All-female reading lists?

Brian Weatherson has a nice post up, ruminating on the maleness of reading lists for intro philosophy courses.

… I had the idea the other day of putting together a syllabus for an intro philosophy class that only featured female authors. I’ve seen several such classes with all male reading lists, but I’d never seen an all female one. I’m interested in why so many intro classes in philosophy have an uneven gender balance, and one hypothesis is that (some) women are put off by all-male reading lists.

So I went to a few prominent anthologies used in intro teaching, and thought I’d start making lists of all the papers by women I found in them. I’m really bad at telling which papers will work in intro classes, so I use those big anthologies a lot as a guide to what I can get away with teaching. But I quit fairly soon after I started down that road, because it clearly wasn’t going to help.

All the anthologies I looked at had not a single paper by a woman that wasn’t on ethics. Admittedly I only looked at a handful of readers, and if I’d kept searching I would have found one or two papers by women on areas other than ethics that had been included in the standard readers. But still, I think this is a bit terrible, especially in readers with 100 or so articles.

So instead I started thinking about what an intro ethics course with only female authors would look like. And since there are lots of readers designed just for ethics courses, I thought they would be a better place to get started.

Read on, to find what he discovered.

Among other things, Weatherson’s tale shows the importance of this project.

One thought on “All-female reading lists?

  1. I looked at the intro reader edited by Jennifer Hornsby along w/ Guttenplan and Janaway and found two articles by women- one on Aesthetics by Susan Feagin and one on action theory by Anscombe. (there is commentary on all readings and I suppose much of this is by Hornsby, so that’s another contribution.) But I was surprised not to see more women included in this anthology. There are surely good papers by women in every area of philosophy that could possibly be included in such an anthology (though I admit having a hard time knowing what beginners will find accessible.) Off the top of my head I’d include some things by Haack on epistemology, L.R. Baker on personal identity, Haslanger on metaphysics, L. Antony on mind and language, Hornsby on action, mind and language, Haack or Edgington on philosophy of logic, Longino on philosophy of science (and metaphysics), among many others. (These names picked just because I can think of papers in these areas that seem to me that they could be reasonably accessible and interesting to beginners.)

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