Dialogue’s 50th Anniversary Special Issue: Where Are the Women?

Members of the Canadian Philosophical Association receive a subscription to the journal, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, as part of their membership. Yesterday, all members were informed of a special on-line issue marking the occasion of Dialogue‘s 50th anniversary.  The editors “selected twelve articles from the journal’s archive which highlight the journal’s breadth and quality of research.” Not a single article by a female philosopher (Canadian or otherwise) made the cut. That’s not to say that women have never been published in this journal. But the final product suggests that the editors didn’t believe representing any of their work would help “highlight the journal’s breadth and quality of research.” The editors might want to have a look at the Gendered Conference Campaign blurb if they’re uncertain about why their oversight is harmful and misrepresentative of the discipline. There’s a lot more we could say about this, but right now “sigh!” is just about all I can muster.

7 thoughts on “Dialogue’s 50th Anniversary Special Issue: Where Are the Women?

  1. I am one of the editors of Dialogue and I write this primarily on my behalf, but it is my understanding that my co-editor supports my statement; I take here full responsibility. I was made aware of this yesterday by a letter from Shannon Dea, whom I would like to thank for bringing the matter to my/our attention. I wrote back to her saying essentially this: the whole thing is a terrible oversight on my part, and I have no excuse whatsoever for this to have happened, simply because there is *no* excuse. I should add that you will find my signature on the petition for the Gendered Conference Campaign and that makes my shame and embarrassment all the more vivid. Actually, what I just described as an oversight may very well be understood as my having not entirely shaken the sort of implicit bias that is prevalent in philosophy, there is no other explanation, as there is no evading the responsibility. Therefore, I can only apologize (as I shall do to members of the Canadian Philosophical Association) in the most sincerely felt way and beg for forgiveness for having thus harmfully misrepresented not only the true state of the discipline, but also the fact that many women have published first-rate papers in the pages of Dialogue through the years that could have been included in this special issue.

  2. Thank you, Mathieu. It’s great to see an editor taking full responsibility and linking this back to implicit bias. As the implicit bias literature itself indicates, being aware of it in a global sense doesn’t always shield us from enacting it more locally. “Does our conference/volume include a sufficiently representative percentage of women and if not, have we done all we can to be inclusive?” is a question that needs to be an explicit part of every organizer’s or editor’s checklist or the systemic problem will continue.

  3. Thanks so much for showing up and taking responsibility Mathieu. You’re absolutely right that implicit bias keeps us form noticing things like this. I’ve been there.

  4. I’d actually like to know what the specific selection criteria were. Without that information, there is no way of telling in what way women were excluded and to what degree it was culpable.

  5. The editors “selected twelve articles from the journal’s archive which highlight the journal’s breadth and quality of research.”

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