Below you will see the announcement for the Mansbridge Awards.  FP also received a note headed by this

Dear Colleagues who have been calling institutions to account on sexual harassment,

The American Political Science Association Women’s Caucus would like to share with you this year’s citation for the Mansbridge awards, a new award given by the Caucus for improving conditions for women in political science.

Although you are not mentioned by name in the citation pasted in below, it does mention those who have worked to call harassers to account, and mentions that these people know who they are. We hope you all know you have made a difference this year, and we are sure, in other years.

Further, let me note that the articles about the philosopher named below were done almost entirely by Jenny Saul. (One was done by the indefatigable K. Pogin!)


Committee: Kristen Monroe (Past-President), Laurel Weldon (President), Denise Walsh (President-elect)
The 2016 Mansbridge Awards Committee of the National Women’s Caucus for Political Science is pleased to recognize two awardees. This year’s theme honors those who work to promote public accountability for gender equality and inclusion in the Profession and beyond.
The first awardee is Women Also Know Stuff (WAKS). Women Also Know Stuff is dedicated to promoting the work of women political scientists. These brilliant women have devised a social media strategy to hold accountable those who construct expertise in our society without appropriately including women political scientists. They have both prompted greater discussion of the importance of including greater expertise, and they have provided a resource that enables those so inclined to identify appropriate speakers and experts. For more information see
The editorial board of WAKS includes: Emily Beaulieu, University of Kentucky, Amber Boydstun, University of California, Davis; Nadia Brown, Purdue University; Kim Yi Dionne, Smith College; Andra Gillespie, Emory University; Samara Klar, University of Arizona (founder of Women Also Know Stuff); Yanna Krupnikov, Stony Brook University; Melissa Michelson, Menlo College; Kathleen Searles, Louisiana State University and Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame. We thank them, and all the WAKS supporters and followers, for their work promoting women in political science.

The second group we would like to recognize are the people who blew the whistle this year on sexual harassment, both in Political Science and beyond, again holding our profession and our institutions publicly to account. This includes the many women in the field who took it upon themselves to approach the APSA leadership about sexual harassment at national conferences last year, the women and others in APSA leadership who helped craft the response over the last year, as well as the many women fighting battles at their own institutions across the country, including, for example, the public discussion of Philosopher Thomas Pogge (see professor?utm_term=.rrV0Av8vY#.pw30V2a2G). This is a more diffuse group, but these women know who they are. Thank you from the Caucus.
The Mansbridge Awards were established by the Caucus in 2015 to honor political scientist Jane Mansbridge. The Minutes read that “The National Women’s Caucus for Political Science voted to establish a new award, named after Jane Mansbridge, past WCPS President, former APSA President and a tireless worker, dedicated to opening new opportunities for women. The Jane Mansbridge Award will be given on special occasions to extraordinary individuals who perform service above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of the WCPS and to advance opportunities for women in general. Recipients of the Mansbridge Award will be chosen by the WCPS President, President-elect, and past-president. Nominations may come from any member of the WCPS.”

CFP: APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy

Call for Papers: APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy Spring 2017

Due Date: November 15, 2016

Feminism and Policing
Co-Edited with Julinna Oxley, Coastal Carolina University

The Spring 2017 issue of the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy will focus on the issue of policing from a feminist perspective.

In recent years, scholars have focused their attention on different aspects of the criminal justice system and proposed reforms. Feminist scholars have examined racial bias in prosecution, the effects of poverty and class in the justice system, and the treatment of women in prison. However, the practice of policing has received less attention. What can feminist scholars contribute to the critique of current police practices? How might feminist scholarship enrich the debate over how to reform law enforcement training programs, practices, and protocols?

Philosophers are invited to submit short essays on the topic of policing. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Analyses of how stereotypical gender norms affect the dynamics of policing protocols and practice.
  • Critical intersectional approaches to how citizens and communities experience surveillance, including race, gender, social class, ethnic background, religious orientation, and other vectors of oppression.
  • Critical evaluations of how white masculinity and white supremacy function in the reporting of crimes, arrests, and other dimensions of law enforcement.
  • Proposed normative ethical approaches to policing, which may include feminist principles and methods
  • Examination of community-relations outreach initiatives that seek to build trust, cooperation and social harmony between citizens and law enforcement
  • Feminist proposals for how to improve mandatory police trainings or police protocols, such as threat assessment, traffic stops, stop and frisk, the use of deadly force, etc.
  • Feminist analysis of the police industrial complex, and the increasing militarization of police forces (including SWAT teams)
  • Critical discussions of the (personal) experience of female and/or LGBTQ police officers, in their training, treatment as law enforcement officers or their approach to policing.
  • Feminist approaches to curtailing abuses of power in an attempt to maintain social order.
  • Critical discussion of the gender imbalance in law enforcement.

