Black philosophers in elite philosophy journals

Liam Kofi Bright has a post at The Splintered Mind analyzing the number of publications by black philosophers in elite philosophy journals over the period of 2003-2012. The numbers are sobering, to say the least. Black philosophers are substantially less well-represented in the journals Bright looked at than they are in the profession as a whole, authoring less than .5% of the relevant journal articles:

In total there were 30 publications by US BIPs for all journals during this period. By contrast, there were 10659 publications overall during this period. This means that publications by US BIPs were 0.28% of the publications during this period. Of the 30 publications, 15 were research articles as opposed to book reviews. There were 7638 research articles overall in this period, meaning that research articles by US BIPs were 0.19% of the research articles published. Assuming that 61.5% of the population were US philosophers, this would make black philosophers 0.46% of the US philosopher authors. Likewise US BIPs would be 0.32% of US authors of research publications.

In line with the findings of What is the State of Blacks in Philosophy? I found that the publications of US BIPs were clustered around certain topic matters. In the 2014 article we found that the top 5 most common AOS among US BIPs were (1) Africana, (2) Race, (3) Social and Political, (4) Ethics, and (5) Continental philosophy. I hand coded the topic matters of the 15 research articles on the basis of their titles and abstracts. Almost two thirds (9 of them) concerned at least one of: philosophy of race, political philosophy, or ethics. One journal, Ethics, accounts for almost half of the US BIP publications (13 of them). Note that in the 2014 article we coded people’s AOS by self-identification on their CV or webpage rather than looking at their publications, so this is not circular. None the less, any bias towards certain AOS’ that was involved in producing the initial database of US BIPs may have been reproduced in this count.

Not many US BIPs published research articles in this period. The 15 journal articles were produced by 11 US black philosophers, 9 of whom were men and 2 of whom were women. For some perspective, Timothy Williamson published 15 research articles in the journals under study during this time period.

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