A great conference-FEMMSS

It is useful once in a while to reflect on our successes and celebrate the progress that we have made. While indeed there are too many spaces that exclude women, there is also a growing(?) list of spaces that do not.

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in the third annual conference of the Association of Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies (FEMMSS) which was held in conjunction with The University of South Carolina Women’s and Gender Studies Conference. The conference program is here – lots of excellent women philosophers.

FEMMSS is a relatively new organization. FEMMSS conferences feel safe to me. They are spaces where feminism, in a wide range of forms, is a starting point for discussion.

Does anyone else have suggestions of blogs, conferences, departments or what have you, where women or feminists are actively embraced?

Lesbianism Explained

Or, “Why women are leaving men for other women”. Despite the hilarious title, some good people get interviewed like feminist philosopher Susan Bordo:

“When a taboo is lifted or diminished, it’s going to leave people freer to pursue things,” she says.

“So it makes sense that we would see women, for all sorts of reasons, walking through that door now that the culture has cracked it open. Of course, we shouldn’t imagine that we’re living in a world where all sexual choices are possible. Just look at the cast of ‘The L Word’ and it’s clear that only a certain kind of lesbian — slim and elegant or butch in just the right androgynous way — is acceptable to mainstream culture.”

Thanks, Jender-Parents!


Here’s an interesting article about the perils of tenure. It’s not great for women as the years when one needs to get tenure are also one’s prime years for reproducing. Unsurprisingly, the system developed in the ‘olden’ days when only men were professors. However, the current alternative doesn’t look too hot either: low-paid, sessional teaching which lacks sick pay, pension benefits, and job security. I’m not in the US, so my department has no formal tenure arrangements. But I see the latter phenomenon – people given ten month contracts so they can be continually employed on a temporary basis (someone in continuous employment has to be permanently hired after a certain amount of time); people paid by the hour to teach, resulting in more work, less pay, less security, less benefits; and so on. Some of this seems unavoidable, given the way that jobs are funded – lots of teaching posts come up because someone has obtained research funding, but that only covers teaching replacement for a limited period of time. But it’s certainly the case that the system could be fairer. What do you think?

I should also point out that the low-paid, temporary job thing isn’t great for men either.

Zapata’s legacy

The trial for Angie Zapata’s murder has ended with a very significant result:

A Colorado man was convicted of first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime and sentenced to life in prison for killing a transgender teen he met on an online social networking site…

It was the first time in the nation that a state hate crime statute resulted in a conviction in a transgender person’s murder, the advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said.