A new project: Disabled Philosophers

Jenny Saul and I (Magical Ersatz) are very proud to introduce a new project we’ve been working on: Disabled Philosophers.

The goal of this project is to raise awareness of the existence of disabled philosophers. There are lots of issues that arise from the intersection of disability and philosophy. But we thought a very basic starting point – and hopefully a good way of starting a conversation – was to say “Hey! We’re here. We exist. In greater numbers and greater variety than you might’ve thought.”

Though we’re using a blog format, this isn’t a traditional blog. We won’t have posts on a wide variety of topics, and we won’t host discussion. What we’ll do is create a space where we can learn about disabled philosophers – sometimes who they are (though we welcome anonymous contributions), sometimes a little about their experiences of being a philosopher with a disability, sometimes both.

So if you’re a disabled philosopher, please do get in touch. We’d also love to hear from you if you’re a philosopher who loves someone who’s disabled – your partner, your child, etc. Caregiver and partner experiences are a huge part of understanding disability, and philosophers who are caregivers or partners of disabled people give us an important perspective on the interaction between disability and philosophy. So please do write to us – whether you’re yourself disabled or your daily life is affected by disability because of who you care about.

And if, at this point, you’re wondering why on earth you’d want to tell strangers about your experience of disability, we have some reasons for you. We hope you find them persuasive.

Enjoy the site!

SWIP UK withdraws women-friendliness recognition from Oregon

From here:

UPDATE (15th August 2011) :SWIP UK regrets to announce that we are withdrawing the Women-Friendly Department Recognition that we had awarded to the University of Oregon’s Philosophy Department for 2011.   It has become clear to us that our procedures were not properly followed during the canvassing of opinion prior to making the award, and as a result we were not apprised of information that might have had an impact on our decision.  Because these procedures were not followed, we feel we must withdraw the recognition, despite the impressive mainstreaming of feminist philosophy at Oregon.

Sunny climates

Whether or not we think we can adequately measure or report on the climate for women in philosophy departments, I think it’s safe to say that most of us agree that the issue of climate for women is an important one. Indeed, a lot of what we’re up to here at Feminist Philosophers are things we conceive of as efforts to improve – a little bit at a time – the climate for women in philosophy.

Abstracting away from recent controversy, I think the climate for women in philosophy is something that would be good for us to talk about more often and more explicitly. So this post is inviting discussion on two basic points:

(i) What are the hallmarks of a climate that is good for women? – Percentage of faculty or grad students that are female? The way women are treated in professional contexts? The way women are treated in non-professional contexts? The relative success of female grad students compared to their male peers? A non-combative or non-threatening atmosphere? All these factors – and many more – are likely important. But it would be good to get opinions on what matters to you the most, what you prioritize, or what stands out to you when you’re evaluating whether your environment is friendly to women.

(ii) What are some concrete ways to improve a philosophy department’s climate for women? – Let’s face it, even the best departments aren’t perfect. We could all be doing better, and we could all be doing more. So what are some specific things – formal or informal – that we can do to make departments better places for women? (Bonus points for suggestions with practical applicability – our departments would all be better if, e.g., we fired all the sexists, but that’s not going to happen. . .)

To generate some ideas about (ii), I particularly recommend the series of posts over at What We’re Doing about what’s been going on at Rutgers recently.

Please bear in mind that THIS IS NOT A THREAD ABOUT THE PLURALIST GUIDE. Posts that discuss the Guide will be deleted as off-topic. Please note also that this is a thread for positive, constructive discussion. Posts that commend the efforts of particular individuals or departments are welcome. Posts which attack particular individuals or departments – whether by name or by description – will be deleted.

Have at it!