CFP Is Gender Still Relevant?

[I have been informed there is some leeway in deadline if you email the organiser]

Call for papers: Is Gender Still Relevant? 

16-17th September 2014, University of Bradford

Despite over 30 years of campaigning and policy, why does gender remain a key issue today?

The ‘Is Gender Still Relevant?’ seminar, sponsored by the British Academy, examines the state of play in gender research in the historic disciplines, and asks if (and why) we still need to debate gender issues, including feminism, masculism and gender fluidity.

The event will discuss both research and academic practice and welcomes participation from all career stages, particularly early career scholars. We are also keen on perspectives from all genders – this isn’t just about women!

We invite abstracts for short papers from colleagues of all career stages and across the Historical Disciplines (in its broadest sense – including History of Science, and cross overs between humanities and sciences). We would particularly encourage workshop papers addressing the themes of: gender and representation; architecture and space; and gender identities past and present.

In addition, if you are an early career scholar and would be interested in collaboratively organising an interdisciplinary workshop within the event on either gender and representation, or gender identities past and present (or another topic we have not thought of) then please let us know.

Deadline for abstracts: 23rd June 2014

For architecture and space abstracts, please email Emily Fioccoprile and Emily Cuming

For gender and representation abstracts, please contact Daniel Grey and Kristin Leith

For all other abstracts, please email or contact


Confirmed Participants include:

Prof Roberta Gilchrist, University of Reading (FBA and event champion)

Prof Maggie Andrews, University of Worcester

Thomas Dowson, Independent researcher

Prof Patricia Skinner, Swansea University

Prof Helen King, Open University

Dr Diane Bolger, Edinburgh University

Prof Ray Laurence, University of Kent

Dr Anne Murphy, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Garthine Walker, Cardiff University

For further details, including how to register, please visit      Contact details:


Organising committee:

Dr Karina Croucher, University of Bradford

Dr Hannah Cobb, University of Manchester

Emily Fioccoprile, University of Bradford

Debbie Hallam, University of Bradford

Joanne McNicholls, University of Bradford

Natalie Atkinson, University of Bradford


Who is fed up? Part I

Plenty of people are fed up with the current treatment too many women receive in the philosophical community. This blog was offered the opportunity to post an open letter to the profession on this topic. We reacted enthusiastically. The letter is long, but contains many valuable observations. Rather than edit it, I’m putting it up in two parts.


An Open Letter to My Colleagues in Philosophy:

The most recent bout of sexual harassment scandals has brought on yet another round of tortured conversations about women in philosophy and what we can do about the problem of sexual harassment in the field. It is a good thing that and that these problems are coming to light and that people are finally taking note of widespread misbehavior and abuse that occurs across the profession, and I believe that there are genuinely well-intentioned male (and female) philosophers who are sincere in their desire to learn more about what they can do to improve the situation. But I continually encounter responses to these complaints in casual conversations that frustrate me almost to the point of tears, and if I have to summon the energy to adopt the cool, measured tone I must assume in order to maintain my place as a Reasonable Woman in this “conversation” one more time, I fear I will rip my tongue out of my throat. So in the hopes of moving this conversation along, I’ve compiled of list of things not to say when women complain of sexual harassment in philosophy, and a brief explanation of what is wrong with them. This list is just a compilation of bits of conversations I’ve had recently that rankle me the most. Please feel free to edit them, and add your own.

34 things NOT to say in response to complaints about sexual harassment in philosophy:

(Note: ALL of these have been said to me, at some time or another, in conversations about accusations of wrongdoing by fellow philosophers. I’m sure other women have others.)

1. But here is some other couple (both members in the profession, who got together when one was a faculty member/held a more senior position to the other) who are happily married.
2. But he’s fun/just having fun.
3. But he’s cool.
4. But he’s married/has a girlfriend.
5. He’s harmless.
6. He never does that to me.
7. He’s really nice to me.
8. I was hit on/propositioned once at a conference/ talk.
9. I was hit on/propositioned once at a conference/ talk, and it wasn’t so bad/I enjoyed it.
10. But what’s wrong with meeting someone at a conference whom you find attractive and with whom you have similar interests?
11. What’s wrong with asking someone out/two members of a profession having a relationship with each other?
12. But how is a guy supposed to get a date?
13. I’ve never seen him do that.
14. But he’s a good philosopher.
15. But he’s a good force in the department/field.
16. But she’s not a very good philosopher.
17. She’s crazy.
18. The other women who’ve complained about him are crazy.
19. All the women who’ve complained about him are crazy.
20. Pursuing this complaint would ruin his career.
21. But think of all the good he does.
22. What did she expect would happen?
23. But he had a reputation for this kind of thing/everyone knows he’s a sleaze. (!!!)
24. She was asking for it.
25. She’s had other affairs with members of the profession.
26. She’s slept with everyone in the profession.
27. She consented.
28. She’s an adult.
29. It was an adult consensual relationship.
30. Yes I agree he’s a problem but what am I (we) supposed to do about it?
31. But then you owe me a solution to the problem/an answer to the question of what we should do about this.
32. What do you want them (us) to do, fire him?
33. Just ignore it.
34. Just ignore it and focus on your work.

