Congratulations! Your All Male Panel is Statistically Unlikely

The issue of conferences in which all the invited speakers are male is probably well known to blog readers, and is the target of campaigns such as the Gendered Conference Campaign and the hilarious Tumblr Congrats, You Have An All Male Panel. Recently, Greg Martin, a mathematician at UBC, gave an interview with the Atlantic with a nice mathematical argument showing that most all-male panels are in fact statistically quite unlikely. This nicely undercuts an all-too-common response among conference organizers that their all-male panel “just happened” or was simply the result of chance.

If conference speakers were being chosen by a system that treated gender fairly (which is to say, gender was never a factor at all), then in any conference with over 10 speakers, say, it would be extremely rare to have no female speakers at all—less than 5 percent chance, depending on one’s assumption about the percentage of women in mathematics as a whole.

Turning that statement around, we conclude that any such conference without any female speakers must have come into being in a system that does not treat gender fairly.

Martin’s interview also links to a Conference Diversity Calculator that lets you play around with calculating the likelihoods of various demographic distributions among conference speakers, given their representation among the pool of available speakers.

Open Letter about Conservative Party Politics in Canada

The Canadian Federal Election is coming up on October 19th, and the Conservative Party, under current PM Stephen Harper, has been using some extremely questionable tactics (to put it mildly), perhaps with the guidance of his new political consultant, Lynton Crosby. Crosby is an Australian political strategist who has worked for years for conservative parties there, as well as for David Cameron’s Tories. Regardless of the source of Conservative tactics, many of them have capitalized on divisive anti-immigrant sentiments.

Earlier this year, Bill C-24 came into effect, which many have criticized as creating a two-tiered citizenship system. Under this bill, it becomes possible to strip dual citizens and naturalized Canadians of citizenship if they are convicted of serious crimes in Canada or abroad. Canadians who become citizens under Bill C-24 can also lose citizenship if they fail to display sufficient intent to reside in Canada. However, the government’s interpretation of dual citizenship has proved itself to be extremely broad, given their revocation of Saad Gaya’s citizenship. Despite his having been born in Canada to parents who are Canadian citizens (having given up their Pakistani citizenship), none of whom have applied (or re-applied) for that citizenship, the onus is upon him to prove that he is not a Pakistani citizen.

A phrase used by Harper more recently, during the Globe and Mail debate in September, has also been seen as an instance of dog whistle politics. In discussing whether or not his government had taken health care away from immigrants and refugees, Harper said, “We do not offer them a better health plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive. That’s something new and existing and old stock Canadians agree with.” The phrase “old stock Canadian” was something for which he was quickly called out by the Liberal Party on Twitter. When asked to clarify later, Harper suggested that he was referring to Canadians who have been the descendants of immigrants for one or more generations. (Though given the appalling treatment of indigenous people by the Canadian government, and Harper’s own dismissal of missing and murdered indigenous women, this clarification seems to make the whole thing even worse.)

There has also been a Conservative attempt to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that women are allowed to wear face coverings such as niqabs at citizenship ceremonies. This has been centred around the case of Zunera Ishaq, who successfully fought for the right to wear her niqab during her citizenship oath, just in time to vote in the upcoming election. But just on the heels of the Conservative loss in this case came a statement saying that the Conservatives would seek to establish an RCMP tip line for the reporting of “barbaric cultural practices.” The cultural practices in this case are acts such as child marriage and honour killings, which are already illegal under Canadian law. While this idea has gathered some satirical responses, it does have plenty of support in the Conservatives’ base.

As a response to the current tactics being used by the Harper government, an open letter drafted by four Canadian academics, but signed by almost six hundred more, was published in the Ottawa Citizen and has been picked up other mainstream news sources, such as the CBC.

Stories from students with low income and/or minority backgrounds

Jennifer Morton, currently professor at City College of New York and research fellow at Princeton, is working on a book project about the challenges faced by students from low-income and/or minority backgrounds. Please help her with this by sharing stories of these challenges with her, or encouraging others to share their stories. She and many of her CCNY students fit this profile, but she would like to hear from more people.

You can find more information about her project at her website.

