Feminist Philosophy in Non-Feminist Journals

In a discussion about publication success and failure in feminist philosophy, on the SWIP listserve (I am not copying it here, because that might violate the rules of the listserve), one contributor comments that as an editor of a mainstream journal, she did not receive papers in feminist philosophy.  She thinks that feminist philosophers may be cutting themselves off from mainstream journals–to the detriment of the profession, the journals, and ourselves.I’m writing because I found her comments surprising.   Speaking for myself, I can fairly readily get non-feminist papers published in mainstream journals, but I only rarely write papers like that.  But almost never has my feminist stuff been accepted by mainstream journals.  Every time I write a new paper that I’m quite proud of, I try sending it out, first to some of the most selective journals, and then, as the rejections roll in, I send it out to less selective ones.  Usually without success. As a result, many of my publications are either books, or invited chapters in books.I feel I’m doing my bit by trying to get my work into mainstream journals, but how long can one go on doing that, without feeling utterly discouraged?  The condescending comments I’ve received from reviewers at mainstream journals are not exactly the sort of thing to provide philosophical inspiration.

2 thoughts on “Feminist Philosophy in Non-Feminist Journals

  1. I was also surprised by that post. I’ve had the same experiences you’ve had, Introvertica– it’s been relatively easy to publish non-feminist work, but when I submit feminist work to mainstream journals it gets rejected over and over. Moreover, it gets rejected without even going to a referee, something that doesn’t happen with my non-feminist work. But perhaps our experiences are consistent with what the editor reports. Here’s one possible scenario: There aren’t many editors like her, so most feminist philosophers have our experience, then give up on mainstream journals. Result: very few feminist submissions to mainstream journals. I do think that those of us with secure jobs have something of an obligation to keep trying the mainstream journals (as long as this remains compatible with our sanity!). Getting papers in them will help to mainstream feminist philosophy, which really needs doing.

  2. Quite right, Jender; I agree that those with secure jobs have this obligation.
    My one reservation (other than the sanity issue) would be that people who are doing original work (which so much of feminist philosophy is), and those who are doing applied philosophy and responding to ongoing issues in, say, environmental ethics or bioethics, need to get their work published quickly, or it may well become out of date. That mitigates against the route of trying one mainstream journal after another for any length of time.

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