FEMMSS 6: Inside, Outside, and Across Disciplines: Gender, Race, and Concepts of Difference

Submission deadline March 25, 2016
Acceptance notifications by May 6, 2016

Submissions are invited for the sixth meeting of The Association for Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies (FEMMSS; to be held at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, October 2 through October 4, 2016. FEMMSS is a multidisciplinary organization. We welcome papers, posters, panels, and workshops from any academic discipline and from outside the academy. We especially encourage work that crosses traditional boundaries–disciplinary and academic/non-academic, among others–to expose how issues of gender, race, ability/disability, socioeconomic class, and other areas of difference impact scholarship, participation, policies, outcomes, and science practice. In addition to showcasing innovative work, FEMMSS aims to build a supportive network of science studies scholars, historians, philosophers, scientists, and others. It especially aims to include and encourage those who are underrepresented or are in other ways disadvantaged within their home disciplines.

Topics for FEMMSS 6 include but need not be limited to:

1. Interrogating social boundary concepts (e.g., gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, disability/ability, race, ethnicity, nationality) from diverse disciplinary perspectives
2. Social boundary concepts in feminist science studies: Where are we and what is needed?
3. Inclusive institutions: How can interdisciplinary research support organizational change?
4. Implicit bias and stereotype threat: The philosophy behind the social science research
5. Epistemologies of ignorance: Why do inequities and exclusions persist, and what knowledge implications do they have?
6. Feminist epistemologies, metaphysics and methodologies across disciplines: What do they promise and what do they presuppose?
7. Rhetoric, argumentation, and communication: Strategies to heal past injustice
8. The ethics and politics of biomedical research
9. Production of “natural differences” in science, medicine, and the law
10. Feminist perspectives on critical environmental issues
11. Engineering technologies for environmental justice and global peace
12. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education: Strategies for equity throughout the pipeline (pre-K through gray)
13. Accessibility and STEM education: Supporting students with disabilities
14. Professional Development: Thriving when you are ‘the only…’ in your unit
15. Professional Development: Promoting interdisciplinary scholarship/service/teaching

Submission instructions
You are permitted one submission, unless you are submitting a poster. If you are submitting a poster, you can also submit an abstract for a paper, panel, or workshop.

To submit please go to and sign up for an account. Direct questions regarding submissions to

● Individual papers and posters: Please provide a title, put a 300-word abstract in the text box, and select 3-10 topics/keywords. At the beginning of the abstract indicate if your submission is a poster. Please do not include any identifying information in your abstract.

● Panels: For the panel as a whole, provide a title, include a 300-word abstract in the text box, and select 3-10 topics/keywords. Upload a single document that includes each paper’s title and 300-word abstract. Please take care not to identify authors.

● Workshops: Provide a title, include a 300-word abstract with goals and rationale in the text box, and select 3-10 keywords/topics. Upload an additional 300-word description of the activities in which your audience will engage. Please take care not to identify authors.

● Keywords/Topics: Easy Chair requires submission of 3 keywords. You can copy keywords from the topic list or create unique keywords if your topics are not on the list.
FEMMSS was founded in 2004. Central aims of the organization include the encouragement of networking and collaboration among scholars in diverse fields; the development of analytic and pedagogical skills to aid such interdisciplinary work; the support of women and other underrepresented scholars in the various humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields, and the sharing of strategies for facilitating their success; and the mentoring of junior scholars. FEMMSS has a strong commitment to work that crosses boundaries among disciplines and between the academy and the public.

Notre Dame sponsors for FEMMSS 6 include: The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA), College of Arts and Letters, Henkels Lecture Series, the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, and the Gender Studies Program.

Apologies for cross posting.

On writing about the Cologne attacks

Excellent piece by Helen Lewis.

And that brings me to the other reason I didn’t want to write about the Cologne attacks. All the people who piously enquired as to whether I, as a feminist, had “anything to say” about them didn’t really care whether I did or not. They wanted me to say what they wanted to hear: that Muslims are uniquely sexist, and that letting in refugees from Muslim-majority countries will mean rolling back women’s rights and importing the worst excesses of sharia law to the streets of Coventry. Unless Western liberals wake up, Islamists will be chopping off hands outside Pret A Manger by 2018.

To put it politely, this is not the framing in which any reasonable conversation about women’s rights can happen…

A note: Before commenting, please actually read the piece.  She does in fact write about the attacks.

Introducing Jane

Movie producer Ross Putnam has begun tweeting portions of the movie scripts he reads, specifically descriptions of women film characters as they make their first appearance in a script.  He calls them all Jane, which is just as well since they all seem eerily similar and might as well share a name.

Jane is

athletic but sexy. A natural beauty. Most days she wears jeans, and she makes them look good.

pours her gorgeous figure into a tight dress, slips into her stiletto-heeled fuck-me shoes, and checks herself in the dresser mirror.

sits hunched over a microscope. She’s attractive, but too much of a professional to care about her appearance.

lithe, leggy, spirited, outgoing, not afraid to speak her mind, with a sense of humor as dry as the Sonoran Desert.

… and more…

Racism in UK universities

The Universities and Colleges Union is holding a day of action today.

The campaign aims to highlight the issues faced in our workplaces by black workers in the post-16 education sector and to raise the profile and progression of race equality in the union.

The day of action will also look at a new UCU report of the experience of UCU’s black members from a survey conducted in 2015.

The survey of 631 black union members working in post-16 education found that:

  • over two-thirds (71%) said they had ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ been subject to bullying and harassment from managers
  • nine out of ten (90%) black staff members report having faced barriers to promotion in colleges and universities.

For more, go here.

Sexual harassment in anthropology

Science has a big article about a serious sexual harassment case in physical anthropology, which also includes discussion of a survey on sexual harassment recently conducted by anthropologists, and of the broader issues in science.


For years now, I’ve been asked (alternatively) why philosophy is so bad on sexual harassment, or whether philosophy is unusually bad.  I’ve always had to say we don’t really know whether it’s so bad.  And we don’t.  But when I talked to random people in other fields, they tended to think their fields weren’t like philosophy.  I always reminded both them and myself that most philosophers didn’t know about the problems in philosophy before What is it Like started.  We still don’t know relative rates of sexual harassment across different fields. But as more and more big cases break, philosophy looks less anomalous for having the cases that it does.


MAYBE, just maybe instead of being behind the times in tolerating harassment philosophy has actually been ahead of the times in bringing it to light.