The UnMute Podcast: a platform for voices in philosophy that have been silenced

We’re really excited to see that a fantastic new series of podcasts is starting. Hosted by Myisha Cherry, The UnMute Podcast is a new monthly philosophy podcast that seeks to provide a platform to voices and topics that have been silenced. Myisha writes:

The aim of the podcast is to:
a) Allow a general audience to see that there are philosophers that exist who are not old white men. They are young, women, black, queer, hispanic, etc.
b) To provide listeners with an opportunity to see how a philosopher’s work connects to the ethical, social, and political dramas of the day.
c) Highlight philosophers whose research is not given much attention in mainstream philosophy either because it is controversial or not taken seriously.

Our first episode features Yale University philosophy professor, Jason Stanley. We chat about satire, public intellectualism, liberalism, and we try to answer the question: Can anyone be a philosopher?

We’re looking forward to listening!

15 thoughts on “The UnMute Podcast: a platform for voices in philosophy that have been silenced

  1. I don’t understand why the first guest is a middle-aged, white man. Still, this is a great idea and I’ll be looking forward to future episodes.

  2. I wasn’t sure if it was an Onion piece myself. Jason Stanley as a voice that has been “silenced”? The New York Times readership really has fallen.

  3. One would think that part of being an ally is stepping aside and allowing others to talk. This is what I try to train my male white privileged students to do: hold your peace for a while and let others say something, especially if you have already had your say on many occasions. Jason Stanley still has time to do this: he could graciously step aside and propose another speaker, one who is either young or a woman or black or queer or Hispanic or etc.

  4. This sounds like a great podcast series! Regarding the selection of Jason Stanley as the first guest, my inclination is to defer to Myisha Cherry on this issue. It should be noted that any of these podcasts features a member of underrepresented groups in philosophy by definition if Cherry is the host. I also assume that Cherry has good reasons for her selection (i.e., maybe she thinks Stanley is a particularly well known figure who’d bring a wider audience to the series). But if she’s looking for a way to diversify this particular podcast, maybe she could host an extra interviewee or two to share the stage with Stanley.

  5. I presume Jason S fits (b). This is a good project and it’s a shame to see so much immediate criticism. One might think that a high profile first post is a good way to attract initial interest to the podcast. Or perhaps he was the first of the invited guests who was immediately available?

  6. The query about whether Jason Stanley is a god choice of first guest has, it seems, now been raised quite comprehensively, so I’m going to ask that future comments refrain from re-iterating this point.

  7. The podcast page doesn’t say Jason Stanley is a voice that has been silenced. Take Myisha Cherry’s description in its entirety, where she says that this podcast is about both “people and topics that have been silenced,” topics, not just people. Propaganda is not the most centrally featured topic in Philosophy.

    Stepping aside may be part of being an ally, but it’s only a part. I think Myisha Cherry’s choices of guests are all good choices.

  8. Having managed to stop laughing now.. (come on, it’s hilarious).. “One might think that a high profile first post is a good way to attract initial interest to the podcast. Or perhaps he was the first of the invited guests who was immediately available?” Fair enough, but can we sometimes extend this sort of charity to all male line-ups then? Or other contexts where people are quick to call ‘mansplaining’?

  9. The wording of (a) implies that there are no queer old white men, or at least none who have been muted in the ways that this podcast seeks to undo. I don’t know an easy way to fix it without going off on an adjective spree, but the implication is unfortunate.

  10. Hello all. This is Myisha Cherry. Thanks for your comments so far. Understanding the request directed above, I think its only fair for me to respond even if it seems repetitive.

    I was hoping that you all would have gone to the website link and gotten more information about the podcast from there. Some of you did and I thank you. The quoted message I sent above was quite brief. ON http://www.unmutepodcast.co website I am very detailed about my mission.

    The mission as you see from the subtitle of the podcast AND hear in the first 5 seconds of the podcast, is to offer a place where philosophy and real-world issues collide. That is my goal. It is called UnMute because “we want to give a platform to people AND topics that have been silenced”. To do this, I will bring multiple voices to the table.

    As for why Jason Stanley is the first guest, the podcasts makes it clear that he is working on stuff where he trying to allow philosophy and real world issues collide. He is also in Paris where a controversial attack just occurred. He also just wrote a public article about it. His upcoming book about propaganda is very relevant to politics right now. (Yes there are other people. And I want those other people)

    To question Jason as my first guest and not get excited about the 5 african americans, 4 women, all junior scholars (except Jason) that you will see if you visit the website and that now many people are going to hear beyond academia is problematic and seems disingenious.

    As a black, queer young woman in philosophy I am thinking deeply about my guests and topics. TRUST ME, I am choosing each guest with care because I know my purpose!

    This is a different podcast than what exist. What we will talk about and the guests I will have, are different from what other podcasts like philosophy bites or partially examined life provides.

    This is something to get excited about. I am excited. Help me to make this awesome for the public and our profession. Give me suggestions. Reach out to me. I am about change and that can’t happen if statements are left only in comment threads.

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