More on Central APA!

A quest post by Janice Dowell, Chair of Program Committee.

A few years back when I was on the Central program committee, I noticed that our deindentified refereeing process resulted in representation of women philosophers on the submitted program proportionate to their application numbers. But, they were still underrepresented on the submitted program: We hadn’t applied in proportion to our numbers. Conclusion: More women need to be submitting.

See Anne’s post below for details on submission!

9 thoughts on “More on Central APA!

  1. Say you’re a grad student and you only have a few papers that you consider to be finished, and of those, the one you like best received a grade of an A-(that’s A *minus*) accompanied with a comment of “I’m not convinced”. Should you submit that paper? Or should you just assume that it’s no good and forget the whole thing?

    *This is a rhetorical question. Obviously one person’s non-anonymous opinion of your work is just one person’s non-anonymous opinion of your work.

    A slightly less rhetorical question:

    What if you hate everything you’ve ever written? Should you submit something anyway?

  2. If you hate everything you’ve ever written it doesn’t mean your work is bad, it just means you’re normal. I wouldn’t let that stop you from submitting. A second point to keep in mind, though, is that getting rejected from the APA program also does not mean that your work is bad. A tenured woman in my department with lots of fine work published in lots of reputable places recently told me that every paper she’s ever submitted to the APA has been rejected. In my experience (and in the experience of plenty of other people) being rejected and feeling bad about your work are completely normal and in no way correlated with the likelihood of future success. Do the best work you can and do your best to ignore the feeling, difficult though that may be.

  3. I’ve never submitted to any of the APA sessions but that’s because, 1) the deadlines are so far before the conferences that I’m rarely together enough to remember to do it and 2) for the colloquium papers, the word limit is very low, lower than nearly everything I write. The symposium papers have longer (but still not long!) word limits, but they are harder to get accepted, I think. But, if these things don’t bother you, you should certainly consider submitting, I think. early in my grad school days I presented several papers at different sorts of conferences and had very good experiences, meeting people, getting feed-back, etc. (It can be stressful, too, but mostly it was good.)

  4. Thank you Anon Junior. Those were the exact words of encouragement that I was looking for.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I just want a pat on the back for producing crap- but it’s nice to be encouraged whilst critiqued. Sometimes it seems like people don’t have the time for the latter, and think* that they can make up for it by *not* doing the former.

    *Well, I’m not sure what the motivation is for not being encouraging in spite of having offering very few detailed comments. In any case, thanks.

  5. I give the following advice to any grad student I meet: Adopt a policy of submitting to the APA conferences three times per year: Submit to each Division every year. (And my advice is to continue this practice indefinitely, not just while one is a student.) One will receive some acceptances, one will receive some rejections, and one will get to give some APA talks over the years. It’s a valuable experience to attend these conferences, to get practice giving talks and answering questions, and to get to see lots of talks in lots of different areas of philosophy.
    I also give the advice: Ask a question at every talk you attend. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will find that you can always think of a question for every talk.
    I gave several APA talks while I was a grad student, and it was great practice for me. I also learned *so much* by attending lots of one-hour-long APA talks when I was a student.
    The APA conferences are wonderful.

  6. Thanks EH! Everyone should encourage their grad students to do that. Don’t they understand how chicken-shit, neurotic, and self-conscious we all are!?

    Dear Faculty at PhD Granting Departments,

    Most of your grad students are chicken-shit, neurotic, and self-conscious. Please encourage them to suck it up, get over it, and submit their papers to conferences and journals. Really, go out of your way to explicitly encourage this. You have no clue how much many of us really doubt ourselves.

    Your Friend,


  7. Hello, ThatKid. I hope you send in a paper to the Central APA. The faint praise or indifference of instructors is not much of a gauge, in my limited experience. Other than my own advisor, I do not recall a single professor in graduate school encouraging me to submit a paper to a conference or suggesting I’d ever done anything conference-worthy. I’m now much more confident in my presentation and writing skills, but that is actually due to the conferences I took stabs at! I find conferences really helpful for developing my work.

    Would you be willing to tell us and all the Interwebz why you hate everything you’ve ever written? (If not, however, just say, “No, thanks!”) I’m asking because if you hate it because you’ve changed your mind on all of it, then YES, that’s a great reason to write something new for a conference!

  8. Thanks KateNorlock,

    I didn’t say that I hate everything that I’ve written! But it just so happens that of the things I’ve written, the ones I care most about, I also hate. So I do have an answer to your question: I hate those things because they’re not ready and they might never be.

    But I’ve written some papers that I don’t care about as much that were finished and probably would have been pretty okay submissions at the time that I wrote them. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything (it’s a long story as to why).

    But I’m planning on finishing some things soon, and if I do, I I’ll submit papers that I think are just “meh” because, maybe they’re better than “meh” and it’s not that serious anyway, right?

    In the meantime, I was really just asking rhetorical questions in hopes that it might be helpful for other people.


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