Papers on any aspect of the topic are welcome. Papers on other topics related to feminism and philosophy will be considered as well. Because of the nature of the newsletter and the fact that it is only available in electronic form now, articles of any length are acceptable. All papers are peer-reviewed.

Book Reviews

I welcome reviewers for the books listed below. I am looking for reviewers with specific expertise on the subject of the text. Please keep in mind that book reviews are not the same as book reports. They should engage with the subject of the text in the context of other texts on the subject.

If you are interested in reviewing one of these texts, or wish to review a text not included here, please email me at with an attached C.V. and an explanation of your particular interest in and qualifications for reviewing the chosen text. If you do not own the book, I will request a copy from the publisher. Deadlines for reviews are negotiable.

Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Routledge 2014.

Barthold, Lauren Swayne. A Hermeneutic Approach to Gender and Other Social Identities. Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

Bianchi, Emanuela. The Feminist Symptom: Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos. Fordham University Press, 2014.

Brake, Elizabeth, ed. After Marriage: Rethinking Martial Relationships. Oxford University Press 2015.

Butler, Judith. Senses of the Subject. Fordham University Press, 2015.

David, Miriam E. Feminism, Gender and Universities-Politics, Passion and Pedagogies. Institute of Education, University of London, UK, 2014.

Dea, Shannon. Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender. Broadview Press, 2016.

Harbin, Ami. Disorientation and Moral Life. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Nussbaum, Martha. Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Meyers, Diana. Victims’ Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights. Oxford Univeristy Press, 2016.

Oksala. Johanna. Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations. Northwestern University Press, 2016,

Potter, Nancy. The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Shrage, Laurie and Stewart, Robert. Philosophizing about Sex. Broadview Press, 2015.

Sowaal, Alice and Weiss Penny A. Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. Penn State University Press, 2016.

Tarver, Erin and Sullivan, Shannon. Feminist Interpretations of William James. Penn State University Press, 2015.

The format for submissions of papers and book reviews is in previous issues of the Newsletter, available on the APA website:

Send submissions to:
Serena Parekh
Editor, APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy Northeastern University, Department of Philosophy and Religion

Sara Ahmed on her resignation

Sara Ahmed resigned her post at Goldsmith’s in protest over sexual harassment.  Yesterday this resignation was on the front page of the Guardian, as part of the story on sexual harassment and non-disclosure agreements we linked to.  She has now posted a much longer discussion of her experiences and why she resigned.

By saying resignation is a feminist issue I am not saying to resign is an inherently feminist act even when you resign in protest because of the failure to deal with the problem sexual harassment. I am saying: to be a feminist at work means holding in suspense the question of where to do our work. The work you do must be what you question. Sometimes, leaving can be staying, with feminism. Sometimes. And not for all feminists: other feminists in the same situation might stay because they cannot afford to leave, or because they have not lost the will to keep chipping away at those walls.

So it is time to tell the story. This is my story: of how I came to resign; how I came to the decision not just to leave my post, but the university system.

This is my story.

It is personal.

Read on.

The unfortunate sex life of girls today (in the USA)

And, presumably, elsewhere at least in the West.

The August 18th issue of The New York Review of Books has a review of three books about teenage girls; two are based on interviews and the news they convey is pretty grim.  The reviewer does not endorse all the generalizations and conclusions of the authors, but just the features recounted by the girls are enough.  The material raises some very important questions.  I’ll start with them and then provide some snippets that illustrate what the books are saying.

Question One:  The idea that protecting women on campuses means insisting on “no means no” overlooks the fact that a lot of young women have sex when they don’t really want to.  They lack self-respect and sense of autonomy to take charge of their sexual lives.  What can we do about this?  I should think that the problems need to be started to be addressed very early, as in grade school.

As the reviewer, Zoe Heller, says,

Making young men more vigilant about obtaining consent and discouraging their tendency “to see girls’ limits as a challenge to overcome” is no doubt essential, but if young women are still inclined to say “yes” when they mean “no”—are more willing to endure unwanted sex than to risk being considered prudish—the new standards of consent would seem to be of limited value.