CFP: Topics in Global Justice

Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

26, 27 May 2016

Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, Birmingham

The second annual conference of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham welcomes submissions on any topic related to global ethics, but will prioritize work focusing on the 2016 theme of agency, power, and policy.  Specifically, we are interested in the ethics and politics of public policies that aim to enhance individual agency by shaping personal decision making and changing individual behaviours. Recent years have seen a proliferation of academic research and public programming aimed at improving individual and social outcomes through overt and covert efforts to change the decisions and behaviours of individual agents.  These policies raise deep ethical questions about the proper role of government, the circumstances of justice, the nature and importance of individual agency, and the role of social norms in shaping preferences and actions.

Possible topics for papers include:

  • Purposefully shaping social norms to enhance well-being and/or agency
  • The contexts and constraints of choice
  • The moral permissibility of behavioural nudges
  • Legitimate authority in behavioural policy
  • Individual psychology versus structural injustice
  • Power and/or ‘empowerment’
  • Praise, shame and blame
  • Shaping preferences and adaptation

Subject areas where these questions may be investigated include:

  • Health and mental health
  • Violence and conflict
  • Regulation and the law
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Reproduction
  • Poverty and deprivation
  • Body image
  • Migration
  • Environment
  • Taxation

We encourage submissions from ethically engaged scholars, policy-makers and practitioners from all disciplines, including, philosophers, psychologists, lawyers, behavioural and development economists, historians, and other relevant subject areas.  Papers will ideally emphasize relevant transnational or global issues.  We encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups, and abide by the BPA/SWIP good practice scheme.

Public Speaker:

Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, and author of the bestselling book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.  Dr. Hart is a widely sought after public commentator and his work has been featured in major publications including The New York Times and The Atlantic, and on major media outlets including HBO, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Keynote Speakers:

Clare Chambers, University Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Cambridge University

Molly Crockett, Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University

Serene Khader, Jay Newman Chair in the Philosophy of Culture, Brooklyn College

Abstracts should be submitted to Scott Wisor at  Please submit one 500 word abstract prepared for anonymous review, and a second document containing author name, position, and affiliation.  Abstracts are due 1 November.

To register for the conference, please visit

Further information will be forthcoming on transportation, accommodation, accessibility, and additional speakers.

CFA: Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy

The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy

Policing and Prisons: Ethical and Political Questions about Law Enforcement and Incarceration

March 11th-12th, 2016

The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy will take place in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 11th-12th, 2016. Our keynote speaker is Douglas Husak (Rutgers).

Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by November 1st, 2015. We welcome submissions in all areas relevant to this year’s conference theme: the ethics of policing and imprisonment. We are especially seeking papers that address normative questions about police conduct, the limits of the criminal law, appropriate prison sentences, and the like. We will consider multiple approaches to the topic, not merely in legal and political philosophy, but also in normative ethics, metaethics, and applied ethics.

Only one submission per person is permitted. Abstracts will be evaluated by a program committee and decisions will be made in December 2015. Please direct all abstracts and queries to: Molly Gardner (

Further information about the Workshop and previous workshops are available on the workshop website:

Stay safe, U of T.

The CBC reports that violent online threats against women and feminists have been made by someone using the screen name “Kill Feminists.” These threats specifically target women in the Women’s Studies and Sociology departments at the University of Toronto.

This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened, and the rhetoric of the threats is frighteningly similar to that of the shooter in the 1989 Montreal Massacre. Definitely hoping history in this case is not going to repeat itself.

CFP: Nonhumans and Politics



In the last two decades non-anthropocentric theories – whether posthumanist, neo-materialist or transhumanist – have attracted growing attention from scholars in a wide range of fields. Despite their interdisciplinary output, the question of the relation between non-anthropocentric theories and the concept of politics has been to a large extent evaded. This is somewhat understandable considering that the concept of politics is a highly anthropocentric term that sits uneasily with non-anthropocentric ontologies.

The conference’s aim is to investigate the juncture of nonhumans and politics. What does it mean to talk about politics in respect to nonhumans? Who/what is the ‘subject’ of posthumanism, of animal rights, of environmental politics, of technological advancement (particularly in case of Artificial Intelligence)? If the path in thinking ‘nonhuman politics’ through ‘subject’ and thus through ‘political subject’ is counterproductive then what are the alternatives? One of the key interests of this conference is then to investigate if the notion of ‘nonhuman politics’ – whether viewed from ecological, animal studies, neo-materialist, transhumanist or posthumanist perspective – is conceptually possible and what would this imply on a practical level. What would the conditions of possibility of such ‘nonhuman politics’ be? What theoretical requirements would need to be fulfilled in order to be able to propose such a concept and fully explore its potential? Perhaps a certain amount of anthropocentrism is in this case unavoidable. And if that is the case then the question to be posed is to what extent are we willing to accept a limited form of anthropocentrism and basing on what grounds. This conference does not expect to come up with definitive answers to these questions but rather explore these issues in more detail.

