Men tell you what’s possible

Men – from a variety of countries and levels of seniority – will be speaking at The Princeton CRNAP Modality Conference. (See the lineup below.) The website says that “the topic is modality very broadly conceived”. Sadly, it doesn’t appear to have been conceived broadly enough to include women. (At least not in the actual world.)

John Burgess, Princeton University

“The Origin of Necessity and the Necessity of Origin”

David Chalmers, Australian National University and NYU

“Two Concepts of Metaphysical Possibility”

Keynote address: Kit Fine, NYU

“Constructing the Impossible”

Antony Eagle, Oxford University

“The Open Future”

Jeffrey Russell, Oxford University

Title TBA

Boris Kment

Title TBA


*Update*: A woman has now been added to the program, so the conference is no longer all male.

18 thoughts on “Men tell you what’s possible

  1. I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse them of mansplaining, Stacey. We don’t know whether they tried to invite women, whether a woman pulled out at the last minute, etc.

    As we’ve said many time, GCC posts aren’t about blame. They’re just about patterns.

  2. Did any of these speakers sign the GCC petition pledging to avoid male only conferences like these? Has anybody checked?

  3. Anon, I haven’t checked. But I’d be reluctant to fault the speakers at a conference like this. I imagine that at least some of them didn’t know who else was speaking when they agreed to the invitation. And, like I said above, for all we know a woman was originally on the program but had to withdraw.

  4. Thanks David! That’s good to know. When I saw this was a tentative program, I hoped that would be the case.

  5. That’s great news, David – thanks for the head’s up. But do you by any chance know whether an invitation has been out for some time, or whether it was perhaps issued last minute? I worry that issuing last-minute invitations to women doesn’t do anyone any favors. It puts the woman in question under quite a lot of pressure, and may manage to communicate that she was only invited in a last minute scramble to get a woman on the program.

  6. Yeah. What Jender said.

    The GCC aims to promote fewer all-male conferences. But the way to effect a gender-balanced conference isn’t by inviting a woman a few days before the conference starts!

    If I received an invitation like that, I’d be equal parts freaked out, baffled, and offended. And I’m much less professionally vulnerable than many of the women who might be receiving such invitations.

  7. I am sympathetic to what magicalersatz is saying. But I’m sure saying it right now, in this thread, isn’t going to be helpful to hear for any woman who in fact did accept a last-minute invitation to speak at this conference. Also, I’m confused about what the GCC would dictate in this situation. Cancel the conference altogether? Go forward with it as all-male? If someone organises a conference that is all male, and realises at the last minute, what should he or she do? (Genuine question, not meant to be confrontational.) I mean I realise the situation is not optimal. I’m just wondering what ought to be done if we find ourselves in it at the last minute. What if, as Dave did, we realise quite late in the game that the conference we are speaking at is all male? Should we cancel at the last minute? Suggest women speakers this late in the game? Etc.

  8. Anonymous, the GCC doesn’t “dictate” anything in this situation. And I’d imagine that the various contributors to the GCC would have differing opinions on the matter. To reiterate: the point of the GCC is just to draw attention to all male conferences, and to raise awareness about the bad effects such conferences can have.

  9. Also, I’ll confess to being baffled as to how what I say in 12 is something that should’ve remained unsaid in this context, or – more importantly – is something that’s unhelpful to the woman who did receive the invitation in question.

  10. A male speaker canceling once he realizes that he has been invited to speak at an all-male conference is entirely appropriate. Indeed, that’s the point–one takes a stand. (The fact that it was probably unintentional that the speaker list is all-male is beside the point. The organizers should have known better.)

  11. Yes, that’s right – it’s no longer all male. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

    I’m leaving the post up, though, as I’d suggest that a conference at which a female speaker is invited five days before the start is still a gendered conference.

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