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers, which can be read here.

CFP ends Sep.4 for SAF at Pacific APA

Come to San Diego!     CALL FOR PAPERS
 
SAF session at the PACIFIC APA 2018

San Diego, California, March 28 to April 1, 2018

Deadline for submissions: September 4, 2017.

The Society for Analytical Feminism invites submissions for a session at the 2018 Pacific Division APA meetings.

The Society welcomes papers that examine feminist issues by methods broadly construed as analytic, or discuss the use of analytic philosophical methods as applied to feminist issues. Authors should submit papers appropriate to a 20-minute presentation time. Please delete all self-identifying references from your submission to ensure anonymity.

If you are proposing a panel or author-meets-critics session, we will require the names of all participants in this panel (and titles and abstracts of panel presentations). Panel proposals should be appropriate to a two-hour session.

Send submissions as a word attachment to Kathryn Norlock with the subject line, SAF AT PACIFIC APA, to (kathrynnorlock at gmail dot com), on or before September 4, 2017.

Graduate students or underfunded professionals whose papers are accepted will be eligible for the Society’s $250 Travel Stipend. Please indicate in your email if you fall into one of these categories and wish to be considered for the stipend.

 

Open letter on precarious and short-term contracts

We write as members (existing staff, students, and graduates) of UK humanities departments to object to the proliferation of precarious short-term teaching contracts across UKHE institutions. As the UCU has reported, nearly half of UK universities now use zero-hours contracts to deliver teaching, and more than two-thirds of research staff are on fixed term contracts.

We recognise the need for short-term contracts in limited contexts; we also recognise that such contracts can sometimes provide early career academics with useful experience on the road to more permanent positions; however, this can only be the case if such contracts are not precarious, and if the temporary staff members are treated ethically.

A ‘precarious’ short-term contract may:

– last less than 12 months and/or be less than 1.0 FTE
– require an appointee to undertake a full teaching load with no paid time allocated to research
– require an appointee to take the summer months as ‘unpaid leave’
– require an appointee to prepare for the post in his/her own time prior to appointment
– require an appointee to take up the position on a few days’ notice.

Unethical treatment of appointees while they are in post regularly compounds the disadvantages of these terms.

You can read the full text of the letter here.