That is also why the conference welcomes contributions from scholars working in various fields of non-anthropocentric theories that wish to engage with the juncture of politics and nonhumans: Ecology, Environmental Studies, Animal Studies, Transhumanism, Posthumanism, Neo-materialism, Philosophy of Technology, Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence, Literary Theory, Literature, Visual and Performative Arts etc. It wishes to consider how ‘politics’ and ‘political subjects’ are conceptualized across different non-anthropocentric fields. The main purpose of this conference is then to bring together scholars interested in investigating the diverse ways of conceptualizing politics.

Please send your proposals (of no more than 500 words) as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to Dr. Iwona Janicka at iwona.janicka[at] by 15 October 2015 with the subject line: Nonhumans and Politics_Abstract_Your Name. Notifications will be sent out by 1 November 2015. The conference will take place on 22–23 January 2016 at the Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie Hannover, Germany.

Papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length and should be held in English.

CFP – Women and the Canon

Call for Papers – Women and the Canon

We are pleased to announce a two-day conference on ‘Women and the Canon’ to be held at Christ Church (University of Oxford) on 22-23 January 2016. The venue and facilities are fully accessible.

This conference seeks to problematize received notions of canonicity, and therefore of artistic and intellectual authority, by approaching them through their relationship to gender. We will be pursuing options for publication of proceedings from this conference.

For full details, see:

Please send an abstract of 250 words with a brief biography by 15th September to the following email address:

We look forward to hearing from you,

The Organisers

UPDirectory Bulletin Board

The UPDirectory is a directory of philosophers from underrepresented groups in philosophy.

The UPDirectory (, the searchable directory of philosophers from underrepresented groups in philosophy, now has a Bulletin Board.  The Bulletin Board is a place for (judiciously infrequent) announcements of academic and funding opportunities, conferences, CFPs, websites, and news that may be of interest to members of the directory and beyond.

If you are a member of the UPDirectory, you are automatically subscribed (and can unsubscribe simply with the click of a button). If you aren’t already in the UPDirectory and would like to subscribe to the Bulletin Board Newsletter, please go to and click on the subscribe button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to become a member of the directory, go to and click on the ‘Add/Edit Entry’ link at the top of the page.

If you have some information you would like to have posted, please send an email to The moderators reserve the right to choose what to post. All postings can be searched by keywords such as ‘conference’, ‘website’, ‘funding’, ‘APA’, and so on.

CFA: SWIP Ireland

Society for Women in Philosophy – Ireland
4th Annual Conference and General Meeting
November 27-28, 2015
Dublin, Ireland

Ways of Knowing: Feminist Philosophy of Science and Epistemology

Call for Abstracts

The 4th annual conference of SWIP- Ireland is on the theme of Feminist Philosophy of Science and Epistemology. The conference will investigate the ways in which issues relevant to gender influence conceptions of scientific knowledge, its methodology and justification. The conference will also be a forum for investigating the idea of situated and gendered knowledge and its connections with the theories and practices of the natural sciences.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

– The social situatedness of knowledge

– Gendered ways of knowing

– Gender, power and knowledge

– Feminist perspectives on science

– The social and cultural dimensions of science

– Gender and the ideals of objectivity and value-neutrality

– Diversity in Science

– Science and the question of implicit bias

-Expert testimony and epistemic injustice in a scientific context

– Feminist standpoint theory

– The role of social and biological location in shaping knowledge

– The role of ethical and political values in science

– The epistemology of ignorance

– Gendered peer disagreement

The focus of the conference is primarily philosophical, however, contributions from scientists interested in gender issues are strongly encouraged and are very welcome.

Invited Speakers:
Professor Linda Alcoff (City University of New York, USA)
Professor Maria Baghramian (Universitiy College Dublin, Ireland)
Professor Helen De Cruz (VU University Amsterdam,​ Netherlands​)
Professor Kathleen Lennon (University of Hull, UK)

Papers directly relevant to the work of the invited speakers are also very welcome.

Please submit abstracts of not more than 500 words, prepared for blind review, by September 1, 2015 to Successful applicants will be contacted by 25th September 2015.

Professor Maria Baghramian, MRIA
Co-Chair: Society for Women in Philosophy – Ireland
School of Philosophy
University College Dublin