Freedman on Galloway, Boyden and Implicit Misogyny

In recent months, the Canadian literary and academic worlds have been rocked by sexual harassment allegations against former UBC Creative Writing Program Chair Steven Galloway. In brief, UBC fired Galloway, whereupon CanLit golden boy Joseph Boyden published an open letter to UBC  deploring what he saw as a breach of due process in the case. The letter was signed by 88 luminaries of Canadian literature (including, most notably, feminist author Margaret Atwood). A Twitter war ensued.

As Canadian feminist philosopher Karyn Freedman observes, the complainants in the case have been effaced from the public discussion.

Today is Canada’s s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women — a day, it bears observing that marks the anniversary of the so-called Montréal Massacre, in which 14 women Engineering and Science students were murdered for being women. To mark the day, Freedman has published a piece on HuffPo Canada, decrying the implicit misogyny that led to the effacement of Galloway’s accusers, and urging Boyden and his fellow signatories to retract the letter.

You can read Freedman’s post here.

Authorianism and the role of Trump’s lies

An excellent discussion.

But in totalitarian and authoritarian politics, there seems to be something special about the lie, partly because so much of politics is about speech (and especially public speech) in the first place. Based on the evidence of his presidential campaign, I think Donald Trump understands this instinctively, and he relished the power to make his subordinates repeat his clearly outlandish lies in public. Every Sunday he provided fresh absurdities that Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Kellyanne Conway repeated on the talk shows. They didn’t persuade anyone who were strategically important to persuade; the audience for Meet the Press isn’t low-information, undecided, working-class voters, and the kinds of people who did watch those shows knew the claims were false. But making his surrogates repeat the lies compromised them; that tied them to him. And it degraded them, and made clear where power lay….

We hear a lot about the distraction problem. Trump’s more outrageous tweets eat up the news cycle and distract from hard news, like his massive conflicts of financial interest, or his massive fraud in the Trump University case. And it is important not to allow Twitter dustups to conceal real-world misconduct. But insisting on the difference between truth and lies is itself a part of the defense of freedom. Orwell, Arendt, and Havel teach us that the power to tell public lies and to have them repeated is evidence of, and a tool for the expansion of, a power that free people should resist and refuse. That is not a distraction.

 

An interview with Sally Haslanger!

At What is it Like to be a Philosopher.

In this interview, Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks about growing up in Shreveport during Jim Crow, the culture shock and moving to Connecticut, reading Sherlock Holmes, Little Women, and talking about the metaphysics of Christian Science with her parents, the problem of evil, field hockey, ‘dropping out’ of high school, majoring in anthropology, studio art, dance, and then philosophy and religion, becoming familiar with Continental philosophy, travelling in the Middle East and studying the Bharathanatayam, coming back to the states and studying logic and metaphysics with Reeve and Bealer, hiking Mt. Hood, working with Grice and Searle at UC Berkley, meeting her spouse, facing down UCB lawyers with Catherine McKinnon, the death of her mother during grad school, how yoga helped her cope,  the costs of detachment, how her political interests merged with her interest in metaphysics, fly fishing, the age old hose and heels versus slacks debate, Ivy League and the stereotype threat, the effect her kids have had on her philosophy, the unfairness of philosophy, receiving human excrement in the mail, Hillary and Trump (note: this interview was conducted before the election), and her last meal.

NEH Summer Institute: Philosophy and Sexual Violence

The application deadline is March 1 for the NEH Summer Institute, “Diverse Philosophical Approaches to Sexual Violence,” directed by Ann J. Cahill and to be held at Elon University in North Carolina. Feminist philosophers will appreciate the central themes including embodiment, consent, and the role of the state! The visiting scholars contributing to the Institute include Debra Bergoffen, Susan Brison, Louise du Toit, Nicola Gavey, Renée Heberle, and Sarah Clark Miller.

Texas: Funerals for abortions, miscarriages

Even when “the embryo is so small as to be invisible,” as David Brown, a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, explained over the phone, the doctor or health care provider will still have to treat it like a dead person and hold some kind of burial or cremation for it. …

“It may dissuade women who need medical care from seeking medical treatment,” he noted.

The law exempts women who abort or miscarry at home, after all. If a woman starts to miscarry at home, but knows she may be forced to pay for funeral services if she goes to a hospital for help, she might stay at home and hope that the failing pregnancy works itself out on its own.

Read the whole grim story.

UNC Compass

UNC Compass is a workshop for students who are underrepresented in philosophy (with respect to race, gender, sexuality, ability, income, etc) and interested in pursuing graduate studies in philosophy. Selected students will attend reading group-style seminars, attend faculty panel lunches, and have the chance to connect with other undergraduate/MA level philosophers. Food, travel, and hotel will be provided.

The next workshop will take place on February 11-12, 2017. Completed applications are due ASAP—Deadline extended!

Here is the application for the 2017 workshop. Visit our website http://compass.web.unc.edu/ for more details! For questions, please email compassunc@gmail.com.

CFP: The Profession We Want: Practical Efforts to Improve Philosophy

Call for Papers: The Profession We Want: Practical Ways to Improve Philosophy

A conference organised by the Society for Women in Philosophy UK and the British Philosophical Association

Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th May

Arthur Lewis Building, Bridgeford Street, Manchester, M13 9PL.

