Upcoming Hiatus for What is it Like to be a Woman in Philosophy

From my other blog:

We’ve had an enormous flood of stories coming in. We have now have a wonderful, terrible online repository of anecdotes showing a variety of things– the truly horrible sexism and abuse that are still out there in philosophy, the subtler problems and the ways that good intentions can backfire. Equally importantly, though, we’ve also had a flood of stories about good things– which can be found under Do Try This at Home.

We’ve also heard from many people who are overwhelmed by this flood. And it seems to us that it might be productive to take a break from the story-telling for a while, giving people a chance to reflect and discuss the stories that have been told.

Our plan, then, is to stop accepting stories for a while on 10 December. We’re not entirely sure yet what we’ll do at that point– we’re considering a number of options. But we can guarantee you that we will be back, accepting stories again, sometime later in 2011.

So if you want your story to appear this year, do send it in by 10 December!

If you have thoughts about what to do post-hiatus, do put them in comments here. We’re considering trying to do another blog inviting readers to reflect on how to deal with specific problems highlighted on the stories blog, but we’re not sure how well that would work. (E.g., are there enough stories that would generate productive discussion?) I do plan– when I get the chance– to do some posts here reflecting on the stories blog.

Pope OK’s use of condoms with women, too

A shocker! Of course, the reason has to be prevention of infection rather than contraception. I predict that many Catholics who had previously not feared infection will find themselves deciding that it’s better to be safe than sorry. For more on this, see here. And for a discussion of unintentional contraception and the Doctrine of Double Effect go here.

(Thanks, David and Pragmatic Realist!)

Bibliographical Request

The Request:

Can anyone suggest feminist work written in the last ten years that discusses how important one’s community is for one’s developing knowledge?   That is, the importance of the community in offering corrections, new material and providing alternative perspectives, etc. in the creation or development of the knowledge.  I’ve thinking here of the fairly local community, without wanting to dismiss the very fine feminist work on including the developing world in knowledge communities.


Petition to make philosophy part of UK national curriculum

We believe that the too-restrictive National Curriculum needs to be significantly expanded to allow more creativity and innovation in the teaching of core cognitive skills.

To that end, we believe introducing Philosophy lessons in the classroom from a very early age would have immense benefits in terms of boosting British school kids’ reasoning and conceptual skills, better equipping them for the complexities of life in the 21st century where ubiquitous technology and rapid social change will be the order of the day.

There is a growing body of evidence that Philosophy can be of huge importance in opening up young minds. Reasoning skills and habits improve learning in other subjects on the curriculum and do not require purchasing expensive equipment and classroom resources.

The petition reads:

We petition the Government to give a formal place to Philosophy at all levels of education, not just at University and postgraduate level, so that all young people in the UK can benefit from it at all stages in their educational journey. To so do, we call for:

— The recruitment, training and placement of specialist Philosophy teachers (i.e. holders of at least a first degree in the subject, on the model of The Philosophy Shop or Teach First to help graduates without PGCEs etc be deployed in classrooms) in the most challenged primary and secondary schools throughout the UK

— Increase the number of new Philosophy graduates and defend all funding for this subject across universities

— The long-term imperative must be to recruit more specialist Philosophy teachers and to increase the number of Philosophy graduates. However, with an average of only around 2,000 UK Philosophy graduates each year, in the short to medium term it will be necessary to train existing and prospective teachers to teach some elements of the subject. Therefore we also call for the introduction of a new specialist teacher training diploma for qualifying teachers and for existing teachers that provides the subject knowledge and pedagogy skills needed to teach elements of Philosophy effectively, a move that could support learning in other subject areas

It is our opinion that this will make sure children from all backgrounds get the advantages Philosophy at a young age can bring in terms of intellectual development.

To sign it, go here.

Girls Play Downplay Smarts Online

According to a recent survey of teenage girls conducted by Girl Scouts of the United States (the survey wasn’t restricted to girl scouts), teenage girls play down their intelligence and kindness when interacting with others online. The survey of more than 1,000 girls ages 14 through 17 found that while 82 percent of girls said they come across as “smart” in real life, and 76 percent said they were “kind,” the most common words girls used when talking about their online personas were “fun” and “funny.”

More here.