CFP: Philosophy Born of Struggle

Forging Concepts through Struggle: The New Slave—Racism, Empire, and Sexual Violence. (Deadline 1 August 2014)

October 31-November 1st, 2014. Paine College, Augusta, Georgia. Call for Papers
Over the last decade, the worsening plight of Blacks in the United States has raised fundamental questions about reconciling democracy with poverty, freedom with statism and government surveillance, and the idea of racial progress with the routinized deaths/murders of Black men, women and children. These realities have led some to ask a deeper question: Did slavery ever really end, or do Blacks around the world still effectively live in chains?
The thought of Blacks as NEW SLAVES has led recent scholars to reformulate
questions of race, class, and gender into more complex notions of empire, neo-liberalism, and sexual violence. This reformulation has drawn on and reshaped resources from a variety of sources. Africana philosophy, Latin American philosophy, (post) structuralism/ (post) colonialism, psychoanalysis, and anti-colonial thought have loomed large, as have the works of literary, visual, and performing artists.
The 2014 meeting of Philosophy Born of Struggle takes up these questions and resources. Hosted this year at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Philosophy Born of Struggle asks for papers and panels looking to explore the complex obstacles towards freedom, or more accurately stated, how the conditions, values, and institutions we have made synonymous to “being free,” have in fact concealed and consolidated the long afterlife of slavery.

For more details, see the attachment.Philosophy Born of Struggle XXI 2014 Annual Meeting CFP Final

Sessions on disability at conferences

The recent discussions about an APA committee regarding disability & the profession ( or something at least a bit like that) reminded me of a very serious problem that can arise when one tries to arrange sessions on disability at an APA conference. No doubt some readers are painfully aware f this problem, but not all conference organizers may be.

The problem is that at least the Central Division has little spare money. Traveling for some disabled philosophers can involve considerable extra expenses. When I was 2013 program chair we lost one or two potentially very interesting sessions because of funding.

Does anyone know of any travel funding source that could help? If not, given an APA committee may not be in place this coming academic year, it might be appropriate to brainstorm a bit. Might students be willing to help in exchange for a shared room, for example? It could be easier to donate a room for the APA, if I remember right.

What do you think?

Addressing an injustice in the profession

The contribution below is from Jackie Taylor, U San Francisco, who had mentioned in email a session at the APA where some women and, I believe, all African american philosophers were not called on. I think trying to create a structural guard against such things may well be the most promising approach there is.

Some of us have recently returned from the Pacific APA, where we were heartened to see many women active in sessions, both as speakers and audience members. Yet we still see some behavior that is detrimental to women — speakers monopolizing sessions, chairs failing to call on audience members (or only the most senior/famous), or calling on women only when time for the session threatens to run out. I spoke with Ned Markosian about this, who wrote to me,

There is this valuable commodity — being able to speak during Q&As — and it is unjustly distributed. I think that the extent to which this injustice has very harmful consequences in our profession is vastly under-appreciated.

I agree with him — someone who decides to be a more active bystander, and intervene to request that more people be called on, may be viewed as rude, or ignored, although such people are often praised by those with an active concern to change the behavior at our conferences.

Ned, as readers may know, organizes the BSPC conference in Bellingham, Washington. This is a very gender friendly venue, thanks in part to the following system for more evenly distributing time for asking questions:

While such a system is probably easiest to implement for individuals, small groups or societies organizing conferences, we hope that we can take this up with the APA to make it a more inclusive place where all have more opportunity to be heard.

Jean Harvey, 1947-2014

We report with sadness the death of Prof. Jean Harvey of the University of Guelph, on Sunday, April 20, 2014. Jean Harvey was the author of Civilized Oppression (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) and numerous articles on topics ranging from social justice, to moral solidarity, to companion-animals. In her work, Jean Harvey unhesitatingly drew upon feminist philosophy and advanced visions of a better and more just society.  In her service to the Canadian Society of Women in Philosophy (CSWIP), Jean established the graduate student award and fostered the success of individuals as well as the philosophical community.

It is something of a tradition at FP to feature a passage from the work of an author whose death we mark. I continue to draw on the first bit of Jean’s work I ever heard about, in almost every presentation on equity that I give. It was my colleague Sybol Cook Anderson who first read to me at some length from Jean Harvey’s monograph, on Jean’s concept of “indirect support power” to explain why just passing a law is not enough to end sexism or racism. Every time I repeat this to students they get it, they electrify, with the excitement of an audience that had always longed for words to explain why formal structures ending discrimination are not enough. As Jean explains in her JSP article, “Social Privilege and Moral Subordination,” being assigned direct power does not guarantee an individual’s success:

[This] ignores the role of support power. For most bank managers the support mechanisms will never undermine their assigned power, but when members of groups traditionally excluded from such positions begin to move into them, unreliable support power is not uncommon. The black police officer, the woman priest or professor, the openly homosexual politician all have assigned powers because of their roles, but the first to move into such roles in some places may not be able to count on the support power that is taken for granted by their long-accepted colleagues, the white, male, physically able, heterosexual police officers, priests, professors, and politicians.

When this phenomenon occurs, those concerned are doubted more often, ridiculed more often, supervised more closely, maneuvered into the least critical decision making whenever possible, and when challenged in some outrageous rather than legitimate way by someone over whom they technically have direct power, find no minimal and fair-minded support from peers who belong to the long-accepted groups, nor from those in supervisory roles.

Philosophers, we can honor our late colleague by offering support-power to one another. Let us make this a more just world. Jean Harvey’s work offers us some ways to do so.