CFP: The Profession We Want: Practical Efforts to Improve Philosophy

Call for Papers: The Profession We Want: Practical Ways to Improve Philosophy

A conference organised by the Society for Women in Philosophy UK and the British Philosophical Association

Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th May

Arthur Lewis Building, Bridgeford Street, Manchester, M13 9PL.

The discipline of philosophy has for a long time been a needlessly difficult environment for women and the members of other marginalised and/or minoritised groups (including, but not limited to, groups marginalised/minoritised on the basis of race, class, disability status, and sexual orientation). Some progress has been made, especially over the last few years, in understanding and responding to the causes and consequences of this fact. In the UK, this includes the success of the BPA-SWIP Good Practice Scheme, the expansion of Athena Swan scheme to philosophy and other humanistic disciplines in the UK, and the forthcoming introduction of the Race Equality Charter. Other encouraging signs include initiatives made by some departments, student groups, journals, and learned societies. In this context of understanding and change, SWIP is seeking to lay further foundations for progress by identifying effective ways to practically respond to these problems at a departmental, national and disciplinary level. This crucially involves identifying effective strategies, implementing urgent actions, and allocating specific tasks to organizations, groups or individuals who are in a position to monitor and develop them. This conference is devoted to these aims. As well as offering theoretical resources, we are interested in talks and sessions with a more practical character. Accordingly, the second afternoon of the conference will be devoted to a two-part collaborative planning session. The first half of this session will aim to identify actions of immediate priority and strategies for implementing these, and the second half will aim to establish which organizations, groups or individuals are best able to take these on and how they can be supported to carry them out.

Keynote Speaker: Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma)



Submission Deadline: Wednesday the 1st of February

We invite submissions that address one or both of the following aims:

  • To promote the improvement of the profession, for example by assessing strategies and techniques; identifying, pooling and disseminating resources; and fostering the development of relevant skills.
  • To provide practical support for those who have been or who may be negatively impacted by the problems affecting the profession, including mentoring, advising, and skill-sharing.

Submissions could take a variety of forms. We welcome each of the following:

  • Traditional philosophical papers on relevant topics. These might include implicit bias, stereotype threat, syllabus diversification, alternative histories, structural injustice, and norms of philosophical practice. We welcome papers with an empirical component, papers that take an intersectional approach, and papers that focus on the specific issues raised by a particular axis of marginalisation/minoritisation. Papers should be suitable for presentation in 20 minutes.
  • Symposia and roundtable discussions. These could feature any number of participants. They should be no longer than an hour and a half.
  • Practical workshops and participatory sessions. These could take a variety of forms, and could be directed towards either or both of the workshop aims. Examples of the sorts of proposals we welcome include sessions aimed at skills building and sharing, sessions aimed at collaborative assessment of proposals for action, sessions aimed at disseminating information about resources and organizations, problem based sessions, and facilitated discussions. They should be no longer and an hour and a half.

Submissions for individual papers should take the form of an abstract and should be no more than 750 words long. Submissions for symposia, roundtables, practical workshops, and participatory sessions should be no more than 1000 words, and should explain the aims and content of the session and the desired length of the session (up to a maximum of an hour and a half).

We welcome submissions for individuals, groups, and organizations. Individual and group submissions should be suitable for anonymous review; submissions from organizations can be anonymised or not at the preference of the organization and based on practicality.

Submissions should be emailed to by Wednesday the 1st of February. We aim to complete the review process by the end of February. (Note: Please use this email address for submissions only; for other enquiries, please contact the organisers directly.)



