California Roundtable on Philosophy & Race

California Roundtable on Philosophy & Race comes to Chicago!

October 10th-12th, 2013,  DePaul University Lincoln Park Campus (DLP)

Keynote: 4:30-6:00 p.m., McGowan South Room 108 (DLP)

Lucius Outlaw, Vanderbilt University

“If not Raciality…?: Bio-social Groupings, Philosophical Anthropology, Social Ontology”

Moderator: Darrell Moore, DePaul University

 Keynote Reception: 6:00-7:30 pm

See the whole program here, featuring philosophers including:

Lisa McLeod, Guilford College

Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia

Stephanie Rivera-Berruz, University of Buffalo

Ernesto Rosen Velasquez, University of Dayton

Sybol Cook Anderson, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Alia Al-Saji, McGill University

Sophie Guérard de Latour, EHSS, Paris

Janine Jones, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Shannon Sullivan, Pennsylvania State University

Andrew Pierce, Sacred Heart University

Darrell Moore, DePaul University

Lawrence Blum, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Eddy Souffrant, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Michael Monahan, Marquette University

Megan Mitchell, UNC Chapel Hill

Joseph Smith, Southern  Illinois University, Carbondale

Kristin McCartney, Oakton Community College


Driving damages ovaries, Saudi cleric says

“A conservative Saudi Arabian cleric
has said women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems, countering activists who are trying to end the Islamic kingdom’s male-only driving rules.”

Read more here:

Is it less objectifying if you smile?

The OMA rejected one version of two almost identical ads for the skincare brand [Ella Bache] because the models, who were using their hands to cover their naked bodies, had serious facial expressions that were interpreted as “too sexualised”. A version where the three models were smiling was accepted . . . The chief executive of the OMA, Charmaine Moldrich, defended the decision and told Fairfax, “I know its nuanced and subtle but there is a difference between a woman who is empowered, and happy to be here and a woman who is being objectified. It’s our job to make that make that call.”

 Whatever you think about the mitigating power of smiling and objectification, it’s disturbing that an unsmiling facial expression is considered more sexually “arousing” than the facial expression of a woman who looks happy. Read more (and see the images) here. 

Manly home decorating?

I went shopping the other night for new paint for our dining room and was amused/appalled to see CIL’s new “Ultimate Man Cave” colours. “Inspired by colour names you can say out loud.” (Where “you” is a dude apparently since I have no problem with the original names.)

It’s a re-branding of existing colours to make them more masculine.

“The Paint Chip Names for Men Campaign drew fantastic manly paint names from far and wide. Contained in this brochure are a sample of the best of the best… inspiration for you. Your home. Your Man Cave.”

So Lexington Park is Dirty Socks. (That’s so much more appealing, right?)

Silver Lace Vine is now Midlife Crisis.

Great Grey is now Brute Force.

Lights Out is now Deathstar.

Juliet’s Potion is now Zombie Apocalypse. (Who’d have guessed?)

Peacock’s Plume is now Pimpin’ the Trans-Am.

Butterscotch Tempest is now Beer Time.

See the full palette of manliness here.


We’ve written about manly foods before here but now colour names have genders too.



Two themes: excellence and self promotion.

This post may need a bit of an explanation. I am supposed to give a brief talk to and about a partcular institution. I think the institution is often shooting itself in the foot. So I would like to talk about an aspect of institutional excellence at least to divert attention from inflicting wounds. The connection I mention below seemed to me to be possibly worth exploring. It occurred to me yesterday, so these are very preliminary reflections. I’m also reacting a bit to an earlier post on the topic of referring to one’s work.


I’ve been thinking off and on about these two themes for some time. It occurred to me last night that in fact they may be very closely connected. A little more cautiously, two institutions that have recently seemed to be very similar even though they are very different in kind might seem so similar because of how these themes might be invoked in describing them. (Just so you know, I’ve been wondering for some time why two places I’ve recently seen a lot of – Somerville College, Oxford, and MD Anderson, Houston, often ranked as the US’s number one cancer treatment and research institution, have seem so similar in some way related to excellence. That is, related in a way that is more than simply both being excellent.)

So let’s consider this conjecture: with some excellent places, the accusatory assumption that someone who mentions her work is being self-promoting is absent, or nearly absent. Further, that absence can nuture excellence while it is itself a more intelligent reaction to excellence.

