Here’s the line-up for tomorrow’s Dialogues: Philosophy in Comparative Perspective colloquium. Can you spot the missing perspective?
“Meaning: Problems and Solutions from an Indian Perspective” by special guest speaker J.L. Shaw (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
“Scientific Dualism and Theological Materialism: Avicenna and the History of Philosophy of Mind” by Muhammad Ali Khalidi (York University)
“Schopenhaur and Indian Thought” by R. Raj Singh (Brock University)
“Indirect Unity: Merlaeu-Ponty and Nagarjuna on the Human and Non-human” by Michael Berman (Brock University)
“Non-Violent Warriors: Marcus Aurelius and The Bhagavad-gita” by Kenneth Dorter (University of Guelph)
UPDATE (June 5):
Feminist Philosophers just received the note below, an important one, from Muhammad Ali Khalidi, one of the speakers at this conference. We generally close comments on Gendered Conference Campaign posts, but Dr. Khalidi ends his very thoughtful (and most welcome) note by asking readers’ advice. So, I’ll open the comments for folks who wish to provide advice. (For what it’s worth, it’s not clear to me that Dr. Khalidi *needs* advice; he makes some really excellent points in his note, reproduced (with permission) below:
As one of the speakers at the event flagged above, I’d like to explain the circumstances behind my accepting the invitation to speak. When I was invited to speak at this event, I wrote back to the organizers saying that I was a signatory to the GCC petition and that I couldn’t accept unless they made an effort to invite a woman to speak at the event (at that point, I think only one other speaker had been decided).
I won’t quote the response because I didn’t ask permission, but the gist of it was that the organizers were staunch supporters of the GCC and their frequent events feature a large proportion of female speakers (which I verified online, http://www.philosophyandculture.org/2012MC.html), but that they might not be able to locate a female speaker for this particular event. Also, I was told that they were restricted by their budget to inviting speakers from southern Ontario, so they could not guarantee that they would be able to find a female speaker on this specific (rather esoteric) topic, namely interactions between western philosophy and Indian and Islamic philosophy.
So I was faced with a choice, to accept and possibly be part of an all-male line-up or to decline and to stick up for a different type of under-representation in academic philosophy. Since the event was meant to bring to the fore under-represented traditions in philosophy, ones which are not usually taken seriously by mainstream philosophy departments, I weighed the possibility of lack of female representation against the chance to speak on the Arabic-Islamic tradition. The idea behind the event was to talk about the inter-connections between these other philosophical traditions and western phil. In fact, I would argue (and did) that at least in the case of Arabic-Islamic tradition, it’s actually part and parcel of what’s called “western philosophy” but has been edited out of the canon and is now usually ignored or treated as a separate curiosity. Also, for what it’s worth, half the speakers were members of “visible minorities” (to use the Canadian terminology), which are also grossly underrepresented among academic philosophers. So that’s how I made the decision to accept the invitation to an all-male event. Does trying to overcome one form of underrepresentation justify possibly acquiescing in another? In this case I decided that it was, but any comments from other readers on how to handle such situations would be welcome.