There is now a new guide to graduate programmes, The Pluralist’s Guide, and Leiter has been very critical. I’m not going to weigh in on the debate over whether Leiter’s or the The Pluralist’s views on continental philosophy are right, because I just don’t know enough. But it does give a very different picture from Leiter’s report on where one should go to study feminist philosophy. My own view, in this case, is that it’s very much a matter of one’s taste in feminist philosophy: there are great scholars at the programmes listed by both reports. One thing that’s incredibly important about the report is that it, unlike the Gourmet Report, has a category for Philosophy of Race. This is, to my knowledge, the only place that prospective grad students in this area can get guidance.
Leiter is also very harsh about the discussion of women friendliness. Personally, I’d like to know more about the methodology of the report, especially for this section. Having run the SWIP women-friendliness awards for several years, I’ve learned how tricky this is to judge. Every year we have some departments nominated for women-friendliness that fail to get the awards because when we contact all staff and students we get a picture which casts considerable doubt on the original claim of women-friendliness. And in some instances it’s been a feminist woman making the nomination. Sadly, such people can be unaware of what goes on in their own departments. So before I’d want to make a judgment on these lists, I’d like to know more about how they were compiled.
Still, I think it’s fantastic to have a report that is trying to offer a different vantage point from Leiter: rankings of departments look very different depending on one’s methodological starting points, and this report helps to make that clear. There isn’t just *one* canonical ranking, and now we have an alternative to look to and compare: this has to help the bewildered student trying to make choices. It’s also great to have a report which tries to give some guidance on women-friendliness. The report is under development, and my hope is that a future development will be similar attention to friendliness to other under-represented groups.
(Revised slightly in light of Elijah’s comments)