CFP: Global Gender Justice: New Directions

The Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham is pleased to announce ‘Global Gender Justice: New Directions’, a conference to be hosted on 21 and 22 May 2015.

Confirmed speakers include:

Alison Jaggar (Colorado, Birmingham)
Nicola Jones (Overseas Development Institute)
Sue Lloyd Roberts (BBC)
Theresa Tobin (Marquette)
Heather Widdows (Birmingham)

Further speakers will be confirmed next year.

As a part of this conference, we welcome papers for two panel presentations, one for postgraduate students and one for early career researchers (defined as within 6 years of receiving the PhD).  Accommodation and transportation will be guaranteed for invited speakers from the UK.  Every effort will be made to cover transportation costs for invited international speakers.

Possible topics include:
-gendered aspects of traditional topics in global justice including income inequality, climate change, the resource curse, international trade, international migration, war and conflict, labour exploitation, global food systems, financial crises, etc.
-gender-specific issues that arise in the context of globalization, including commercial surrogacy, international sex work, transnational causes of violence against women, international law and gender specific crimes against humanity,
-the way in which globalization and theories of global justice have shaped or changed standard conceptions of feminist issues, including the public-private divide, the politics of representation, reproductive justice, care work, intersectionality,

We welcome papers from a range of fields but especially encourage submissions that develop normative analysis of issues in global gender justice.  Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, prepared for blind review, to   Please submit a separate cover sheet with author name, title, institution, location from which you would be travelling, and whether you have access to travel support funds.  Abstracts are due 31 January 2015.

CFP: Taming Power in Times of Globalization: What Role for Human Rights?

Call for Papers
Taming Power in Times of Globalization:
What Role for Human Rights?

Monday, 30 November 2015, and Tuesday, 01 December 2015.
Irish Centre for Human Rights
National University of Ireland Galway

The ways power is exercised today at the global level seems to be qualitatively different, demanding new responses from international law and other relevant disciplines. In particular, it seems that today the exercise of power at the global level is less controllable, less subject to restraints and checks than some decades ago. Global governance, international or global constitutionalism, legal pluralism are terms indicating some of the ways developed in the scholarship to comprehend, analyse and respond to challenges posed by the contemporary forms of exercise of power at the global level.
Human rights are featured prominently in the Western thought as hallmarks of protection of individuals against the arbitrary exercise of power.
Human rights form today a core of any Western constitutional order. However, the role of international human rights as mechanisms for controlling exercise of power at the global level is articulated only rudimentarily. The conference aims at providing a forum for discussion about the place of human rights in current discourses on globalization. Instead of assuming that human rights are a proof of the possibility to control power at the global level, the conference aims at examining this premise from a variety of perspectives.
The following are some of the questions the organizers would like to see addressed.
•       What human rights are part of international constitutional order?
•       How legal pluralism/global governance/various theories of constitutionalism conceive the role of human rights as a mechanism for limiting exercise of power at the global level?
•       What are the consequences of different answers?
•       How precisely human rights as guarantees against arbitrary exercise of power function within different visions?
•       Are there any alternatives available to the human rights language?
•       Can other mechanism of control over arbitrary exercise of power at the international/global level be imagined?

Contributions can address these and other related issues from a variety of perspectives, both theoretical and empirical. Critical and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly encouraged.  Contributions examining relavant issues from a historical perspective, or integrating experience of non western legal traditions are also welcome.
Contributions will be selected following a peer-review process. The selection will be based on the following criteria: relevance to the conference theme, originality, overall coherence of selected papers with a view of producing engaging discussion. The organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise format of publication will be discussed during the conference. Therefore, all selected contributions must be original and not published elsewhere. All presenters will be required to submit full papers in advance.
Accommodation for presenters will be provided. There are limited funds available to cover travel expenses. Please indicate while applying whether you would like to be considered for reimbursement of travel expenses and indicate if possible the approximate amount.

Submission guidelines:
Abstracts should be no more than 500 words long; contain the name, institutional affiliation and contact details of the author; indicate a title of the presentation, questions to be addressed, methodology and overall approach. Abstracts should be sent by 15 March 2015 in Word format to Ekaterina Yahyaoui and Zoi Aliozi
For inqueries, please contact Dr Zoi Aliozi at
Important dates:
Abstract submission: 15 March 2015
Communication of decisions: 10 April 2015
Submission of draft papers: 1 November 2015

Agreeableness and academic success

I was reminded of a discussion from a few years ago about philosophers “seeming smart” by hearing about a recent study investigating correlations between features of personality (measured by others, as opposed to self-reported) and academic success.

