What I’m thankful for

It’s been a tough year for the profession in a lot of ways. Lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits. Public scandals. Fighting over public scandals. Other scandals not public. Online harassment, bullying, and prejudice manifest. One could easily begin to feel despair. I know there are times when I have–and I know there are others who are grappling with how these issues have affected them, and the painful personal and professional costs that have been imposed on them as a result. In the hopes of spreading a bit of cheer amidst the less sanguine, I wanted to take a moment to say a bit about what I’m thankful for (this is not a complete list, of course, just the first few things that came to mind).

I am thankful for those of you who have courageously worked to make the discipline a more welcoming and inclusive place. Whether it’s been through addressing inequity, discrimination, harassment, or assault, working to create a culture where these things are less acceptable, being willing to listen to the voices of those who have been marginalized and oppressed, standing up for yourself, or providing support to others who have been unjustly harmed on account of their social identity.

I am thankful for those of you who are deepening your own understanding of the complexity of disciplinary boundaries and the ways in which they are sometimes used for exclusionary purposes, or pushing those boundaries with your own work.

I am thankful for the exciting and brilliant work that’s being done in feminist philosophy, critical race theory, and philosophy of disability. It’s been a joy to read, and though it is not this work that first spurred my love of philosophy it is the work that reminds me of it, and gives me the greatest hope for our future as a discipline.

I am thankful for my fellow bloggers here at Feminist Philosophers. You have been an inspiration to me.

What are you thankful for?

(Note: Comments in the spirit of this post welcome–i.e., spreading a bit of cheer–comments in another spirit are not, but the internet is a big place and I am sure you can find another platform to host other discussions)

13 thoughts on “What I’m thankful for

  1. I am filled with hope for our profession too! Just a few observations of things that have genuinely changed only relatively recently: philosophers have now started to discuss the relative lack of engagement with non-western philosophy (following Eugene Park’s essay), and are trying to do something about it. Several of us now incorporate at least some non-western readings into our syllabi, such as Medieval Muslim philosophers. This is an exciting new development, which hopefully will lead to more new philosophical work that reflects on these traditions.
    Second, there is a more inclusive and welcoming attitude towards women in the profession. In my own department (Oxford’s philosophy faculty), we regularly hold a women’s lunch as well as mentoring workshops for female BPhil and DPhil students.
    In several philosophical areas, there is an increased openness to interdisciplinary work, e.g., Knobe showed in a recent paper in Cognition that philosophy of mind is increasingly informed by empirical work, a field that used to be mainly driven by a priori methods. I’ve noticed this in referee reports to my own works in the course of the years. Whereas referees used to object to my use of empirical findings to support a philosophical position, they are nowadays more open to this sort of approach.
    Philosophers are being reflective and critical towards attempts to rank departments – this too is a recent development, and whereas there have always been critical voices, it is only recently that the benefits and costs of rankings are being discussed in this way.

  2. I am thankful for the ethical non-monogamy group and orher organizations committed to making the profession a more inclusive, humane, and just place.

  3. I am thankful for and energized by the trend for philosophy to become a more open and intellectually exciting discipline–thanks in part to the wonderful energy of the Feminist Philosophers Blog Collective.

  4. I am thankful that discussions and awareness and identification of implicit bias– in our profession and elsewhere– are making their way into more places, including even my Thanksgiving table with friends.

  5. I am especially thankful for this blog and two other blogs: What is it like to be a woman in philosophy? and What is it like to be a person of color in philosophy?

  6. I’m thankful for the Feminist Philosophers blog and the people running it.
    I’m thankful for an amazing first semester of grad school in a department where I have felt supported and taken seriously, as a female student, from day one.
    I’m thankful for the friends and mentors I have in academia and beyond, including other woman philosophers who often go on a limb to take on difficult, sometimes politically charged, subjects and projects, and particularly inspire me by their example.
    I’m thankful for the one student in my department with whom I shared what felt like very scary health-related news, and who made me feel like I was meant to be in grad school and could make it through regardless of what I might have to deal with.

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