Why are these wrong?

Complaints of harassment are complaints of lack of professionalism in ways that hinder women’s professional advancement in philosophy. They include complaints that men are sexually predatory, aggressive, hostile, that they abuse their position, that they alternately prey on women sexually or spurn them for perceived rejection, that they systematically exclude women from philosophical conversations, downgrade their contributions, ignore them or respond to them with overly hostile reactions. Men in the field often take out their personal and professional frustrations on their female colleagues with sexual aggression. They do so overtly, by making overt sexual advances towards women that bear no relation to meaningful attempts to enter into a mutually respectful and caring relationship, and have everything to do with reasserting their feelings of power and control in personal and professional contexts. Or they might do so less overtly, with ad hominem attacks on women’s femininity or sexuality and attractiveness, or their quality as a philosopher, made either directly or behind women’s backs to other members of the profession. These are also ways of reasserting their power and bruised masculinity and enlisting other members of the profession in their diminishment of their female colleagues

CFP: 12th Annual University of Miami Graduate Student Conference

Call For Papers

12th Annual University of Miami Graduate Student Conference

Date: October 16th-18th 2014
Place: Miami, Florida

Keynote Addresses: John Arras, Rebecca Kukla (topics: TBA)

Submission Deadline: September 1st 2014

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami invites submissions for its annual graduate student conference. This year, we are interested in papers directly related to the ethical or epistemological issues arising in the field of medicine (or an intersection of such issues); e.g., issues related to clinical trials, public health policy, human enhancement, etc. Papers responding to Dr. Arras’ or Dr. Kukla’s work are especially encouraged. However, if you think you can make a positive contribution to the conference, papers dealing with philosophical issues in medicine more broadly construed are also welcomed.

Submission Guidelines:

1. Papers should be no more than 3000 words, or 30 minutes reading time.
2. Papers should be prepared for blind review (no identifying information), and accompanied by a title page including:
a) Author’s name
b) Academic status and affiliation
c) Contact information (e-mail address preferably)
d) 150 word abstract
3. Send electronic copies in .doc or .pdf format to or send two paper copies to:
Lance Aschliman
UM Philosophy Department
PO Box 248054
Coral Gables, FL 33124-4670, USA

For more information, email For information on previous conferences, visit (This link seems broken as of the time of posting.)

Conference – Emergencies and affected peoples: philosophy, policy and practice

The University of Birmingham is hosting, “Emergencies and affected peoples: philosophy, policy and practice” on Friday 4th July 2014 (09:00-17:30).

Keynote delivered by Professor David Alexander (UCL)

Enrico Quarantelli is considered the founder of the social science of disasters. His research offers that “a disaster is primarily a social phenomenon and is thus identifiable in social terms” (Quarantelli & Dynes, 1977, p. 24). The recognition that disasters are social incidents – as well as physical and political ones – is important to our understanding of what really happens in a disaster. A thorough understanding of the social component in disasters also helps us understand what needs to be done to bring society to a post-emergency normality.

Emergencies and Affected People: Philosophy, Policy and Practice aims to investigate this relationship in order that we might inform policy and better support casualties of disaster. With a cross-discipline, cross-emergency-type concentration on those affected, discussants in this conference will investigate various societal realities and their connection with our experiences in emergency situations. Each panel has one academic and one practitioner; the panels were organized in this way in order to stimulate debate and balance theoretical and practical perspectives.

There is a common theme, though, across the four panels: all social scientists – whether academics or practitioners – aim to inform debates around and improve how we help those impacted by an emergency. Our goal today is therefore to raise awareness of the societal issues that occur during a disaster and contribute to the debate about how best to help those affected.

To register for the conference, please email with your name and affiliation. The conference is free to attend but registration is required as space is limited.

