QR codes and conference accessibility

Image description: QR code for English language Wikipedia
Image description: QR code for English language Wikipedia

As lots of you know I’m a philosopher with a visual impairment. When you try to ban laptop use by conference participants (this happened to me last year) I’m the person who writes in to say that actually I need my laptop (and the conference organizers were happy to accommodate). I often can’t read your handouts and your powerpoint slides. Large print handouts work but my laptop is better because I can control font size depending on how I’m doing that day.

That’s why I was happy to see this suggestion by Adam Cureton to use QR codes.

Cureton writes, “The idea is to insert QR codes (of the sort that are on airplane tickets) on presentation materials, which can easily direct a disabled audience member to an electronic version of the presentation materials, which can still be edited up to the time of the talk. After the talk, the presenter can cancel the code so that it doesn’t work anymore. This would really help, I think, to make presentations of most any kind more accessible for disabled people.”

The full explanation of using QR codes to make your presentations more accessible is here, http://societyforphilosophyanddisability.org/2017/05/using-qr-codes-to-make-presentation-materials-more-accessible/.

Thanks Adam.

Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public


Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public:

Theory, Policy, and Practice

October 27-29, 2017

Western University, London, Ontario

The conference will feature a workshop from feminist philosophers involved in policy. We welcome submissions about the variety of ways that feminist philosophers engage the public whether that’s through blogging and social media, taking part in policy decisions, philosophy cafes, or through activism.

Our keynote speaker will be Professor Françoise Baylis, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie University. Baylis is a philosopher who does innovative work in bioethics at the intersection of policy and practice. Her extensive publication record spans many topics, including research involving children, the role of bioethics consultants, women’s health, human embryo research, and novel genetic technologies. As a frequent guest on CBC and Radio Canada, and the author of many news stories about ethical issues, Baylis regularly engages the public on a wide range of issues. She also contributes to national policy-making via government research contracts, membership on national committees, and public education. This work – all of which is informed by a strong commitment to the common good – focuses largely on issues of social justice.

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers and panel proposals on the conference theme from all areas of philosophy and all philosophical approaches, including and not limited to analytic, continental, and historically oriented philosophy.

Submissions of long abstracts (1000 words) are invited for eventual presentation of papers not exceeding 3000 words. Deadline: 12am EST, February 1, 2017.

  1. Please email the abstract as a double-spaced document in Word, prepared for fully anonymous review.
  2. In your email, please provide your contact information and brief biographical material (for our SSHRC application), including: your institutional affiliation and degrees (starting with the most recent and specifying the discipline); recent positions and publications, especially those relevant to the event.
  3. We encourage all graduate students to submit their papers for consideration for the 2017 Jean Harvey Student Award. To do so, please indicate in the body of your email that you would like for the paper to be considered. In that case, the completed paper, not exceeding 3000 words and prepared for anonymous review, must be submitted by 12am EST, Monday July 11, 2017.

Panel proposal submissions: Please submit two separate documents. 1) A panel proposal, including paper abstracts, for anonymous review. 2) A document with all panelist names and biographical information for the SSHRC application.

This conference will prioritize accessibility. Guidelines for accessible presentations will be distributed with successful participant notifications. Conference rooms and the reception space are wheelchair accessible, and information about wheelchair accessible transportation and accommodations will be available by the time of participant notifications. Participants will be asked to use microphones for all talks and for discussion periods. Food will be vegan/vegetarian, and there will be space on the registration form to note food allergies and sensitivities. Participants are asked not to bring or wear strong scents. A quiet room will be available.

Further information, such as information about childcare, breastfeeding and change room areas, and transportation to and from London will be available soon at http://www.cswip.ca and also upon request.

All conference participants will be asked to identify any presentation technologies and/or other supports required to participate, and anything else that can help mitigate potential barriers to participation. All information will be kept confidential.