Question Two:  If the really practical problems of girls’ oppression are as bad as they sound, should this affect our teaching?  I find it embarrassing now to think of what I considered ‘liberating’ thought ten years ago.  Has your teaching addressed related issues?  What can one do?


The snippets:

In American Girls, Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers a study based on interviews with more than two hundred girls, Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales argues that the most significant influence on young women’s lives is the coarse, sexist, and “hypersexualized” culture of social media. …[T]hanks to the many hours they spend each day in an online culture that treats them—and teaches them to treat themselves—as sexual objects, they are no more, and perhaps rather less, “empowered” in their personal lives than their mothers were thirty years ago.

The fact that being “the girl everybody wants to fuck” can now be characterized as a bold, feminist aspiration is one measure, [Sales] suggests, of how successfully old-fashioned sexual exploitation has been sold to today’s teenage girls as their own “sex-positive” choice.

Peggy Orenstein interviewed more than seventy young women for her book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape … Although many of them led active sex lives and professed to find sex “awesome,” few had ever achieved orgasm with a partner. (Most of them had faked it.) And while the majority of them regarded providing oral sex as a mandatory feature of the most fleeting sexual encounter, they rarely received, or expected to receive, oral sex in return. (Several rejected the idea of cunnilingus as embarrassing and worried that their vaginas were “ugly, rank, unappealing.”)

[Orenstein] points to the fact that most of her interview subjects had been dutifully shaving or waxing their “bikini areas” since the age of fourteen. (Rather like Ruskin, whose ideas about the naked female form are said to have been gleaned from classical statuary, modern porn-reared boys expect female genitalia to be hairless.)

A general caveat about the grim picture:  Heller, maintains

If the good old days were never as good as both writers are wont to imply, the dark days of our present era are not quite as unremittingly desperate either. Notwithstanding the vicious influence of pornography, social media, and Miley Cyrus, contemporary girls still manage to have high school boyfriends; some of them even get around to watching alternative films at college. Fifteen-year-olds may go online to learn how to perform fellatio, but they also post fearsome rebukes to boorish boys on Facebook … and attend Nicki Minaj concerts to hear the rapper sermonize on why a woman should never be financially dependent on a man.

Non-disclosure agreements and sexual harassment

A very important story.

Universities’ use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment cases involving staff and students is allowing alleged perpetrators to move to other institutions where they could offend again, according to academics, lawyers and campaigners.

They warn that the prevalence of harassment is being masked because of the use of confidentiality clauses in settlements, which prevent any of the parties discussing what has happened.

Universities that find themselves at the centre of sexual harassment allegations are accused of prioritising their own reputations in an increasingly competitive higher education marketplace over their duty of care to vulnerable students.

REVISED deadline for SAF at Pacific APA: Sep.10

REVISED CFP: SAF Session at the Pacific Division APA 2017

Want to go to Seattle? Then speed something to us!

NEW Deadline for submissions: September 10, 2016.

Society for Analytical Feminism

Feminist Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition

CALL FOR PAPERS or Proposals

SAF Session at the Pacific Division APA, Westin Seattle, Seattle, Washington, April 12-15, 2017

The Society for Analytical Feminism invites submissions for a session at the 2017 Pacific Division APA meetings.

The Society seeks papers that examine feminist issues by methods broadly construed as analytic, or discuss the use of analytic philosophical methods as applied to feminist issues. Authors should submit an extended abstract, as detailed as possible (up to 1000 words) accompanied by a bibliography, outlining papers appropriate to a 20-minute presentation time. Please delete all self-identifying references from your submission to ensure anonymity.

If you are proposing a panel or author-meets-critics session, we will require the names of all participants in this panel (and titles and abstracts of panel presentations).

Send submissions as a word attachment to Kathryn Norlock with the subject line, SAF AT PACIFIC APA, to (kathrynnorlock at gmail dot com), on or before September 10, 2016.

Graduate students or underfunded professionals whose papers are accepted will be eligible for the Society’s $250 Travel Stipend. Please indicate in your email if you fall into one of these categories and wish to be considered for the stipend.


The Society for Analytical Feminism provides a forum where issues concerning analytical feminism may be openly discussed and examined. Its purpose is to promote the study of issues in feminism by methods broadly construed as analytic, to examine the use of analytic methods as applied to feminist issues, and to provide a means by which those interested in Analytical Feminism may meet and exchange ideas. The Society meets yearly at the Central Division meetings of the APA and frequently organizes sessions for the Eastern Division and Pacific Divisions.

