Service animals

I’m wondering about the practice of using service animals in universities because one finds the climate very negative.  I do know some academics who have service animals that are to help with anxiety and depression, so there is some precedent.  The picture of lots of women in philosophy suddenly showing up with service animals is very appealing, to me at least.

A second question is whether anyone knows whether anyone has employed one or more cats to be psychological service animals.  To me the following two kittens could even look as service animals in training:

They are, by the way, blue pointed traditional siamese; “traditional” is contrasted with the newer and more tubular siamese.

newer kind

Audre Lorde, sexism and oppression

In “the Master’s Tools….” in “Sister Outsider,” Audre Lorde describes her experience as the one black speaker at an NYU Institute for the Humanities conference. She asks “Why weren’t other women of Color found to participate in this conference?…Am I the only possible source of names of Black feminists?…In academic feminist circles, the answer to these questions is often, “We did not know who to ask.” But that is the same evasion of responsibility, the same cop-out, that keeps Black women’s art out of women’s exhibitions.”

One more general remark of hers is very telling:

Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and needs. This is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns.

I am certainly very proud of the many things that a large number of feminist philosophers have done recently to try to improve life as a philosopher for women. I don’t see us tricked into being occupied with the master’s concerns. Further, a lot seems to be working. But I have two questions, and they are both genuine questions. That is, I don’t know the answers, though I have strong opinions on an aspect of the second:

1. Is this work continuing to be one-sided in a way that is by now too one-sided?

2. In “Scratching the Surface” in the same volume, Lorde defines sexism in this way: The belief in the inherent superiority of one sex and thereby the right to dominance. Is there any connection between all of us feminists working on “the master’s discipline/field” and a sense of superiority and right to dominance?

I think that if one’s answer to 1 is affirmative, then we could see 2 as offering a very unpleasant explanation.

PhiloSTEM-4 Another Gendered Conference, sigh

The Midwest Workshop in Philosophy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is sporting an all male list of invited speakers.

The call for papers is gracious, inviting novel contributions to philosophy of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) including those from a historical perspective.  It continues:

Since the emphasis is not on “reading” a paper but on having a dialogue with the participants, presentations should be prepared for a general audience in the philosophy of science and presenters must be ready to break things down for non-specialists.

The absence of women here makes me particularly sad because (1) there is so much work being done on the under-representation of women in STEM, and so little representation of  and engagement with that work in philosophy of STEM, and (2) this cfp has such a nice emphasis on open dialogue that it seems like it could have a  good climate for women speakers.

It is important to note that previous PhilosSTEM workshops have invited a couple of women.  So, we know it can be done.

As a reminder, here is a description of the Gendered Conference Campaign and here is a list of FAQs. If you are new to the Gendered Conference Campaign please take a look at them so we don’t have to rehash old arguments in the comments.

Exams 28 hours after giving birth

People are posting this as an impressive story of triumph in adversity, which it undoubtedly is. But why isn’t anyone asking about the choice she was given: be *deemed* to have deserved honours, or take the exam 28 hours after giving birth? Why wasn’t she offered the chance to take the exams on a different date? (Note: I am trusting the journalist’s reporting as to the choice she was given. Perhaps they’re mistaken.)

Texas Republicans oppose “higher order thinking skills”

Oh my.

The position causing the most controversy, however, is the statement that they oppose the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” — a curriculum which strives to encourage critical thinking — arguing that it might challenge “student’s fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.”

No, it’s not the Onion, though I wish it was.  They also support corporal punishment in schools and don’t much care for kindergarten.

But hey– at least philosophers can have a lot of fun with what sorts of things are ruled out if you oppose higher order thinking.  (Put your list in comments.)  


Thanks, Mr Jender!