Many of us were at the SWIP UK Conference on Embodiment and Identity over the weekend in Hull. I’ll be blogging more about it later, and perhaps some of the rest of us will too! But here I just want to talk methodologies. Feminist philosophers often criticise more mainstream philosophers as not sufficiently open to new methodologies. But I think it’s important to talk a bit about how genuinely difficult it is to engage with methodologies that are not one’s own. I’m a very analytic philosopher, and the SWIP conference gave me quite an immersion in continental philosophy. It was really exciting– lots of great people, lots of fascinating stuff that was very new to me, lots of wonderful energy. But I also spent a lot of time feeling like I was in a different world, with a language I don’t know and a culture that is unfamiliar. Sometimes I couldn’t understand anything at all that was going on. Sometimes, usually when detailed examples were used, I got a lot out of it. But sometimes it was something in between– I kind of got what was going on, or thought I did. Then someone started talking about water having ‘agency’, and everyone in the room was nodding sagely. It was already several replies into a question, and the queue was long, so I decided not to query further. But it gave me a real sense of the difficulty of simply asking people to be more inclusive with regard to methodologies. It’s just HARD to engage with things when you really don’t understand what’s going on– and doubly so when some of the words are ones that you yourself use differently. (If it hadn’t been for that example, I might well not have realised that clearly something different was being meant by the familiar word ‘agency’.) Do others have thoughts, experiences, advice on the topic of crossing this divide?