American Association of Philosophy Teachers Conference—Call for Papers

The American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT) has issued a call for papers for its biennial conference, to be held at Saginaw Valley State University on July 27–31, 2016. They are especially interested in proposals on inclusive pedagogies. The CFP is reproduced below, and available at

The AAPT is a collegial community of engaged teacher-scholars dedicated to sharing ideas, experiences, and advice about teaching philosophy and to supporting and encouraging both new and experienced philosophy teachers.  They host a biennial meeting, sessions at the APA meetings, and other events open to all philosophers, including graduate students, who wish to explore and improve their teaching.


The American Association of Philosophy Teachers

Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw, Michigan
July 27–31, 2016

Proposals for interactive workshops related to teaching and learning philosophy at any educational level are welcome.  We especially encourage creative approaches to workshops or or panels on:

  • Innovative and successful teaching strategies
  • How work in other disciplines can improve the teaching of philosophy
  • Engaging students in philosophy outside the classroom
  • Innovative uses of instructional technologies
  • The challenge of teaching in non-traditional settings
  • Methods to improve student learning
  • Professional issues connected to teaching

Selected presentations will be considered for inclusion in AAPT Studies in Pedagogy, Volume 3, on inclusive pedagogies. Proposals on that theme are especially encouraged.

Proposals should include:

  • Session title
  • Length of the proposed session (60 or 90 minutes)
  • A one-to-three page description of what the session seeks to achieve, including an account of what participants will do during the session
  • A list of references, especially to relevant pedagogical literature
  • Descriptions of any useful handouts to be provided
  • Any equipment needed
  • Contact information for each presenter, including institutional affiliations, may be included in the email or in a separate cover sheet.
  • Please include a 100-200 word abstract suitable for the conference program.

To facilitate blind review, no identifying information should appear in the proposal.

Send submissions, via email, to Russell Marcus, by Monday, January 4, 2016.

Visit for some model proposals from past years and additional information about the AAPT or the workshop-conference.

Events at LMU’s Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Metropolitan University is hosting two events in December which may be of interest to readers: one on “Surviving Sexual Violence”, one on “Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution”. Descriptions and links for further details:


Outliving Oneself: Surviving Sexual Violence

A conversation between Professor Susan Brison and Professor Liz Kelly.

December 3rd, 6.30 – 8pm
Susan Brison is a US philosophy professor who wrote the critically important book Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self and a more recent piece Everyday Atrocities and Ordinary Miracles: Or Why I (Still) Bear Witness to Sexual Violence (But Not Too Often).  The book is an exploration of how she coped with rape, which included asking why philosophy has so little to say about sexual violence and having to rethink her understanding of the self.  Her radical thinking informs the MA teaching in CWASU.

For further details and to register go to


Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution: Mona Eltahawy

December 7th, 6.30 – 8pm

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning writer and outspoken feminist, focusing on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism.  Following her involvement in the Arab Spring in November 2011 Egyptian riot police beat her, breaking her left arm and right hand, sexually assaulted her, and she was detained for 12 hours by the military.  Mona was one of Newsweek magazine’s 150 Fearless Women of 2012.

She will talk about her recent book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution.

For further details and to register go to

Responding to gender-based violence (online and elsewhere)

Many readers will recall that recently, John McAdams, a Marquette political science professor, drummed up a spurious reason to make a politically-motivated public attack on Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student of philosophy (our previous posts here and here; Daily Nous coverage here and here. Marquette is taking action against McAdams; its outcome is thus far unclear).

As a result of his actions, Abbate received hateful, misogynistic abuse, disturbing in both content and quantity, in a number of forms and forums. She has now written a blog post detailing the extent of this abuse, exploring her experiences on the receiving end, reflecting on how one should respond to it, and making it quite clear that McAdams bears responsibility for inciting it.

(For those clicking through, I reproduce Abbate’s trigger warning: “This post includes a number of reprinted misogynist and homophobic comments”. She’s not wrong).

Abbate says that she was mostly advised to ignore the abuse, but chose to expose it and draw attention to it, for a number of reasons. This was a brave decision. Abbate says the most important reason she has for speaking out is that, if we aren’t aware that such horrible abuse takes place, we can’t begin to do anything about it. This seems quite right to me. I’m unlikely to receive any misogynistic email myself, and I find it reprehensibly easy and tempting to bury my head in the sand about such things. I really shouldn’t. If someone writes about their experiences with such courage, to read and think about it is the very least I can do.

Resources for more inclusive philosophy classrooms

An excellent new site, Best Practices for the Inclusive Philosophy Classroom, offers a host of resources for philosophy teachers who want to make their classes more inclusive and mitigate the effects of biases. The site includes suggestions for syllabi and readings, advice on grading methods, ways to manage discussion and participation, and links to empirical research underpinning all this. The authors are associated with Minorities And Philosophy (MAP), a  graduate student-led organisation that exists to “address issues of minority participation in academic philosophy”. They welcome contributions of additional resources, suggestions, and so on for the best practice website — drop them a line if you know a good one not yet included.

Refuge’s Christmas present list for women and children in safe houses

I generally struggle to come up with genuine answers to the question, “what would you like for Christmas?” This year, no problem: if anyone asks, I’m going to say I’d like something bought on my behalf from Refuge’s Christmas list (and maybe also a chocolate bar).

