CFP, Challenging Ontologies, long abstracts by Feb.20

Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy 2015

CSWIP 2015 is at the University of Regina, and the deadline for abstracts of 1,000 words is Feb. 20, 2015. Full conference information is here.

Challenging Ontologies: Making Sense in Ethics, Science, Politics, and Art

October 23-25, 2015
Campion College at the University of Regina, Canada

Keynote Address by Lisa Gannett, St. Mary’s University, Halifax

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers and panel proposals from all areas of philosophy and all philosophical approaches, including analytical, continental, and historically oriented philosophy.

In the broadest sense, ontologies are simply ways of making the world intelligible. As Annemarie Mol suggests, “ontology is not given in the order of things… ontologies are brought into being, sustained, or allowed to wither away in common, day-to-day, sociomaterial practices.” In that spirit, paper and panel topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Social ontologies, hidden ontologies, and the making of social meaning
• Socio-material practices and conceptual or linguistic strategies as ways of making sense
• Epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic considerations of ontological assumptions and practices
• Feminist metaphysics; material feminisms
• Critical metaphysics/ontologies of race, disability, fat, queerness, class
• Ontologies of pleasure and the erotic
• Ontologies of violence, vulnerability, colonialism, shame, trauma
• Challenging ontological orthodoxies in science, politics, ethics, aesthetics, technology, language, argumentation, environment, architecture, and education
• Onto-epistemology and ethico-onto-epistemology
• Artifactual histories and the ontologies of museums, galleries, laboratories, instruments
• Practices of mapping, visualizing, and representing as ontologically salient

Civility v. Freedom? Or something else?

Daily Nous reported that Marquette University is seeking to fire McAdams, and discusses academic freedom in a separate post here. Further discussion of these events is taking place at the Academe Blog (the blog of the AAUP, though its bloggers note the posts may not represent the official position of the organization):

Competence and integrity “in the current case,” as Holz puts it, demand that McAdams refrain from “sham[ing] and intimidat[ing] [a graduate student teacher] with an Internet story that was incompetent, inaccurate, and lacking in integrity, respect for other’s opinions, and appropriate restraint.” In Holz’s telling, McAdams need not exercise appropriate restraint because doing so would foster a more civil discourse—that would be the deeply problematic civility narrative. Rather, he needs to do so because this is how you help graduate students develop as teachers, a key part of faculty members’ jobs at a university: “it is vital for our university and our profession that graduate student instructors learn their craft as teachers of sometimes challenging and difficult students.” Whenever faculty choose to take an interest in graduate students’ teaching, those student instructors have a reasonable expectation of “appropriate and constructive feedback in order to improve their teaching skills.” McAdams made no effort to offer constructive feedback before or after condemning Abbate as a teacher, by name, on his public blog.

After listing several incidents of a similar flavor, Holz concludes that “with this latest example of unprofessional and irresponsible conduct [Marquette has] no confidence that [McAdams] will live up to any additional assurances . . . that [he] will take seriously [his] duties to respect and protect [Marquette] students, including [Marquette] graduate student instructors.”

. . .  Academic freedom is a license to say whatever one please in one’s research and non-institutional, extramural communications. It needs to remain such, as this license guarantees the very possibility of inquiry. And there are of course grey areas, where the limits of academic freedom are unclear. The AAUP often intervenes in these areas in the service of protecting speech rights—and rightly so. Defending faculty speech rights makes the project of a modern university possible. But so does helping students develop.

It is true that, as a matter of principle, the academic freedom central to the very idea of a university trumps civility. But McAdams’ is not a case of academic freedom under siege. His is a case of an abusive professor persistently, up to the present day, refusing to acknowledge any special obligation to the development of a graduate student at his university.

We only harm ourselves in working to add this sorry story to the record of CIVILITY v.FREEDOM.

Anonymous marking makes huge difference in elementary school

and non-anonymous marking has long-lasting effects.

Beginning in 2002, the researchers studied three groups of Israeli students from sixth grade through the end of high school. The students were given two exams, one graded by outsiders who did not know their identities and another by teachers who knew their names.

In math, the girls outscored the boys in the exam graded anonymously, but the boys outscored the girls when graded by teachers who knew their names. The effect was not the same for tests on other subjects, like English and Hebrew. The researchers concluded that in math and science, the teachers overestimated the boys’ abilities and underestimated the girls’, and that this had long-term effects on students’ attitudes toward the subjects.

For example, when the same students reached junior high and high school, the economists analyzed their performance on national exams. The boys who had been encouraged when they were younger performed significantly better.

They also tracked the advanced math and science courses that students chose to take in high school. After controlling for other factors that might affect their choices, they concluded that the girls who had been discouraged by their elementary schoolteachers were much less likely than the boys to take advanced courses.

For more, go here.