Example of Gaslighting of Women in the Wild

A public facebook post by Amadi Lovelace made the following points about the recent Trump baby gaffe (this link has the transcript, but also an autoplay video):

In talking about Trump and the baby, people seem to be focusing on the idea of “who yells at a baby?” And it is kind of in line with our questions about his temperament to frame this as Trump yelling at a baby.

But he didn’t yell at a baby. He yelled at a woman who had a baby.

And more importantly, he didn’t just yell at her, he gaslighted her, telling her at first that it was OK that her baby was fussing, and then acting like she was nuts for taking him at his word and should have somehow divined magically that he actually wanted her to leave.

This was an example of three horrible things all wrapped up in one. First, Trump’s tendency toward doublespeak, saying one thing, meaning the exact opposite and acting like everyone else is bizarre and ignorant for taking his words at face value. Second, the aforementioned gaslighting, which is an always an abuse tactic, full out.

Third, and this is a little more nuanced, it’s a prime example of the insidious way in which parenting forces women, especially, out of public life. When babies aren’t welcome somewhere, when babies start crying, it is mothers who are expected to stay home, mothers who are expected to take the baby out, mothers whose lives are interrupted.

It’s not “Trump yells at a baby.”

It’s “Trump uses abusive tactics and reinforces marginalization of women with children by yelling at mother of young baby.”

Sometimes brevity is the enemy of an accurate picture of just how bad something is.

Conference: Bias in Context


Bias in Context: Psychological and Structural Explanations
The University of Sheffield, September 5th & 6th 2016
Humanities Research Institute

Full details, registration and accessibility information are available at this link: http://biasincontext.weebly.com/

What is the relationship between psychological and structural explanations of persistent social injustice? Much empirical and philosophical work focuses on individualistic psychological explanations for ongoing injustice. Such explanations appeal to phenomena such as prejudice, implicit bias, stereotyping, and stereotype threat, in order to understand persisting inequities in a broad range of contexts, including educational, corporate, and informal social contexts.

A key challenge to this body of work maintains that the focus on individual psychology is at best obfuscatory of, and at worst totally irrelevant to, more fundamental causes of injustice, which are institutional and structural. Yet structural explanations face difficulties accommodating the extent to which individual agency is implicated in those problematic structures or institutions. Nor are they well placed to articulate how individual agency might be directed towards changing these structures.

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference series is to examine the relationship between psychological explanations and structural explanations of injustice. This work will generate more fully worked-out understandings of the interaction between these two kinds of explanation. These understandings can inform both future empirical study, institutional policy, and individual and collective action.

Dr Saray Ayala (California State University, Sacramento)
Dr Lacey Davidson & Dr Daniel Kelly (Purdue University)
Dr Alex Madva (Cal Poly Pomona)
Professor Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield)
Dr Joseph Sweetman (University of Exeter)
Professor Nicole Tausch (University of St Andrews)
Dr Robin Zheng (Yale-NUS College)

Thanks to the Mind Association, The Society for Applied Philosophy, and the Analysis Trust for their support.

Analysis Trust bursaries are available to post-graduates and underemployed philosophers in order to subsidize up to 50% of the costs of registration and accommodation. Interested parties should contact the organizers to inquire about such bursaries.

If you have any queries, please contact the organizers:
Andreas Bunge: afbunge1[AT]Sheffield.ac.uk
Administrative assistant
Jules Holroyd: j.d.holroyd[AT]Sheffield.ac.uk
Erin Beeghly: erin.beeghly[AT]Utah.edu

MOMiCon – A Noteworthy Conference for Several Reasons

http://momicon.org | April 3, 2016 | UC Berkeley | You can read their full mission statement here.


A non-exhaustive list of reasons why this conference is noteworthy:

–All the speakers are women

–It’s abbreviation is a smart pun

–The conference is attempting to show how academic events can accommodate mothers better:

“The Misconceptions of the Mind Conference (MoMiCon) has two aims:

(1) to bring together a small group of nationally-recognized female social scientists to present their work challenging common (mis)conceptions of the mind, engage with each other in cutting-edge intellectual dialogue, and generate high-quality video content to share with the public as scientific outreach,

and (2) to serve as a model for how to run a small, high-profile workshop-style conference while accommodating the needs of women who are academics with young children. The hope in focusing on this group is to start a broader conversation about how academic norms and institutions can change to accommodate scholars with different needs throughout their academic careers, thus reducing barriers to excellence in scholarship and facilitating academic outreach”

–The sessions look really interesting:

Keynote – Alison Gopnik
The “Parenting” Misconception: Why “Parenting” is a scientifically inaccurate and practically
dubious way to understand the relations between children and the people who care for them

Tania Lombrozo – Learning isn’t just about getting the right information

Linda Wilbrecht – Teenagers are not lacking their frontal lobes

Abigail Marsh – Human nature is not fundamentally selfish

Marjorie Rhodes – We’re not born racist

Keynote – Mary Ann Mason
Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower: How does family formation affect
academic women and men across their career, from graduate student through retirement.