Mansplaining? inclusiveness in philosophy

One problem a woman can have when men explain things to her is that the subject matter can change in puzzling and even bizarre ways.  And at least some of us can be flummoxed since we feel obliged to absorb the ideas of an earnest interlocutor in our debate.  Such a situation may arise with today’s The Stone.

The author maintains that when we trace back the history of various ideas of contemporary interest, we may find our discussions draw on ideas originally formulated in distant times by people radically different from today’s academic philosophers.

The author concludes that unless we make an effort to include all the diverse origins of contemporary ideas, our efforts at contemporary inclusiveness will be paltry.


The idea seems to suggest this: Human beings have for millenia had ideas about, for example, how bodies get connected to thinkers; unless we includes such conjectures in our philosophy of mind courses, insisting on giving a place to voices of different sorts alive today is really a sham.

The adequate account of any conceptual innovation or discovery in philosophy would be the one that also gives an account of its place in the broader context of human culture and history, and that would reveal its inextricable connection to cultural practices and human concerns that at first glance appear rather far removed from the concerns of the philosopher. This is an impossible goal, of course, but we can at least tend toward it, as toward the limit of an infinite series, if we wish. If we do not learn to see this effort as intrinsic to the study of philosophy, the recent calls for greater inclusiveness of other standpoints within philosophy will remain mere half-measures.

We might take the article to pose this question: are there good reasons for wanting to open philosophy to contemporary women that do not commit us to wanting to open philosophy to the hunters’ and gatherers’ thought of past millennia? The idea that inclusiveness must embrace our very distant past seems to employ conceptions of doing philosophy and of inclusiveness that change the topic.

What do you think?

NOTE: I will not be able to moderate any more comments to day, so I am closing comments. It’s 4:33 pm, cdt.

Comment on the latest philosophy lawsuit

As you may have read, Peter Ludlow is suing Northwestern University (and some of its administrators), Prof. Jennifer Lackey, and the philosophy PhD student who reported him for rape, and who he was found by the university to have harassed. Ludlow is suing for defamation and gender discrimination. Eric Schliesser, as he so often does, has some very good things to say about the topic here. But there were a few other things I especially want to emphasize.

In the official complaint, it’s noted that the student’s allegations of rape were found by university investigation to be unsubstantiated. This doesn’t mean that the university investigation found that the student was likely making the allegation up, found that the allegation was implausible, found that the student was lying, etc. All that it means is that there was insufficient evidence found to support the allegation. As anyone familiar with university or legal proceedings involving rape will know, rape cases are often very difficult to substantiate. That an allegation of rape was unsubstantiated does not mean the person who alleged that rape took place is lying.

It’s also claimed, in the official complaint, that Prof. Ludlow ‘refuted’ the allegation of rape by, among other things, producing affectionate text messages from the student which were sent after the alleged incident took place. We really shouldn’t have to be explaining this in the year 2014, but this doesn’t refute an allegation of rape. Far from it. It is incredibly common for victims of rape to initiate or maintain what appear to be affectionate, consensual relationships with their assaulters after they have been assaulted.


See the following links for more information:


Victim Responses to Sexual Assault

Being Silenced: The Impact of Negative Social Reactions on the Disclosure of Rape

Understanding Rape Survivors’ Decisions Not to Seek Help from Formal Social Systems


Shocking ableism from the Sunday Times

The Sunday Times printed an editorial by UCL psychology professor Adrian Furnham that’s so shocking in the blatant ableism it endorses that I’m really at a loss for words. Here’s the conclusion:

Psychiatrists have grouped those with personality disorders into three similar clusters: dramatic, emotional and erratic types; odd and eccentric types; and anxious and fearful types.

There are three important questions. The first is how you spot these people at selection so you can reject them. This is easier with some disorders than others. It is virtually impossible to spot the psychopath or the obsessive-compulsive person at an interview. Clearly, you need to question those who have worked with them in the past to get some sense of their pathology, which many are skilled at hiding.

The second is, given that they have already been appointed, how to manage them. There is, alas, no simple method that converts the antagonist into a warm, open, honest individual or the disinhibited worker into a careful, serious and dutiful employee. Sometimes it is a matter of damage limitation.

The third is how to rid your workplace of these maladaptive personalities, and that is the toughest question of all.

Yes, we should definitely fire all the people who the DSM might classify as ‘odd and eccentric types’. Like Steve Jobs, for example:

A search of the Nexis news database turned up the word “obsessive” in connection with a Steve Jobs-related article a total of 68 times in the past week.

