CFP: SWIP UK at Joint Sessions 2008

This CFP is just out. Please note that papers can be given by women, or men, and speakers need not be from or in philosophy departments in the UK. The CFP just asks for any papers that address any area of interest to women in philosophy.



At the 2008 Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, there will be a SWIP organised session of papers devoted to topics in any area of interest to women in philosophy.

We solicit full papers, suitable to be delivered in no more than 20 minutes with a further 10-15 minutes for discussion. We encourage submissions from graduate students and SWIP UK will explore the possibility of providing bursaries for speakers who are unable to secure conference funding. (As with all the open sessions, papers accepted for this session will not be published in the Supplementary Volume of the Aristotelian Society. )

The closing date for submissions is *1st February 2008*. We expect to make decisions on whether papers have been accepted by the end of March 2008.

Please make sure that your submission is suitable for anonymous reviewing attaching a separate sheet with your name and contact details. Email submissions are preferred; please send your full paper, with an abstract, as either .doc or .pdf attachment to Dawn Phillips, at
or send a hard copy to:
Dr Dawn Phillips, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.

For further information, please contact Jules Holroyd at

For more information on SWIP UK, see
For more on the Joint Session, see

Philosophers whose papers are accepted must be or become subscribing members of either the Aristotelian Society or the Mind Association (the former is free for students/£3 min for non-students). For details on how to join the Aristotelian Society, see
For the Mind association, see


CFP: Gender/Transgender, Sexuality, The Body and Identity

Note tight deadline:



WUN Gender Studies Global Network  

International Workshop


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

3rd/4th of April 2008 

Call for Papers  The aim of this two-day event is to bring together researchers from different disciplines (including PhD students) who work on questions of 

gender/transgender, sexuality, the body and identity 

with the view of identifying common interests and initiating future international research projects. Depending on the number of participants, we will have plenary sessions and/or different subgroups for individual presentations of 15 to 20 minutes. If you would like to take part, please send the title of your presentation plus an abstract of about 100 words and a brief version of your biographical/academic details by

15 January 2008 to: 

Prof. Dr. Eveline KilianHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinInstitut für Anglistik und AmerikanistikUnter den Linden 6D-10099 BerlinGermanyEmail: eveline.kilian AT (send details by e-mail, if possible)

Under-Represented Groups and Stereotype Threat

There has been a lot of excellent discussion lately about the under-representation of certain groups in philosophy, and what can be done about it.  (This post gives links to some of it.)  One force which is very likely to play a role in this (both as partial cause and effect) is Stereotype Threat. Stereotype Threat is a very well-confirmed phenomenon, in which people from groups stereotypically expected to perform badly on a task perform in stereotype-confirming ways if they are reminded of their group membership.  (See Stoat’s post here.) For example, women asked to indicate their sex at the beginning of a math exam do worse on the exam than women not asked to do this.  It’s not hard to see how this could have effects in philosophy.  Women are stereotypically bad at e.g. logic, so being reminded of their sex could worsen their logic performance.  Surely, you may argue, nobody asks women to indicate their sex at the top of a logic exam.  Absolutely right, but there’s more than one way to be reminded of one’s sex, and being one of very few women in a room certainly has that effect.  (As does being in a room full of people who go to men-only events together, hearing the phrase ‘lady academic’, being told that one is ‘an affirmative action hire’, to cite anecdotes from recent comments. For more on the way this works, see a post from JJ.)  I use women as my example, but there are similar destructive stereotypes about other groups. It’s heartening to read, then, at Mixing Memory, that there are some very easy and effective ways to combat Stereotype Threat.  Here’s one example:

Good et al. had advanced college calculus students take a practice exam that they were told would test their readiness for the upcoming real exam, and would also get them extra credit based on their score. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: the reduced-threat condition, in which they were told that the exam had been thoroughly tested, and had shown no gender differences, and the control condition, in which gender wasn’t mentioned (gender stereotypes in math are pervasive, so it’s likely simply taking a test will activate them). Male participants performed equally well in both conditions, while female participants performed significantly worse in the control condition than in the reduced-threat condition. In fact, while female participants in the control condition performed worse than male participants, the female participants in the reduced-threat condition performed better than all of the male participants.    

It would be great if we could come up with easy ways, appropriate for teaching philosophy, to reduce stereotype threat. I’d love to hear any ideas that folks have. One potential problem that occurs to me is that I wouldn’t want to just focus on sex/gender stereotypes. But it’s hard to imagine a non-clunky way to combat all the many stereotypes that might affect our students. Suggestions?  One thing I find myself wondering is whether teaching people about stereotype threat could help make them less susceptible to it.  Has this been tried?