Microagressions: Quelle Horreur

I first heard about Microagressions from Sally Haslanger at a workshop at Rice University.  The term seem to me to collect together all the various kinds of actions, verbal and other, that express directly or indirectly the negative stereotypes someone falls under.

it turns out that microagressions can bring out a lot of aggression on the part of critics.  A (silly)writer in the CHE (behind a wallmaintains that claims about being the target of microaggressions are creating a victimhood culture.  And the discussion at Daily Nous is fraught enough that it could fracture whatever peace of mind one has before reading it.

So what is happening?  Here’s one take that seems plausible.  We all now know that there are a lot of implicit biases lurking below our usual self-awareness.  A lot of microaggressions are signs of these biases and/or other more explicit ones.  And taken together, their targets are at least fatigued by these mini-assaults.  We want this stuff to stop.  Among other things, they are harmful.  But guess how the perps feel!  THEY ARE OFTEN UNHAPPY.  Free speech, don’t ya know. Check out the CHE or Daily Nous.


If you’re new to the topic of Microaggressions, the following might be helpful.

To some extent the examples and indeed discussions reflect that the fact that in many areas white middle/upper class men are the source of relevant norms and Microaggressions may place some members of the rest of humanity below that.

For example, a woman who warms to a philosophical debate may be told to calm down.  White men are cool headed, while women are emotional in a way that can threaten the quality of a philosophical discussion, the stereotype has it.  But there are certainly areas where white guys can be the target of microaggressions.  For example, a white guy trying out for a basketball team may hear snickering from players of color as he tries to shoot a basket.  Or a father with his 6 year old daughter who is trying to buy a birthday party outfit for her may find assumptions of his incompetence are clearly communicated to him and his daughter.

These incidents can be harmful.  It is harder to shoot well when people are snickering.  No one needs to leave a clothing store with a child worried about her parent’s competence.

in the arenas where white men form the stereotype of the good performer, others may find these microaggressions abound.  You might, if you are like me, be treated like the madwoman who has escaped from the attic.  Or you may find that the graduate student on whose work you coomented failed to see you had given arguments to back up your criticisms.  (These are true cases; the second has happened twice at professional meetins.  The first too many times to count.) Such cases are not going to ruin one’s career, but they are professionally harmful and sometimes just appalling.


Workshop on Feminist Ontology, MIT, 2nd-3rd October

A read-ahead workshop on feminist ontology will take place at MIT on the 2nd and 3rd of October. Registration is free and all are welcome.

Ásta Sveinsdóttir (San Francisco State University): “Social Construction as Social Significance”
Commentator: Abigail Klassen (York University and University of Nevada-Las Vegas)

Céline LeBoeuf (Harvard University): “Anatomy of the Thigh Gap”
Commentator: Hilkje Haenel (Humboldt University)

Elizabeth Barnes (University of Virginia): “Realism and Social Structure”
Commentator: Rebecca Mason (University of San Francisco)

Katharine Jenkins (University of Sheffield): “The Institutional Reality of Gender”
Commentator: Åsa Burman (Stockholm University)

Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire): “Feminist Metametaphysics”
Commentator: Shannon Dea (University of Waterloo)

For full details, including accessibility information and contact details for the organisers, see: http://feministontology.weebly.com

Call for Papers

“Feminist Phenomenology, Medicine, Bioethics, and Health”

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics

Special Issue 11.1

Guest Editor

Lauren Freeman
Department of Philosophy
University of Louisville

Although by no means mainstream, phenomenological approaches to bioethics and philosophy of medicine are no longer novel. Such approaches take the lived body – as opposed the body understood as a material, biological object – as a point of departure. Such approaches are also invested in a detailed examination and articulation of a plurality of diverse subjective experiences, as opposed to reifying experience under the rubric of “the subject” or “the patient.” Phenomenological approaches to bioethics and medicine have broached topics such as pain, trauma, illness, death, and bodily alienation – to name just a few – and our understandings of these topics have benefitted from and are deepened by being analyzed using the tools of phenomenology.

