UCU Anti-Casualisation Committee

As many UK readers will know, the UCU is campaigning to end the abuse of casual contracts in tertiary education. The annual meeting for staff on casualised contracts took place on Friday 13th February, and that seemed like a good excuse to remind folks about the campaign. Here is a link to the campaign material page. And here is a link to the campaign blog.

CFP: Race and Aesthetics

CFP: Race and Aesthetics: A British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference Race and Aesthetics: A British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference raceandaesthetics.weebly.com May 19th and 20th, 2015 Leeds, UK

CALL FOR PAPERS: (Please note the revised submission deadline and format.) We invite papers that are on the conference themes: the psychological, political, and methodological intersections between philosophical studies of race and aesthetics. Please send either a *4000-word full paper draft* or a *1500-word extended abstract* that outlines the central argument, suitable for anonymous review, as an attachment to raceandaesthetics@gmail.com and include in the main text of the email: the paper title, your contact information, and your current affiliation. Please bear in mind that the papers should be suitable for a thirty-minute presentation. Each paper will be evaluated on the strength of its central argument and its embodiment of the conference’s spirit. Members of traditionally underprivileged groups in academia and junior scholars are warmly encouraged to apply. The submission deadline is *March 15th 2015*. We aim to make decisions within a month.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Alia Al-Saji (McGill University) Nathaniel Adam Tobias C̶o̶l̶e̶m̶a̶n̶ (University College London) Kristie Dotson (Michigan State University) A.W. Eaton (University of Illinois – Chicago) Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma) Ron Mallon (Washington University in St Louis) Charles W. Mills (Northwestern University) Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield) Paul C. Taylor (Pennsylvania State University)

CONFERENCE AIM AND THEMES: Nearly 100 years ago, the two founding giants of the academic field that became philosophy of race — W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke — debated the proper social and artistic conception of black aesthetics. Since then, there has been impressive growth in both philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics. Unfortunately, the advances in each of these philosophical fields seemed to have gone unnoticed by the other (with a few exceptions). Our aim with this conference is to reunite philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics. To return the spirit of Du Bois and Locke to contemporary discourse, we have invited philosophers who tackle philosophical problems related to race from diverse perspectives and philosophical aestheticians with demonstrated interest in race. We have chosen three intersections between race and aesthetics to focus on: psychology, politics, and methods. For more information on these themes, please visit the conference website: http://raceandaesthetics.weebly.com/themes.html .

ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSIVITY: We are adopting the BPA/SWIP-recommended good practices. We aim to be an inclusive conference and we will do our best, within our budgetary constraints, to help with childcare and lower the barrier of participation for disabled philosophers. Please email us to discuss how we can best offer accommodation. We have chosen a conference venue, Leeds Art Gallery, that has a strong accessibility infrastructure. Disabled parking is available, and the gallery entrance, the conference room, and toilets are all fully accessible. The conference room is equipped with a sound enhancement system for induction loops, and conference speakers will be asked to use microphones that connect to the system. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

SUPPORTED primarily by British Society of Aesthetics Connections Grant with ADDITIONAL SUPPORT from Centre for Aesthetics and Centre for Racism and Ethnicity Studies at University of Leeds

All questions can be directed to conference organizers, Shen-yi Liao and Aaron Meskin, at raceandaesthetics@gmail.com .

Names and pseudonyms

Hi everybody! After a little hiatus, I’m back. And I have a favor to ask. As most readers know, this pseudonym has been pretty publicly outed in various places. Despite that, I’m still going to keep using it here, and I’d like to ask that as much as possible my name be kept off this blog. (My first name is fine, but leave the last name out of it.) I’d like to minimize the amount of creepy email I get, especially since I already get plenty as it is. And keeping my full name off this blog is an important part of doing that. Yes, I am looking directly at you, persons who arrived here this week by searching for “handicapped porn”, “hairy feminist cunt”, “do feminists do anal?”, and “vaginas are gross”. Like most academics, my email address and phone number are publicly available and easily locatable. The internet is weird, and the treatment of women on the internet is especially weird. So as much as I don’t care that philosophers know who I am, I would prefer that everyone who visits this site not be able to easily contact me.

Academia is not a meritocracy

Aaron Clauset, Sam Arbesman and Daniel Larremore have analysed some data comcerning career paths in computer science, business, and history. People won’t, I imagine, be that surprised at their findings…

First, academics’ career success largely depends on the prestige of the department where they did their PhD. Second, the system is so skewed in favor of academics who came from prestigious departments that it’s really hard to explain this by just saying that they are better than people who went to less prestigious departments. The evidence suggests “a specific and significant preference for hiring faculty with prestigious doctorates” even aside from differences in their productivity (which are also more skewed than one would expect if the differences were based on merit alone). The system is also significantly skewed against women in both computer science and business, although there’s no evidence that they’re discriminated against in history.

This – as others have pointed out – intersects with issues of class, since people from lower classes tend not to be at more prestigious departments. Whilst they didn’t examine philosophy, it seems very plausible the same story holds there too. Links to further info/data on this issue would be great.

You can read more here.