Please send all submissions to the following address: cswipsubmissions2017@gmail.com

Questions? Please email Samantha Brennan, sbrennan@uwo.ca

Karen Warren on facing death and considering options

Eco-feminist philosopher Karen Warren has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In a moving piece in Psychology Today, she writes,

This was the start of my personal journey confronting death. As a philosophy professor for nearly 40 years with an expertise in ethics, I often lectured about euthanasia. So, I am quite aware of arguments for and against various end-of-life options. But I never anticipated that my academic expertise would turn into a lived experience: Every day I watch myself deteriorate from a fatal and excruciatingly painful disease. And every day I do so knowing that I cannot legally choose to end my life before I become immobile. Because in my home state—Minnesota—it is illegal to help someone die.

The crux of the debate about aid-in-dying options centers around medical ethics. Physicians take an oath to help their patients and “do no harm.” Many interpret this oath as requiring that patients be kept alive at all costs. The goal of the medical community is to make us live as long as we possibly can—even when our body would long be gone without medical equipment and our quality of life is next-to-nothing.

See more here.

Dangerously Provocative

Jessica Wolfendale (co-editor of Fashion: Philosophy for Everyone)  is currently completing an article on sexual modesty. Her most recent article, “Provocative Dress and Sexual Responsibility,” is forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. and now she’s just published a piece on being “dangerously provocative” here.

The provocatively dressed woman is dangerous. She is disruptive; a distraction and a temptation. She can lead good men to thoughts of infidelity; she can distract men and boys from the important tasks of work and education. The dangers posed by the provocatively dressed woman mean that she must be monitored and controlled. Girls must be forbidden from wearing provocative clothing to school, so that they don’t distract boys.[2] As a principal of a Canadian High School wrote in a letter to parents: “Girls wearing short skirts should think about how they sit and what is revealed when they bend over …. It’s my job as principal to keep students contained in an environment where they [boys and teachers] can learn [and teach] without distraction.”[3] Likewise, women should wear “good, modest, conservative dress” at work because “[r]emoving one more distraction will help everyone keep their focus”.[4]

But the provocatively dressed woman also needs to be warned about the dangers she poses to herself. A Canadian police officer told students at Osgoode Hall Law School that: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,”[5] and in the wake of a series of sexual assaults in Brooklyn in 2011, police officers advised women not to wear shorts or skirts that were “too short”.[6] Because the provocatively dressed woman sexually arouses men, she risks attracting unwanted sexual attention. It is therefore up to her to make sure that she doesn’t send the “wrong message” with her outfits.

Now go read the rest at the Dangerous Woman Project.

Why memes matter for feminism

Memes are a staple of contemporary popular culture, but most people would be hard pressed to define what exactly they are.  Simply put, memes are widely recognizable yet variously replicated symbols of ideas.  In the twenty-first century, most people associate the meme with social media, in which a photo or picture is posted, circulated, annotated with a brief quote or slogan, then re-circulated and re-edited into new iterations of the original meme.

Within feminism, one of the most famous recent examples of such an internet meme is “Feminist Ryan Gosling,” a series of adorably sexy images of the “sensitive” male actor emblazoned with woman-friendly invitations such as “Hey girl, keep your laws off my body, but keep your hands on it.” As this example suggests, internet memes can be vehicles for irony and wry discontent with the status quo. They can also be more straightforward means for conveying information, supporting causes, and spreading awareness. “Feminist Ryan Gosling” achieves the latter goals by educating people about basic feminist ideas in a funny and memorable way.  While directed at an imaginary female audience, these feminist memes are not only for women. A recent study has shown that men are more likely to support feminist ideas after viewing the original “Feminist Ryan Gosling” memes. Danielle Henderson, a graduate student in gender studies, created the memes in order to make the finer points of feminist theory more accessible and understandable to a broader audience.

Read the rest of what Eileen Hunt Botting has to say over at Yale Unbound.

Agency, Power, and Policy conference

Registration is now open for the University of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Global Ethics second annual conference Topics in Global Justice, Agency, Power, and Policy. Click here to register: http://shop.bham.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&catid=63&prodid=1137 . Further updates on the program will be available here:http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/globalethics/events/2016/global-justice.aspx .

Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power, Policy
May 26

900-1000 Serena Parekh (Northeastern)-Taking Seriously the Agency of Refugees 

1015-1145 Grad Panel 1: 
Jorge Fabra Zamora (McMaster)- Making Justice Real: The Challenges of Global Law; 
Blair Peruniak (Oxford)-Displacement, Responsibility, and Massively Shared Agency; Andrew Molas (York)- Defending the CRPD: Dignity, Flourishing, and the Universal Right to Mental Health

1145-100 Lunch

100-215 Invited Keynote: Clare Chambers (Cambridge)—Regulating Religious Marriage

215-315 Jennifer Morton (City College of NY)- Can Education Undermine Representation?

330-430 Alison Jaggar (Colorado/Birmingham) and Corwin Aragon (Concordia) – Agency, Complicity, and Global Ethics: Social Power and the Responsibility to Remedy Structural Injustice

445-615 Public Lecture: Carl Hart (Columbia) How Pot (and other recreational drugs) Can Cure Racism

700-900 Conference Dinner

May 27

900-1000 Serene Khader (Brooklyn College)- Do Muslim Women Really Need Freedom? 

1030-1200 Grad Panel 2: 
Stephanie Sheintul (Wisconsin)- Moral Status and Paternalism; 
Ji Young Lee (Bristol) A Millian Perspective on Paternalism; 
Nicolas Brando (KU Leuven) Cultivating the Potential Self: Children and Agency in the Contractarian and Capability Theory

1200-100 Lunch

100-215 Invited Keynote: Kimberley Brownlee—Global Issues of Sociability

215-315 Steve Weidmer (Arkansas State)- Adaptive Preferences and Respect for Agency 

330-430 Heather Widdows (Birmingham)-The Demands of Beauty: Choice, Coercion, and Exploitation

Transportation and Accommodation:
The University of Birmingham is easily accessible by train, with the University stop on campus, about a 5 minute walk from the conference venue. Further details on getting to and from campus are available here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/visit/getting-here.aspx

Accommodation on the University of Birmingham campus is available through Venue Birmingham (http://www.venuebirmingham.com/?q=sleep/about-our-accommodation). Further accommodation nearby in the city of Birmingham is available here: (http://www.booking.com/landmark/gb/university-of-birmingham.html).


Arrangements are still being made with regards to accessibility of the conference. We aim to make the conference as accessible as possible and are working with the University to ensure an inclusive conference. Further information will be forthcoming shortly.


The conference is made possible by funding from the Society for Applied Philosophy, the MIND Association, and the University of Birmingham.

Rent-A-Minority (Satire)

Diversity On-Demand: Rent-A-Minority is a revolutionary new service designed for those oh-shit moments where you’ve realized your award show, corporate brochure, conference panel is entirely composed of white men. For, like, the fifth year in a row. Suddenly you’re being called out on Twitter and you need to look not-racist and not-misogynist fast. Actually doing something meaningful to disrupt institutional inequality would be way too much work; so why not just Rent-A-Minority instead?


Happy Persons Day Canada

“They’ve been called visionaries, feminists, trailblazers and Canadian heroes- Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Nellie McClung changed the Canadian political landscape forever. They fought to be recognized as persons under the law. On October 18th, 1929, after an arduous legal and political battle the British Privy Council recognized women as persons under the BNA Act.”

Persons Day is an annual celebration in Canada, held on October 18 each year. The day commemorates the celebrated case.

Working fathers speak out

In Career OR fatherhood? Super Busy Dad asks whether being a good father and having a career are mutually exclusive. He talks to six dads juggling work and young children.

Keith, age 42 from Wolverhampton, strives to be a star employee and a great dad to his 2 boys:

“I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. I’ve had to make big sacrifices. But I’m lucky. My wife babysits twice a week and empties the dishwasher. She takes a real interest in the kids too”.

I love how ridiculous this all sounds when the genders are flipped.