Graduate programs: UPDATE on philosophy of race, diverse?

A commenter asked recently what the progress is on compiling a parallel, to something like the women-friendly or feminist-supportive philosophy graduate programs, in philosophy of race or in high achievement in diversity.  I punted the question with a professorial ‘efforts are proceeding’ sort of answer, but it is too good a question to leave in the comments.

A few programs that take diversity to be central missions and/or provide robust opportunities for concerted work on race leap to mind, and commenters are invited to direct readers’ attention to others.  Please forbear from too much speculation if you really don’t know or have only third-hand impressions; bear in mind that prospective students genuinely want to know of the possibilities and your reasons for stating them.  Suggestions would be great for either MA or PhD programs, but if you can, specify whether the program you mention is one or the other.

The program in which my department coworkers and I have often taken an interest is the MA / PhD program at University of Memphis, which has strengths in both concerted attention to diversity (in faculty and students), and scholarship, especially with the addition of Bill Lawson and the ongoing participation of philosophers such as Sarah Clark Miller. 

Please feel free to add your own information about other programs in the comments.  Inquiring minds appreciate the answers!

UPDATE:  I contacted a few people to invite comment, and heard back happy news from the incomparable Linda Alcoff: 

The Pluralist’s Guide to Philosophy list I have been working on for over 2 years will shortly be up.  Everything is done, we are just waiting on our web design to finish.  So look for it in a month — it will  have lists on critical race philosophy, feminist philosophy, and more.

Thanks, Linda!  I’ll post a new announcement when it comes out.  Meanwhile, feel free to continue to contribute to students’ knowledge in comments, while we wait.  And stay tuned!

9 thoughts on “Graduate programs: UPDATE on philosophy of race, diverse?

  1. Penn State’s philosophy department ( is an excellent place to study Critical Philosophy of Race, with no less than 4 faculty for whom it is a major area of scholarship (some of whom have a history at the U of Memphis). The department is additionally sponsoring a postdoc in the Philosophy of Race next year.

    Penn State is also noteworthy for their excellent track record in successfully recruiting graduate students of color, which is, as I understand it from friends there, an explicit goal of the department’s. Kathryn Gines is especially effective in this respect, as the founding director of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers.

  2. UNC Charlotte will have, as of this fall, three faculty working directly on philosophy of race, as well as other faculty who work more broadly on gender, “diversity,” etc. We have an MA in Ethics and Applied Philosophy.

  3. Yes, I am one of the three philosophers who will work directly on philosophy of race and critical race theory, among other things, at UNC Charlotte starting this fall. I am excited to begin work with the other faculty at UNC Charlotte to support students of color in philosophy and to produce scholarship in the philosophy of race. Additionally, I will graduate from the University of Memphis in May of this year and can attest to the effectiveness of the graduate program there, both in terms of support for graduate students of color (financial and mentoring) and in terms of the quality of education provided. The program at Memphis is academically rigorous and pluralistic (training in both the analytic and continental traditions for all graduate students) resulting in an unusually high degree of marketability for its graduates.

  4. In my search, which includes email and phone conversations with faculty and graduate students, I found strong support for philosophy of race and feminism in the following programs: Vanderbilt, Temple, Penn State, University of Memphis, Marquette, SUNY Stony Brook and University of Oregon.

  5. I think Michigan State is another program that a student working on philosophy and race might want to look into. I believe they have quite a number of faculty working on overlapping issues in feminism, philosophy and race, and philosophy of social science. I’ve also met a Michigan State grad student or two at conferences who were interested in these issues and had insightful things to say.

  6. Indeed, both students and faculty at Michigan State have attested to the importance of diversity and supportiveness of related scholarship in my presence. Interestingly, Bill Lawson was on faculty there before accepting the offer from Memphis (cf original post).

  7. Fascinating blog, but a sad one to see. . . I’m a white male who learned in the course of graduate study that my prospects were weaker than a comparable female, due solely to efforts to improve the gender balance. This was said to me independently by two tenured faculty members.

    Hey! Enjoy your academic life! I ain’t got one. I’m out and gone.

  8. I believe everything I hear so long as it is verified independently by two tenured faculty. . .

    Ok, so being snarky probably isn’t helpful, but Scott I’ve heard that sentiment expressed as well; however, it doesn’t square with my personal experience, and more importantly, it doesn’t square with actual data.

  9. Scott, what you were told is simply false for many facets of the field. Your chances of being well-schooled at the end of a PhD program are actually quite possibly higher. So it is quite possible that you will go on the market as stronger than a comparably talent women.

    Further, that your chances are “weaker than a comparable female” is too vague to be worthwhile. Think about what implications this might have. Looking at who gets jobs certainly shows it does not mean that the top ten are only hiring women, or the top 20 or 30, etc.

    One rumor at my school is that Blacks all get top jobs at huge salaries. And that’s simply false. My guess is that the rumor about women hasn’t much more going for it. It may be principally about the really high flyers, of whom there are in any case not very many.

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