What could possibly cause any association between excellence and a lack of accusations of self-promotion? Here is one connection: it is pretty unthinking to assume someone mentioning her work is being self-promoting. The assumption is a mark of a failure in excellence. Why? For a lot of reasons:

1. People who think one’s motivation is self-promotion quite probably are not aware of some other very significant motivations. In particular, there can be a genuine joy in creating something and bringing something to a conclusion, whether it is a paper, a painting, a recital, a tennis match, or so on.

2. The hypothesis of self-promotion usually has a large gap; namely, there isn’t an answer given to the question of whom the accused is supposed to be trying to impress. Too often the accuser assumes they are among those whom the accused is trying to impress. Except in some special cases where the accuser has special power or resources, that may well be false.

3. The accusation is a way of dismissing someone’s work without incurring any burden of proof. That is less than honest trickery (At the same time, we might reflect that there are different reasons one might want to dismiss someone’s work. The quality of the work might really threaten one’s own sense of self-worth. Or one might be trying to derail some candidacy, etc. and there are no doubt more reasons.)

I think and hope I’ve said enough to give some sense of a line of thought.

I expect there are objections, and I’d love to hear of any you think of. You can also be positive!

There is a great deal, in fact, that remains to be said. For example, aren’t there some brilliant people who have made huge advances while still being nasty and accusatory about others’ supposed self-promoting narcissism? (talk about projection, one might say.) If you are thinking about this, please notice that the ideas get quite qualified as this post progresses.

So please add or subtract from these reflections.

Where’s the line on street harassment?

Soraya Chemaly argues that violence is a natural end-result of the same principles which operate in what we ordinarily refer to as street harassment:

Earlier this week a man in a car pulled up next to a 14-year old girl on a street in Florida and offered to pay her $200 to have sex with him.  [. . .] The girl said no. So what does this guy do? He reaches out, drags her, by her hair, into his car, chokes her until she blacks out, tosses her out of the car and then, not done yet, he runs her over several times.  Bystanders watched the entire episode in shock. He almost killed her, but she lived and ID’d him in a line up and he’s been arrested and charged with Attempted Murder, Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and False Imprisonment.  What was the Deadly Weapon referred to in the charge I wonder? Given our normatively male understanding interpretation of what is threatening, does a man pulling up to a girl like this and talking to her in this way constitute imminent harm?

This was an incident of street harassment taken to extremes.

You’re thinking,  “He’s crazy! You can’t possibly put what he did in the same category as street harassment!”  Yes, I can.

He stopped and talked to a girl he did not know and he told her what he thought and what he wanted her to do.  Clearly, he felt this was okay, or he wouldn’t have done it. This isn’t insanity, it’s entitlement. This is, in principle, the same as men who say, “Smile,” “Want a ride?” “Suck on this” and on and on and on.  And, that’s all before the public groping that might ensue.

OK. No big deal I’ve been told.  But, he went further, as is often the case.  When she said no, he just took her.  He crossed a red line that seriously needs to be moved.  “Taking someone” should not be the “red line” for public incivility and safe access to public space.

You can read the whole piece here on the HuffPo Blog.  About a year ago or so, I went to the store — I pulled into the parking lot, and I noticed that in the space next to me, a man was sitting in his car. When I came out of the store, he was still there — except now, he was masturbating. In his car. In broad daylight. He smiled and waived at me. I called the police about it, but effectively, they do didn’t do anything (when the police came, he wasn’t doing it anymore, and by the time I requested specifically that the police allow me to file a witness report or press charges, they had already let him go without taking his name or any information, so there was no one to press charges against). Certainly this experience is no where near the sorts of extreme cases mentioned in Chemaly’s piece, but I have wondered since, if this is the sort of thing that’s effectively permissible in public space, where is the line? When I voice discomfort over my inability to go to certain gas stations without being cat-called, hit-on, etc., my less fervently feminist acquaintances think I’m being over-sensitive, or give me the usual “You ought to take that as a compliment” (which I think is a ridiculous response for a million reasons that are probably obvious to all of our readers) and yet, my run in with the public-masturbator seemed like it ought to be a predictable escalation of that same sense of entitlement to women’s bodies.

Is physical violence likewise on that same spectrum?

Skepchick 5 km run for choice: Help spread the word

Upset that a pro life group was holding a charity event on a local running trail, a skep chick takes action into her own hands and organized a run for choice. Now they’re asking for our support. Run or walk 5 km in solidarity and donate  funds to Planned Parenthood. I’m sure if there’s a different pro choice group where you are to donate money to, that’s okay too.

Reblogged from Fit, Feminist, and Almost Fifty,

Read more about it here,