  • Full accessibility information about the venue (Arthur Lewis Building) is available from the DisabledGo website. All of the conference rooms and the quiet room are fully wheelchair-accessible, and there is disabled parking about 50m from the building entrance (Also wheelchair accessible).
  • Please let us know when you register if you require a hearing loop so that we can ensure that we have enough to cover the break-out sessions.
  • The nearest hotel is the Ibis Hotel on Princess Street, which has rooms suitable for those with limited mobility; please call or email the hotel to discuss your requirements with them. It is about 1200m away from the ALB; however the 147 bus is wheelchair-accessible and stops about 20m from the hotel, and maybe 100m from the ALB. If this is unsuitable, you can book a wheelchair-accessible taxi from the hotel reception desk.
  • All mantax taxis are wheelchair accessible. They are the largest taxi company in Manchester so you’re pretty likely to be able to pick one up from the taxi rank at Piccadilly or Oxford Road station; you can also book one by phone or online. The 147 bus also goes from Piccadilly (across the street, under the railway bridge) to the hotel (and from there to the University).
  • There will be a dedicated quiet room available throughout the event.
  • Attendees with any specific access needs are invited to contact the organisers directly with any queries. If you have needs that have cost implications (e.g. BSL interpreter), please get in touch; we may be able to fund this.

The registration fee will be kept as low as possible (current projection: £30 Non-SWIP members, £25 SWIP members and supporters, £10 student/unemployed/under-employed [note: this will be a self-designating category]). The organisers are committed to ensuring that financial considerations do not present a barrier to participation. Where necessary, we will work with participants to try to secure funding to cover travel and accommodation.

For more information, see our web page.


Helen Beebee (University of Manchester)

Katharine Jenkins (University of Nottingham)

Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham)

Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield)

Deliveroo, Casualization, and Feminist Analysis

After a week of protests, UK workers for the takeaway delivery firm Deliveroo have won the right to continue their old contracts rather than being forced onto a new contract. Whereas the old contract guarantees an hourly rate of £7 plus £1 per delivery, the new contract has no hourly rate and only pays per delivery. The Guardian reports that:

Riders, who believe that the new deal could result in them earning less money and remove the certainty that they got from an hourly rate, cautiously welcomed the deal.

This is certainly good news in terms of worker’s rights, and I also think it is interesting from a feminist perspective. This is not for the obvious reason, however: it’s not the case, as far as I know, that workers in this type of job are disproportionately women (in fact I suspect there are more men than women, though I don’t have figures).

But feminists have had some very relevant insights to offer into the ‘gig economy’ – jobs undertaken on a self-employed, casual basis co-ordinated through technology such as apps – into which category Deliveroo riders fall (another big example is Uber). These jobs are presented as offering ‘flexibility’, which in practice means that workers cannot rely on fixed hours and that risks and costs of such work are placed squarely on the workers rather than on the (often large and extremely profitable) companies that co-ordinate the services. For example, Deliveroo riders supply their own bikes or motorbikes and are not eligible for sick pay or holiday pay. This is a pattern of work that was predicted by  Maria Mies in her 1986 monograph, ‘Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale’:

The new strategy of obscuring women’s productive work for capital is propagated under the slogan of ‘flexibilization of labour’. Not only are women pushed out of the formal sector – as happened some time ago to Indian woman – they are reintegrated into capitalist development in a whole range of informal, non-organized, non-protected production relations, ranging from part-time work, through contract work, to homeworking, to unpaid neighbourhood work. Increasingly, the dual model according to which Third World labour has been segmented is re-introduced into the industrialized countries. Thus, we can say that the way in which Third World women are at present integrated into capitalist development is the model also for the reorganization of labour in the centres of capitalism. (126)

Mies links this shift to ‘the growing fear of an increasing number of marginalized people in the rich countries that they might all become as expendable as women in Third World countries’ (127).

In other words, the model of casualized labour presented under the banner of ‘flexibility’ (which Mies terms ‘houswifization’, since it developed from the idea of a housewife earning a little bit of money alongside her unpaid domestic work) proved so effective as a mode of exploiting Third World women that it has spread to other groups. (Nina Power explores a similar idea in her 2009 book One Dimensional Woman.) Another reminder that the relevance of feminist analysis is not restricted to women.

The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy is Recruiting Mentors and Mentees

We’d like to draw readers’ attention to the following excellent initiative.

The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy is recruiting both mentors and mentees for the 2016-2017 job market season.