Refuge is a UK charity that (among other things) provides safe havens for woman and children escaping domestic violence. Their appeal aims to ensure that everyone in their shelters at Christmas has a present to unwrap. It’s simple enough to contribute: you go to John Lewis’s gift list page, enter the gift list number 609505, and select and buy a present or two. They range in price from £4.50 to £25.

Ladybird drops gendered book branding

Since we frequently point out the occasions when toy manufacturers and the like make depressingly gender-normative gestures with their products, it’s a pleasure to also point out the occasions when they get things right. So: three cheers for Ladybird, the popular publisher of childrens’ books, who have undertaken to remove any gendered labelling from their collections of stories, since “we certainly don’t want to be seen to be limiting children“.

In the interests of editorial impartiality, it should be noted that other publishers have made the same pledge: Dorling Kindersley, Miles Kelly Books, and Chad Valley have also undertaken to refrain from publishing new titles with gendered branding.

This is a result of pressure from the Let Books be Books campaign, a subsidiary of the Let Toys be Toys campaign, worthwhile enterprises both.

Survey for philosophers of religion — especially women

A request for help from philosophers of religion — if you qualify, why not take the survey?

If you are a professional philosopher of religion (this includes graduate students) and have a moment to spare, I would be very grateful if you could fill in this survey: The survey is part of my British Academy project on religious epistemology. The purpose is to get a qualitative picture of the motivations of philosophers of religion for taking up this subject. Participation is anonymous. The format of the study is an open survey, where you will be asked to respond to a series of open questions. As the questions are open, it is entirely up to you to decide how long or detailed your responses are. You can also decide to leave the study at any time. I already have a good number of responses, but so far only a small percentage of my respondents are women. The more people participate, the better and more nuanced the results will be. Ideally, I would like to recruit people of various levels of seniority (e.g., graduate students, faculty members, non- tenureline faculty), male as well as female participants, working in various countries, and with various religious outlooks (including lack of religious belief). The study is designed and carried out by Helen De Cruz, postdoctoral fellow of the British Academy at the University of Oxford. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact helen.decruz[at]

Rape conviction rates up, but…

It was reported last week that conviction rates for rape in the UK are higher than they’ve ever been. 63% of prosecutions in 2012/13 resulted in a conviction, which is 5% more than five years previously. Similar success is reported regarding domestic violence. This is, of course, good news. However, it’s not quite a straightforward success.

First,  the ‘conviction’ rate includes all convictions resulting from the prosecution, many of which are not actually for rape (someone might, for example, be tried for rape and convicted of a lesser sexual offence). In 2010/11, the actual rate of conviction for rape was 33% out of an overall conviction rate of 58%. The same is likely to apply to the reported figure for 2012/13.

Second, as the initial linked article points out, another main complaint about the legal process concerns the proportion of reported rapes which result in a prosecution. According to this article, an annual average of 15 670 reports results in an average of 2 910 prosecutions. That’s about 19%. So even if 63% of those 2910 cases result in convictions, that’s a mere 11% of the original reported total. In other words, 89% of reported rapes don’t result in any sort of conviction. Bear in mind that the Crown Prosecution Service recently released a report (pdf) which establishes pretty comprehensively that false allegations of rape are extremely rare.

Third, yet another problem with the legal process is the fact that so many people are discouraged from reporting rape in the first place. For fairly obvious reasons, statistics on under-reporting are hard to come by or verify (one estimate attributed to the Ministry of Justice in the Independent article above is 60 000 to 95 000 — that’s quite a variation between the upper and lower limits). But it’s apparent that this is a problem, and it’s apparent that even if conviction rates continue to increase, there’s a lot more to be done to improve the legal and policing environment which results in under-reporting and under-prosecution.


Women cricketers and a level playing field

Those readers who don’t habitually haunt the sports pages may have missed the news that Sarah Taylor, the very talented English wicketkeeper-batter, is involved in discussions that may result in her playing second XI county cricket for a men’s team in the coming summer (roughly: reserve-team at the highest level below international). She and other leading female players already play as a matter of course for men’s teams somewhat below this level.

The response among cricket followers and commentators has been by and large positive. Indeed, both the women’s game and individual women are generally treated (relatively) well by media and fans. And because of the nature of cricket, there’s no obvious reason why women with adequate opportunities, support and training couldn’t be successful at the highest level, at least in the longer forms (the shorter formats, especially T20, rely more on brute power).

However, this raises the question of whether integration is in fact desirable. Selma James seems to argue that, if the best players leave the women’s game to play for men’s teams, the women’s game will suffer. And implicit in this argument is the notion that, for one reason or another, there will never be full integration of the two.

I’ve been wondering about this sort of thing off and on for ages, and I really do not know what to think about it all. I think what I think is this. It seems that, in principle, sports that don’t rely (much) on physical strength, or in which skill can compensate for its lack, can and should be integrated at all levels. Sports that do might have to stay segregated, at least post-pubescence (assuming that we don’t just change the rules of sports such that strength isn’t a factor any more).

It also seems that, in practice, there would have to be a massive cultural change for women to get the opportunities necessary for integration at any level above the most amateur to occur. But I’d like to get straight on the principles before considering the practicals. And so far as principles go, I’m pretty muddled. Thoughts welcome.