There is also a rich history of approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective. Combining these two approaches and methodologies has furthered our understandings of lived experiences of marginalization, invisibility, nonnormativity, and oppression. Approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective has also broadened the subject matter of traditional phenomenology to include analyses of sexuality, sexual difference, pregnancy, and birth. Moreover, feminist phenomenological accounts of embodiment have also helped to broaden more traditional philosophical understandings and discussions of what singular bodies are and of how they navigate the world as differently sexed, gendered, racialized, aged, weighted, and abled. Feminist phenomenological accounts and analyses have helped to draw to the fore the complicated ways in which identities intersect and have made the case that if we are really to understand first person embodied accounts of experience, then a traditional phenomenological account of “the subject” simply does not suffice.

The aim of this special issue is to explore and develop the connections between feminist phenomenology, philosophy of medicine, bioethics, and health. The issue will consider on the one hand, how feminist phenomenology can enhance and deepen our understanding of issues within medicine, bioethics, and health, and on the other hand, whether and how feminist approaches to medicine, bioethics, and health can help to advance the phenomenological project.

Topics appropriate to the special issue include, but are not limited to, feminist phenomenological analyses and/or critiques of:

·      Health, illness, and healthcare

·      Social determinants of health (e.g., food justice, environmental justice, labor equity, transnational inequities)

·      Negotiating medical bureaucracies and access to care

·      Health/care in constrained circumstances (i.e., in prisons, as migrants, in conditions without secure health insurance)

·      Sex and gender

·      Rape, sexual violence, or domestic violence

·      Transgender and trans* experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare

·      Intersex experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare

·      Death and dying

·      Palliative care and end of life

·      Caregiving for ill friends, family members, and children

·      Pregnancy, labor, childbirth

·      Miscarriage

·      Abortion, contraception, sterilization

·      Organ transplantation

·      Cosmetic surgery

·      Body weight

·      Addiction

·     Mental illness

·      Physical and cognitive disability

Submission Information

Word limit for essays: 8000 words.

IJFAB also welcomes submissions in these additional categories:

·      Conversations provide a forum for public dialogue on particular issues in bioethics. Scholars engaged in fruitful exchanges are encouraged to share those discussions here. Submissions for this section are usually 3,000–5,000 words.

·      Commentaries offer an opportunity for short analyses (under 4,000 words) of specific policy issues, legislation, court decisions, or other contemporary developments within bioethics.

·   Narratives often illuminate clinical practice or ethical thinking. IJFAB invites narratives that shed light on aspects of health, health care, or bioethics. Submissions for the section are usually in the range of 3,000–5,000 words.

Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2017

Anonymous review: All submissions are subject to triple anonymous peer review. The Editorial Office aims to return an initial decision to authors within eight weeks. Authors are frequently asked to revise and resubmit based on extensive reviewer comments. The Editorial Office aims to return a decision on revised papers within four-six weeks.

Submissions should be sent to EditorialOffice@IJFAB.org indicating special issue “Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine” in the subject heading.

All submissions should conform to IJFAB style guidelines. For further details, please check the IJFAB website at http://www.ijfab.org/cfp.html

For further information regarding the special issue please contact Lauren Freeman at Lauren.Freeman@louisville.edu

Call for Chapter Proposals

Series Title: Moral Psychology of Emotions
Volume: Shame
Edited by: Cecilea Mun

Call for Chapter Proposals
I am submitting a proposal to Rowman and Littlefield International for a volume on Shame as part of an already accepted series on moral psychology and emotions, which was submitted by Mark Alfano. I invite chapter proposals from all disciplines and areas of study. Scholarly work in feminist philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and law are especially welcome. Proposals dealing with corollary issues like resentment and anger are welcome, as long as they are clearly and appropriately related to the central topic of Shame.

Submission Details
Proposals should be between 200-300 words, include citations, and should clearly describe the author’s thesis and provide an overview of the proposed chapter’s structure. All proposals should be prepared for blind review, removing any reference to the author. As a separate document, authors should provide a short CV containing contact information and relevant publications, presentations, and/or research on Shame. Please email your submission to rlshamevolume@gmail.com with the subject line “Shame volume proposal from [your name].”
Abstracts Due: August 14, 2015
Notification of Acceptance: August 31, 2015
Finalized Draft Due: December 31, 2016

Thank you for your time and consideration!
Cecilea Mun, Ph.D.