Women who are interested in serving as mentors should fill out this form before September 1, 2016. Mentors should currently hold a permanent academic post and have had job market experience at the junior level in the past seven years.

Women who are interested in being mentored should fill out this form before September 1, 2016. Preference will be given to job candidates who have not participated in this mentoring program before. Job candidates seeking mentorship who do not identify as women are encouraged to participate in the Cocoon Mentoring Project (

Call For Registration: Non-Ideal Social Ontology (Stockholm)

19th-20th of May, 2016

University of Stockholm, Aula Magna: Polstjärnan


Speakers: Åsa Burman, Eyja M Brynjarsdóttir, Staffan Carlshamre, Esa Diaz-Leon, Katharine Jenkins, Mari Mikkola.

Respondents: Johan Brännmark, Åsa Carlson, Robin Dembroff, Dan López de Sa

All are warmly invited to participate in the upcoming workshop ‘Non-Ideal Social Ontology’. By ‘non-ideal social ontology’, we have in mind social ontology that starts with difficult, complicated cases of immediate importance to critical social theory, rather than starting from simplified or abstracted examples and deferring consideration of more messy phenomena. Our thinking is that just as critical philosophers of race such as Charles Mills have made a case for the importance of non-ideal political philosophy, non-ideal social ontology could play an important role in advancing emancipatory social theory.

This event is a pre-read conference and papers will be circulated by email to registered participants (no presentation of paper on the day). To register, please email Åsa Burman no later than the 1st of May: There is no charge for registration, and lunch will be provided. Please note in your email whether you are joining us for lunch on the 19th and/or the 20th of May, and if you have any dietary requirements.

Access information – wheelchair access, disabled parking, mobility scooter access (if less than 90 cm in width), hearing induction loop, rest space (within 200 metres of venue). The organizers will make every effort to respond to other access needs; please email Åsa Burman (

For more information, including paper titles and schedule,  please see here.

CFA: Philosophy of ‘Race’ and Racism, University of Oxford, 27-29 June 2016

CFP: Reconsidering the Philosophical Canon, Duquesne University, April 23rd 2016

Reconsidering the Philosophical Canon

Duquesne University

April 23, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Penelope Deutscher, Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University

Duquesne Women in Philosophy (D-WiP) invite philosophical papers on the question of reconsidering the philosophical canon. Given the recent discussions on the limitations of the philosophical canon, we aim to facilitate a discussion on the future directions of philosophy, how we may reconsider our reading of the history of philosophy and the question of canonicity. Papers are welcome from historical perspectives as well as from within contemporary philosophical discourse. We invite abstract submissions of maximum 500 words to by March 7, 2016. Allotted presentation time will be 20 minutes.

Possible areas of exploration include:

  • women in the history of philosophy
  • philosophy done from minority perspective in the history of philosophy
  • intersection of race and gender in the history of philosophy
  • attempts in contemporary philosophy of reformulating the North American and European philosophical canon
  • historical or critical approaches to the modernity in terms of canonization of philosophical
  • feminist writings on the philosophical canon
  • problems of race and racism in Modern philosophy

Fatema Mernissi, prominent Islamic feminist scholar

Fatema Mernissi, a Moroccan feminist sociologist noted for her work on the sexual politics of Islamic scripture, passed away on November 30th, aged 75. 

The New York Times reports:

Throughout her work, Professor Mernissi, who favored a moderate, inclusive Islam, emphasized that her deep study of religious texts had turned up little support for women’s long subordination. That reading, she argued, sprang from centuries of misinterpretation by male leaders intent on maintaining the sexual status quo.

“Not only have the sacred texts always been manipulated, but manipulation of them is a structural characteristic of the practice of power in Muslim societies,” Professor Mernissi wrote in “The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam” (1991, translated by Ms. Lakeland). “Since all power, from the seventh century on, was only legitimated by religion, political forces and economic interests pushed for the fabrication of false traditions.”

This would be a timely moment for Mernissi’s important work to receive fresh attention.

Women in Gaza – The Guardian

The Guardian has published a very good – and distressing – feature about life for three different women in Gaza. It’s good to see the experiences of women victims of military violence centred in this way.

