The Collectively Male Dimension of Science

Kind of ironic for this one to be all-male, given the traditional association between women and things communal (and all the work by women on scientific communities). Ah well. Add it to the list.

(Thanks, M!)

UPDATE: I’ve sent this letter:


I’m one of the bloggers at Feminist Philosophers, and I’m writing to let you know that your conference has been added to our Gendered Conference Campaign. Here’s a little bit of information about the campaign: “The Gendered Conference Campaign aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of all-male conferences (and volumes, and summer schools), of the harm that they do. We make no claims whatsoever about the causes of such conferences: our focus is on their existence and effects. We are therefore not in the business of blaming conference organisers, and not interested (here, anyway) in discussions of blameworthiness. Instead, we are interested in drawing attention to this systematic phenomenon.”

You’ll find more here, and the post about your conference is here.

I’d like to emphasise once again that we are making no claims about how your conference came to have an all-male list of invited speakers. We are not blaming you for this. We’re interested in it simply as part of a widespread, systematic phenomenon with bad effects.

Best wishes,


New Model Gendered Conference Campaign

We’re trying out a new model for the Gendered Conference Campaign. The goal is to keep the focus very clearly on the systematicity of the phenomenon. Our posts in the past often got sidetracked into discussions of blame or absolution for particular conference organisers. We found this frustrating, as it was a misunderstanding of what we wanted to accomplish. The new campaign page is here. We’ll still be doing individual posts about conferences, and linking them to the campaign page. In fact, I’ll have a few coming out very shortly.

The epistemology of budget cuts

These cuts are carefully planned so as not to be noticed by the coalition’s key voters:

The Guardian gives a slice of what this will mean across the country, highlighting a cross-section of 50 services that will shrink or cease to exist from the end of this month. Most are unglamorous, obscure, unfeted projects, staffed by employees who are not very well paid, but hugely committed to what they do. All of these losses come as a result of the government’s decision to cut spending by £95bn over five years.

Their disappearance may not be noticed by anyone with a good income, in secure employment, in sound health, without caring responsibilities – anyone who does not look to the state for support with life’s problems. For the more vulnerable, the decision to close these bodies and cut these jobs will be sharply felt. They will be more acutely obvious beyond the south-east, in areas that are more dependent on government grants. Women, parents, carers, disabled people, teenagers and elderly people are likely to be the most affected.

From a Westminster perspective, they may be easy to ignore. These are not dramatic closures of maternity wards, big events that would inspire fury and noisy protest; instead the process is much smaller, more fragmented in scale, and hardest felt by people who tend not to be particularly powerful or vocal. Mostly, ministers are able to wash their hands of responsibility, dismissing these cuts as local decisions (despite the fact that they originate in central government funding reductions).

Viewed from Downing Street, they probably seem a fractured collection of regrettable but relatively insignificant services, located (conveniently) in greater concentration the further you move from Westminster. But from the service users’ perspective, their disappearance will often be catastrophic.

(Thanks, L!)

This makes me want to quit philosophy…

…and go be a journalist in Florida!

An actual ad:

We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.

We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: “I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.” As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you’re the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble… well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you’re our kind of sicko.

For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.

(Thanks, Mr Jender!)