The study’s results suggest (in line with previous findings) that “conscientiousness” and “openness” are both significant predictors of academic success.

Interestingly, in this study a small but significant correlation was found between “agreeableness” as rated by others and academic success. Agreeableness is characterized here as “reflecting tendencies to be peaceful, tolerant, warm and accommodating” and said to be “linked with prosocial tendencies, in contrast with antagonistic behavior”.

Post from Former Colorado Chair

David Boonin, former Colorado Philosophy chair, writes:

there were indeed a number of complaints about certain members of the Department of the sort their statement identifies, the Department on its own was in fact unable to satisfactorily address them, and while the process by which the Department came to have an external chair and to be on the receiving end of some quite harsh treatment by the administration has most certainly been painful, the Department has just as certainly benefited from some of the strong and decisive actions to which my colleagues refer.

For the full text of his comment, go here.

Statement on CU-Boulder

H/T Daily Nous, Carol Cleland, Alison Jaggar, Mi-Kyoung Lee, Claudia Mills, from CU Boulder have published a statement in the Daily Camera:

We are the tenured women professors, and a professor emerita, in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Over the years, students and faculty in our department, mostly but not only women, have made numerous complaints about unprofessional behavior by certain members of the department.

Many of the complaints focused on sexual misconduct, but others included violations of harassment policy, including its anti-retaliation clause, and violations of the amorous relations policy. On its own, the department was unable to deal with these complaints — many of which were not formally reported because of fears of retaliation; in any case, by university and state regulations, professors are prohibited from undertaking investigations and sanctions on their own.

For this reason, we, and many of our colleagues, are grateful both to Andy Cowell, our external chair, as well as to the CU-Boulder administration, for taking strong and decisive action to investigate wrongdoing, for committing significant resources to punish those found in violation of university regulations, and for investing in the future of our department. Although the process has been and continues to be painful, we believe that the outcome will be positive.

We are in the process of stopping behavior that was harmful, especially to the women students and faculty in our department, and we are taking steps to make sure that in the future, such problems either will be prevented or, if they occur, will be addressed quickly and effectively. Although these measures may have temporarily damaged the reputation of our department in some quarters, we are confident that we can rebuild on stronger foundations.

We intend to repudiate a secret culture of misbehavior and to win back the confidence of prospective students and faculty on the basis of hard-won achievements with respect to the climate as well as the commitment of a solid core of faculty members to an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all.


Gender Bias in Technology

The Atlantic published an article this week about issues of gender bias in technology. Check it out here.

“[…] Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi bragged that the app [Apple Health] would let users “monitor all of your metrics that you’re most interested in. As promised, Health is a powerful app. It allows users to track everything from calories to electrodermal activity to heart rate to blood alcohol content to respiratory rate to daily intake of chromium. But there’s a notable exception. Apple Health doesn’t track menstruation, an omission that was quickly seized upon by many tech writers as, well, ridiculous.”

The article frames all of this as bias against women. While there is lots of bias against women and female bodies in technology, I want to qualify that at least some of this bias is I think more accurately bias against bodies that do not conform to (culturally ideal) male bodies.

As a point to consider, not everyone who experiences menstruation is a woman, and not all women have experienced menstruation. It is absolutely true, however, that our dominant cultural norms do not take menstruation to be a process of the (ideal) male body. Therefore, leaving out menstruation affects people of various genders whose body does not conform to what we tout as the ‘normal’ male body, which includes many women.

CFP: Intersectionality, Work and Gender (Journal)

Volume 9 No 2 of Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation will be a special themed issue on Intersectionality, Work and Globalisation.