Membership in the Society is open to all who are interested in and concerned with issues in Analytical Feminism. Annual dues are $25 for regularly employed members, $15 for students, unemployed, underemployed, and retired members. For more information about SAF, including membership form, please visit our website.

2nd order bias




Companies that named female CEOs who were showcased in the press found their stocks trading at a discount just after the announcement, while the stocks of companies that gave the top job to women quietly were more likely to receive a positive response. For men, the response was inverted: The announcement of a male CEO who got little attention in the press appeared to have no significant effect on the stock, while those that got showered with attention were linked with the stock going up….

Smith and his co-authors think what’s going on isn’t necessarily straight prejudice — though he won’t rule out that some investors may think that way. Yet if it was nothing but investors acting on their own gender biases, he says, then the results should be similar for men and women no matter how much media attention they receive.

Rather, he theorizes that what’s going on is something a little more meta. There’s a concept in sociology, variably known as “anticipatory bias,” “preemptive discrimination” or “second-order sense-making” which basically says we behave in a way that may look like we’re prejudiced. But what we’re really doing instead is acting in response to how we think others will behave. Investors may be doing the same thing in these instances. “It’s thinking about the way others are going to respond, and adjusting one’s response accordingly,” says Smith. “It’s the nature of speculative trading in markets of all kinds.”

Read on.


Thanks, S!

Great suggestions for diversifying philosophy

from Eric Schwitzgebel.

(1.) Encourage very-small-group discussion in the middle of class. (This sounds boring, but humor me for a few hundred words, because really it’s magic!)….

(2.) Choose one non-white philosophical tradition to learn enough about so that you truly appreciate the range of positions and arguments in that tradition.

Head over to his blog for details, reasons behind these suggestions, and discussion!



France and the Burkini



EDIT: As several readers have pointed out, it is not France but specific municipalities in France that have banned the burkini.

Some municipalities in France have decided to ban ‘burkinis’ on various beaches. This means that armed police can now, with the weight of the law behind them, stand over a woman lying on the beach and force her to remove her clothes, as can be seen in the picture above (taken from this Guardian article).

Notice that, as far as I can make out from the picture, this woman is not wearing a burkini. She is wearing a vest, leggings, tunic, and headscarf. Neither is she swimming, she is just lying on the beach. Thus, it seems the police can now force women wearing anything that looks vaguely Muslim on the beach to remove their clothes.

Indeed, the article linked to above tells of another woman:

[A] mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

Her ticket, seen by French news agency AFP, read that she was not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”.

A witness to the scene, Mathilde Cousin, confirmed the incident. “The saddest thing was that people were shouting ‘go home’, some were applauding the police,” she said. “Her daughter was crying.”

Amongst the various ironies of this situation is the obvious comparison with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s religious police, who patrol the streets, cracking down on women who have failed to wear the correct clothing.

A tribunal in Nice upheld the ban on the burkini recently on the grounds that the garment might offend the religious or atheistic convictions of other beach-goers, and “be felt as a defiance or a provocation exacerbating tensions felt by the community”, in the wake of the recent Jihadi attacks in France – Nice being the location of the recent horrific truck massacre. The trouble is, of course, that banning the burkini will do nothing other than further alienate France’s Muslim population. To claim that someone’s sensibilities might be offended by seeing another person’s religious symbols implies that such a person might be offended by seeing that one is Muslim. One must hide one’s Islamic identity – not allow it to become visible because that is an act of defiance or provocation. And to say that such sensibilities must be protected in the wake of the Jihadi attacks is surely to imply that Muslims as a group bear responsibility for those attacks.

The justification for the burkini ban is no longer about ‘liberating’ women, as the above quote makes clear, but Arundhati Roy’s remarks about France’s earlier ban on the burka are still apt:

When, as happened recently in France, an attempt is made to coerce women out of the burka rather than creating a situation in which a woman can choose what she wishes to do, it’s not about liberating her but about unclothing her. It becomes an act of humiliation and cultural imperialism. Coercing a woman out of her burka is as bad as coercing her into one. It’s not about the burka. It’s about the coercion.

Arundhati Roy Capitalism: A Ghost Story, p. 37.

Armed police forcing women to remove their clothes on the beach is nothing other than an act of humiliation – humiliating women to punish a minority group for the actions of a few individuals.

Shame on you, burkini-banning-cities.