Numerous news reports have noted Mr. Jobs’ “obsessive” attention to detail and perfection in the products he brought to life. Indeed, when you get past the tribute articles and dig deeper into Mr. Jobs’ past, you find stories of him being tyrannical and harsh as a leader, paying exacting attention to details that he undoubtedly paid other top executives to monitor. But the vision of Mr. Jobs that we seem to get is of someone who just can’t help but be involved in every single minute step of the process of product development and marketing.

Clearly too odd to be successful, that one! Get rid of him!

(Thanks for the tip, N!)

SWIP Germany Conference

Human Nature: Perspectives from Ethics and Philosophy of Science/ Menschliche Natur: Wissenschaftstheoretische und Ethische Aspekte

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
21st of July 2014

We are pleased to announce the second annual meeting of SWIP Germany e.V. ( The meeting will take place on the 21st of July at the Ruhr University Bochum. SWIP Germany is a registered charity and its meetings aim to advance and make visible contributions of women in German/ German-speaking philosophy. Our workshops and meetings also aim to foster the development of research networks and provide informal mentoring in an inclusive and trans-friendly environment.

Workshop Program:

Part I: Talks (open to all and aimed at a wider philosophical audience, in English and in German)

14:00 Maria Kronfeldner (Bielefeld, Germany)

Human nature – Quo Vadis? Eliminativist and Constructive Approaches to a Contested Concept in the Philosophy of Sciences

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Mari Mikkola (Humboldt-University, Berlin) Introducing SWIP Germany

16:00 Felicitas Krämer (Eindhoven, the Netherlands)

Some Problems of the Genetic Enhancement of Emotions

17:15 Break

Part II: Mentoring (for women, in German)

17:45 With Buffet and Drinks (until approx. 20:00)

Attendance and buffet are free of charge. We can arrange reasonably priced child-care on campus. If you require child-care facilities, please register as soon as possible and no later than the registration deadline.

Paper Abstracts:

Maria Kronfeldner

In the 20th century, the concept of human nature has been severely criticized as too essentialist, from a scientific as well as from a political perspective. The talk introduces into the debate and will develop a pragmatic-pluralist perspective that includes a discussion of eliminativist and constructivist approaches. Eliminativist approaches suggest to get rid of the concept, given the scientific and social critique; constructivist approaches look for post-essentialist successor concepts. To find a common ground between these different approaches, the talk addresses which social and epistemic values (should) guide us when we deal with value-laden concepts such as human nature.

Felicitas Krämer

Is it morally acceptable to genetically enhance human emotions? Emotional enhancement means the improvement of emotions by technological means. Enhanced human beings will be by and large happier than unenhanced ones and have more feelings of empathy. Among the supporters of emotional enhancement are transhumanist authors such as Nick Bostrom. The talk discusses three main problems with the enhancement of emotions: the problem of emotional complexity, the problem of shifting standards and the problem of appropriateness. It is argued that the supporters of genetic emotional enhancement have not yet properly addressed these problems. They, accordingly, do not yet have a well grounded answer to the question of what sort of feelings human beings should have.

Deadline for registration is 24th of June. To register, please email Anna.Welpinghus[at] For catering purposes, please indicate whether you will be attending the whole event or only a part of it (and which one). Please also indicate whether you require child-care.


Anna Welpinghus (Bochum)

Mari Mikkola (Humboldt-University, Berlin)

Pascale Ruder (Bochum)

Anne-Sophie Brüggen (Bochum)

Women of Colour Urge Inclusion in “My Brother’s Keeper”

Read the letter here. (Thanks, K!)

While we applaud the efforts on the part of the White House, private philanthropy, social justice organizations and others to move beyond colorblind approaches to race-specific problems, we are profoundly troubled about the exclusion of women and girls of color from this critical undertaking. The need to acknowledge the crisis facing boys should not come at the expense of addressing the stunted opportunities for girls who live in the same households, suffer in the same schools, and struggle to overcome a common history of limited opportunities caused by various forms of discrimination.

We simply cannot agree that the effects of these conditions on women and girls should pale to the point of invisibility, and are of such little significance that they warrant zero attention in the messaging, research and resourcing of this unprecedented Initiative. When we acknowledge that both our boys and girls struggle against the odds to succeed, and we dream about how, working together, we can develop transformative measures to help them realize their highest aspirations, we cannot rest easy on the notion that the girls must wait until another train comes for them. Not only is there no exceedingly persuasive reason not to include them, the price of such exclusion is too high and will hurt our communities and country for many generations to come.