From the article:

I first visited Sabiha, 65, in February. She had lost her house in Khuzaa during the violence and spent last winter living with her three sons, daughter and grandchildren in a manmade tent of tree leaves and nylon next to her devastated home. When asked about how her life had changed, Sabiha said: “I’m afraid of everything. I lost my house. My married sons’ houses were completely destroyed as well. We are all homeless now. We hear about promises of reconstruction but nothing has happened.”

Sabiha’s family asked the Gaza reconstruction committee for help. “We needed a caravan. We were calling for the officials to get us a caravan for more than five months.” Instead the family received a tent but it was insufficient protection during the cold months: “We usually lit a fire to feel warm and cook but the strong winds made it impossible on some days … We only managed to take showers once every two weeks as we had no bathroom. This is not a life. If I had the choice to choose between this life and death, I would choose death.” After Sabiha told me this, she burst into tears.

Feminist Issues in the Labour Leadership Contest

As our UK readers can hardly have escaped hearing, and as other readers may know, the UK Labour Party is currently in the midst of a leadership contest that has seen surprisingly high levels of support for the candidate initially seen as a left-wing outsider, Jeremy Corbyn. Last week, Corbyn’s campaign released a document titled ‘Working with Women’ that sets out a strategy aimed at gender equality. It makes for interesting reading. If elected Labour leader, Corbyn promises to work for free universal childcare, mandatory sex and relationships education in schools, career services for young people aimed at disrupting gender stereotypes (in both directions), mandatory equal pay audits for all companies and an end to fees for employees taking their employers to tribunals (1). He recognizes the greater impact on women of cuts to public services, and besides an end to austerity in general he promises to reverse cuts to rape crisis and domestic violence services in particular. He also commits to having 50% women in the Shadow Cabinet. Taken as a whole, this is an impressive position from a feminist perspective and I find it heartening to see it being put forward by Corbyn as part of his leadership campaign.

None of the other three candidates – Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Liz Kendall – has issued a similar document. However, I did find the following specific positions each had taken in the campaign:

Yvette Cooper: wants to offer 30 hours per week of free childcare for pre-school children over 2.

Andy Burnham: has promised a 50% women shadow cabinet, including a woman shadow first secretary of state.

Liz Kendall: wants to increase the number of labour women councillors by a third.

More information on the positions and pledges of any of the candidates relating to gender equality is very welcome in the comments.

***Update 07.08***

I’ve just found this page where Burnham, Cooper and Corbyn have responded to some questions from End Violence Against Women about the Shadow Equalities Minister, sex education, and shelters and other services. All three candidates answer ‘yes’ to all questions, which is good. To his particular credit, Corbyn specifically highlights the need for specialist services for Black and Minority Ethnic women, and the issues of violence against women asylum seekers in detention.

(1) This is particularly relevant to discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers; a recent Equality and Human Rights Commission report estimated that up to 54 000 women per year in the UK who are pregnant or on maternity leave are dismissed, made compulsorily redundant or treated so poorly they have to quit their job.

Workshop on Feminist Ontology, MIT, 2nd-3rd October

A read-ahead workshop on feminist ontology will take place at MIT on the 2nd and 3rd of October. Registration is free and all are welcome.

Ásta Sveinsdóttir (San Francisco State University): “Social Construction as Social Significance”
Commentator: Abigail Klassen (York University and University of Nevada-Las Vegas)

Céline LeBoeuf (Harvard University): “Anatomy of the Thigh Gap”
Commentator: Hilkje Haenel (Humboldt University)

Elizabeth Barnes (University of Virginia): “Realism and Social Structure”
Commentator: Rebecca Mason (University of San Francisco)

Katharine Jenkins (University of Sheffield): “The Institutional Reality of Gender”
Commentator: Åsa Burman (Stockholm University)

Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire): “Feminist Metametaphysics”
Commentator: Shannon Dea (University of Waterloo)

For full details, including accessibility information and contact details for the organisers, see: