Karen Stohr on Contempt

Karen Stohr has a wonderful essay on contempt and the current political discourse in the NYTimes Stone section today.  An excerpt:

It may seem as though the best response to Trump’s contempt is to return it in kind, treating him the same way he treats others. The trouble, though, is that contempt toward Trump does not function in the same way that his contempt toward others functions. Even if we grant that Trump deserves contempt for his attitudes and behaviors, his powerful social position insulates him from the worst of contempt’s effects. It is simply not possible to disregard or diminish the agency of the president of the United States. This means that contempt is not a particularly useful weapon in the battle against bigotry or misogyny. The socially vulnerable cannot wield it effectively precisely because of their social vulnerability.

The better strategy for those who are already disempowered is to reject contempt on its face. Returning contempt for contempt legitimizes its presence in the public sphere. The only ones who benefit from this legitimacy are the people powerful enough to use contempt to draw the boundaries of the political community as they see fit. Socially vulnerable people cannot win the battle for respect by using contempt as a way to demand it. In an environment where contempt is an acceptable language of communication, those who already lack social power stand to lose the most by being its targets. The only real defense against contempt is the consistent, strong and loud insistence that each one of us be regarded as a full participant in our shared political life, entitled to hold all others accountable for how we are treated.

Mentoring: Call for Applications

The 4th Biennial Mentoring Workshop for Pre-Tenure Women in Philosophy
June 11 – 13, 2017
University of Utah, Salt Lake City UT

Directors: Louise Antony (U Mass Amherst), Juliet Floyd (Boston University), and Susanne Sreedhar (Boston University)

Local arrangements: Matthew Haber (University of Utah)

Application Deadline: March 1, 2017

The Mentoring Workshop is the centerpiece of the Mentoring Program, an ongoing effort to foster mentoring relationships between senior women in the field and women just beginning their careers. The program follows a model designed by women in the American Economics Association, one which has proven remarkably successful in helping academic women advance their careers. As in past editions, the fourth Mentoring Workshop will involve small-group intensive working sessions interspersed with plenary panel discussions on professional development and work/life issues. The Workshop this year will be hosted by the Philosophy Department of the University of Utah. Information about local arrangements will be available soon, and will be posted on the Mentoring Program website:

http://www.bu.edu/philo/people/faculty/mentoring-project/.

To apply for the workshop: Send an email to Mentoring2017@umass.edu, stating your intention to apply, and indicating at least two areas of specialization, in
ranked order. Include as attachments (in .docx or .pdf format) your CV, and an abstract of the paper you would like to workshop. In choosing a paper to discuss, you should take care to choose a paper that is squarely in the area of philosophy that you work in. [But see the next paragraph.]

We will place you in a mentoring group according to the topic of your paper, and that means that the papers you will read and comment on will also be in that area of philosophy. We will do our best to match members of the cohorts and their mentors,
subject to availability and space in the workshop. That said, if we cannot form a cohort around your primary AOS, we might still be able to offer you a place in a cohort focused in one of your secondary areas of specialization. In that case, you will have the option of workshopping a different paper from the one you originally specified in your application.

Inquiries may also be sent to this email address. Please do not send inquiries to the
individual email accounts of any of the directors.

• Eligibility: Any woman entering or holding a faculty position in Philosophy at a college or university. We would especially like to encourage applications from members of groups underrepresented in Philosophy.

• Cost: There is no charge for participation in the workshop, but we expect mentees’ home institutions to cover the cost of their transportation, and room and board. Details about local arrangements and costs will be available soon.

• Accessibility: The Mentoring Project is committed to making the Workshop completely accessible to all philosophers. All meeting, dining, and guest rooms are wheelchair accessible. Philosophers needing ASL interpreters, assistive technology, or any other accommodation are asked to communicate their needs as soon as possible to Matt Haber (matt.haber@utah.edu) who is handling local arrangements.

The Mentoring Project Workshop is a project of the Women in Philosophy Task Force. It is funded this year by a grant from the Marc Sanders Foundation, and by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Utah, the University of Utah College of Humanities, the University of Utah Office of Equity and Diversity and the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Philosophy and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. The Program has been supported in the past by seed grants from the American Philosophical Association.