The paradigm of intersectionality developed by race relations activists and feminist theorists has been popularised beyond institutional frontiers and these important developments have produced significant insights alongside single equality strands such as gender, age, race, class, sexuality (Tomlinson, 2013). McCall has claimed that intersectionality is ‘the most important theoretical contribution that Women’s Studies in conjunction with related fields, has made so far’ (2005: 1771). Indeed, intersectionality provides a methodological framework that contributes to capturing aspects of complex historical contexts, and some of the multiple dimensions of experiences of marginalisation, and has led to important research on identity and power (Yuval-Davies, 1997, 2006, 2011; Choo en Ferree, 2010; Lykke 2011). Social class, age, race, gender and sexuality are aspects of power relationships, which are embodied in patterns of social inequalities that involve forms of exclusion and inclusion (Verloo, 2013). Moreover, both coercion and consent are actions that can sustain or challenge these inequalities. The formation and exercise of power is central in all these dimensions. However the concept of intersectionality has also been criticised for leading to a focus on ‘identity politics’ and a fracturing of solidarities.
Women play a pivotal role in the global value chain as both producers and consumers. Although women’s work in the value chain in the less developed countries is often under-valued and tends to be at the lower end of the chain, paradoxically, it can offer opportunities for gainful employment, skills development and emancipation. Nonetheless it is clear that women in different countries have different experiences of the value chain. However, in the main, much of the work on the intersections of gender with other strands in relation to work and work organisations has focused on women in developed countries. Secondly, extant research on intersectionality in emergent or developing countries and economies has focused on geography (e.g. Valentine, 2008) or development studies that engage with gender equity in education, poverty alleviation, health and citizenship. With few exceptions, the intersectional literature to date has failed to explore the similarities and differences in the work experiences of women in different areas of the developing world. For example what are the work and employment experiences of women in rural Pakistan compared to their counterparts in Ghana? Also to what extent are there comparison and complementarities between female software workers in India and those in Ukraine?
This special edition welcomes papers that address the work and career experiences of women in developing countries, who work within global value chains from an intersectional perspective. Papers are invited that contribute to the evaluation of the interface between different intersections of women’s working lives within these chains. It welcomes papers that consider the relationships between structure and agency in the working lives of these women and their access to material and social resources including, social, cultural and economic capitals, and constraints and enablement. Papers will also be welcomed that focus on regulatory frameworks at the structural, as well as the institutional/organisational levels that impact the global labour market experiences of these women. Whilst the main focus of the issue is on women in developing economies, papers will also be considered that compare their situations to those in developed countries or examine complementarities and interdependencies at an international level.
We welcome:
• Empirical studies of the work and career experiences of women in global value chains in Latin American, African and South East Asian countries.
• Theoretical papers that critically assess the contributions of intersectionality to understanding the gendered character of the new global division of labour
• Analyses of similarities and differences in the work/career experiences of women and men, as well as among women of different classes, ethnicities, locations and other demographic variables across global value chains.
• Analyses of the impact of the intersection of gender with other social structures (e.g. religion, class, culture, sexuality, disability and age on the work/career experiences of women in these countries.
• Studies of the impacts of legislative interventions/frameworks and organisational support on women’s experiences of work in global value chains.

Submission guidelines can be found here.
This issue will be edited by:
Dr. Cynthia Forson, University of Hertfordshire, contact
Dr Natalia Rocha-Lawton, University of Coventry contact
Dr Moira Calveley, University of Hertfordshire contact
The editors are happy to discuss abstracts prior to submission.
Please submit to the editor contact by February 22nd, 2015


Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation is an independent, international inter-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal, founded in 2006. From January 2015, it will be published by Pluto Journals with online distribution by JSTOR.

More information about the aims of the journal, its editorial board and the contents of past issues is available at Until December 31st, 2014, journal content can still be accessed online here

The REF and temporary staff

Folks might be interested in signing this petition…

More and more university lecturers and researchers are now employed on short-term contracts that force them to spend huge amounts of time looking for their next job and to move constantly from one place to another. Among the many ways these people are exploited is that universities hire them on short-term contracts just before the REF; now, when we are reacting to the REF results, it is easy to forget that some of the people responsible for certain universities’ success have already lost their jobs at those universities.

The next REF should give universities an incentive to employ staff on longer-term contracts, by weighting submissions so that a researcher on a long-term contract is worth more than the same researcher on a short-term contract. (For details of this plan, see here.) We call upon HEFCE to implement such an incentive.

Adam Hosein in the Boston Review

Adam Hosein (CU Boulder) has published an incredibly thoughtful and interesting piece on torture and prosecution in the Boston Review. Hosein argues against the idea that it is somehow undemocratic – or ‘criminalizing politics’ – to prosecute the clear violations of both domestic and international anti-torture laws that have come to light in the US. He also remarks on the under-discussed racial and cultural backdrop to these debates:

Along with most commentators, I have been talking about our reasons to prohibit and prosecute torture as a general matter. But I think this leaves out an important piece of the moral context. Less discussed, though also relevant, is what the actions described in the report express to Muslims and people from Muslim countries about their status. Those uses of torture imply that these people’s bodies are worthy of the worst degradation, treatment that would be inconceivable for white Americans. When Dick Cheney insinuated that pretty much everyone who got tortured had it coming, even though the report explicitly identified some innocent victims, he implicitly said that they had already committed the crime of having the wrong face, the wrong religion, and/or the wrong country. When thinking about impact on the public good, this racism may, as many people have suggested, make torture counter-productive, by aiding the recruitment efforts of terrorists. But it also harms innocent Muslims and people from Muslim countries by undermining their ability to trust their own government or the dominant power in the world.