The discipline of philosophy has for a long time been a needlessly difficult environment for women and the members of other marginalised and/or minoritised groups (including, but not limited to, groups marginalised/minoritised on the basis of race, class, disability status, and sexual orientation). Some progress has been made, especially over the last few years, in understanding and responding to the causes and consequences of this fact. In the UK, this includes the success of the BPA-SWIP Good Practice Scheme, the expansion of Athena Swan scheme to philosophy and other humanistic disciplines in the UK, and the forthcoming introduction of the Race Equality Charter. Other encouraging signs include initiatives made by some departments, student groups, journals, and learned societies. In this context of understanding and change, SWIP is seeking to lay further foundations for progress by identifying effective ways to practically respond to these problems at a departmental, national and disciplinary level. This crucially involves identifying effective strategies, implementing urgent actions, and allocating specific tasks to organizations, groups or individuals who are in a position to monitor and develop them. This conference is devoted to these aims. As well as offering theoretical resources, we are interested in talks and sessions with a more practical character. Accordingly, the second afternoon of the conference will be devoted to a two-part collaborative planning session. The first half of this session will aim to identify actions of immediate priority and strategies for implementing these, and the second half will aim to establish which organizations, groups or individuals are best able to take these on and how they can be supported to carry them out.

Keynote Speaker: Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma)

 

Submissions

Submission Deadline: Wednesday the 1st of February

We invite submissions that address one or both of the following aims:

  • To promote the improvement of the profession, for example by assessing strategies and techniques; identifying, pooling and disseminating resources; and fostering the development of relevant skills.
  • To provide practical support for those who have been or who may be negatively impacted by the problems affecting the profession, including mentoring, advising, and skill-sharing.

Submissions could take a variety of forms. We welcome each of the following:

  • Traditional philosophical papers on relevant topics. These might include implicit bias, stereotype threat, syllabus diversification, alternative histories, structural injustice, and norms of philosophical practice. We welcome papers with an empirical component, papers that take an intersectional approach, and papers that focus on the specific issues raised by a particular axis of marginalisation/minoritisation. Papers should be suitable for presentation in 20 minutes.
  • Symposia and roundtable discussions. These could feature any number of participants. They should be no longer than an hour and a half.
  • Practical workshops and participatory sessions. These could take a variety of forms, and could be directed towards either or both of the workshop aims. Examples of the sorts of proposals we welcome include sessions aimed at skills building and sharing, sessions aimed at collaborative assessment of proposals for action, sessions aimed at disseminating information about resources and organizations, problem based sessions, and facilitated discussions. They should be no longer and an hour and a half.

Submissions for individual papers should take the form of an abstract and should be no more than 750 words long. Submissions for symposia, roundtables, practical workshops, and participatory sessions should be no more than 1000 words, and should explain the aims and content of the session and the desired length of the session (up to a maximum of an hour and a half).

We welcome submissions for individuals, groups, and organizations. Individual and group submissions should be suitable for anonymous review; submissions from organizations can be anonymised or not at the preference of the organization and based on practicality.

Submissions should be emailed to tpww2017@gmail.com by Wednesday the 1st of February. We aim to complete the review process by the end of February. (Note: Please use this email address for submissions only; for other enquiries, please contact the organisers directly.)

 

Accessibility

  • Full accessibility information about the venue (Arthur Lewis Building) is available from the DisabledGo website. All of the conference rooms and the quiet room are fully wheelchair-accessible, and there is disabled parking about 50m from the building entrance (Also wheelchair accessible).
  • Please let us know when you register if you require a hearing loop so that we can ensure that we have enough to cover the break-out sessions.
  • The nearest hotel is the Ibis Hotel on Princess Street, which has rooms suitable for those with limited mobility; please call or email the hotel to discuss your requirements with them. It is about 1200m away from the ALB; however the 147 bus is wheelchair-accessible and stops about 20m from the hotel, and maybe 100m from the ALB. If this is unsuitable, you can book a wheelchair-accessible taxi from the hotel reception desk.
  • All mantax taxis are wheelchair accessible. They are the largest taxi company in Manchester so you’re pretty likely to be able to pick one up from the taxi rank at Piccadilly or Oxford Road station; you can also book one by phone or online. The 147 bus also goes from Piccadilly (across the street, under the railway bridge) to the hotel (and from there to the University).
  • There will be a dedicated quiet room available throughout the event.
  • Attendees with any specific access needs are invited to contact the organisers directly with any queries. If you have needs that have cost implications (e.g. BSL interpreter), please get in touch; we may be able to fund this.

The registration fee will be kept as low as possible (current projection: £30 Non-SWIP members, £25 SWIP members and supporters, £10 student/unemployed/under-employed [note: this will be a self-designating category]). The organisers are committed to ensuring that financial considerations do not present a barrier to participation. Where necessary, we will work with participants to try to secure funding to cover travel and accommodation.

For more information, see our web page.

Organisers

Helen Beebee (University of Manchester)

Katharine Jenkins (University of Nottingham)

Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham)

Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield)

Charity and Anonymity

Brian Leiter has recently posted a complaint about the APA Code of Conduct’s recommendations urging caution regarding online anonymity. He targets this blog in particular for criticism (in addition to another blog I have not seen and thus leave aside here in all that follows). He writes:

‘In what possible sense is anonymity “sometimes unavoidable”?  One can either post using one’s name or not.  And what constitutes “judicious” usage of anonymity?   Surely, for example, a blog like Feminist Philosophers with many pseudonymous posters operating for years under their pseudonyms–e.g., “Philodaria,” “Monkey,” “Magical Ersatz,” “Lady Day,” “Prof Manners”–are not using anonymity “judiciously”:  they are using it to shield themselves from being accountable for what they write.  And such anonymity is clearly avoidable, as others (for example, the philosophers Anne Jacobson and Jennifer Saul) post under their own names at the very same blog…. And for those who take the APA Code of Conduct seriously–maybe at least its drafters (about whom more soon) if no one else–do they not have an obligation now to “out” these philosophers using anonymity unjudiciously, and thus in “violation” of the Code?’

I want to take this opportunity to address a few issues attached to the use of anonymity in both blogging and in comments, speaking only for myself and not for the bloggers here as a whole of course.

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