June Gruber – Positive emotions aren’t all positive

Iris Mauss – Pursuing happiness can make us unhappy

Amy Cuddy – Feeling powerless is not being powerless

Call for Applications – Concurrences and Connections: Beyond Eurocentrism

Concurrences and Connections: Beyond Eurocentrism

PhD Summer School, Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

15-19 August, 2016

The past and the present are full of concurrences. Events happen simultaneously in the same place as well as in different places, and are interpreted differently by those who experience them. But what does this really mean to researchers of the humanities and the social sciences? How do we bring broader contexts and connections, which may not have been initially visible, into our re-understandings of these same events? What difference do different interpretations make to what we had initially known and how might we know differently in light of those different interpretations?

This one-week summer school for PhD students will explore key concepts and paradigms within the Humanities and Social Sciences from postcolonial and decolonial perspectives. Such arguments have been most successful in their challenge to the insularity of historical narratives and historiographical traditions emanating from Europe. This has been particularly so in the context of demonstrating the parochial character of arguments about the endogenous European origins of modernity in favour of arguments that suggest the necessity of considering the emergence of the modern world, and its associated categories and concepts, in the broader histories of colonialism, empire, and enslavement.

The broad themes to be covered in the summer school include:

  • Challenging Knowledge: Postcolonial and Feminist Provocations
  • Contesting the Time(s) of History
  • Black Europe & the Politics of Knowledge Production
  • Citizenship, Migration, Race, and Justice
  • Towards a Decolonial Social Science

The summer school is oriented to examining theoretical claims and frameworks that are in everyday use and rethinking them using the resources of critical scholarship. It will also provide space for thinking through contemporary social and political issues that require urgent engagement. It is organised in terms of an opening conversation among established colleagues in the field followed by general discussion of the themes set out. There will also be facilitated workshops on key texts, independent work spaces where students are given the opportunity to present their own research for comment by other scholars, and a closing conversation that will bring together the themes of each day.

The following scholars will be among those present during the workshop: Professor Gurminder K Bhambra; Dr Nathaniel Coleman; Dr Sara Edenheim; Dr Barzoo Eliassi; Professor Peter Forsgren; Professor Gunlög Fur; Dr Ylva Habel; Professor Peo Hansen; Professor John Holmwood; Dr Robbie Shilliam.

There is no fee for attending the summer school although students will be required to cover the cost of their own travel and accommodation. If you are unable to access local funds to cover the cost of your travel and accommodation, you can apply for a bursary to Concurrences to facilitate your attendance.

To apply please send the following to Åse Magnusson ase.magnusson[at]lnu.se by 5pm on 1st April 2016

  1. A letter of application of no more than 1 page explaining why you wish to attend the summer school including how you think it may help you with your current research
  2. A 1-page CV
  3. A short abstract, no more than one page, of a piece of current research you would like to present at the summer school

Bursaries: If you are not able to access local funds to attend, please explain why and detail the amount you would need to able to attend the summer school. Please note that funds are extremely limited and we would expect you to fund attendance through your own university budgets. We will make decisions on bursaries based on financial need and merit of the application.

Students taking this course are welcome to apply for credits through their home institution.

**The deadline for applications is 1st April 2016**



Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University

Call for Applications

The Brown Philosophy Department is now accepting applications for the Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University. SIPP@Brown is a two-week undergraduate program for members of groups that are underrepresented in philosophy departments, including women and students of color.

The 2016 program will run from July 17 to July 30 and will feature seminars taught by Brown faculty and the SIPP@Brown research conference. Each student will receive free lodging on Brown’s campus, a $500 stipend, and reimbursement of up to $500 of travel expenses.

To learn more about the program and the application procedure, visit www.sippatbrown.com. The application deadline is March 15.

Questions about SIPP@Brown or about the application process should be sent to sipp[at]brown.edu

The Teaching Workshop @ the APA Blog

The Teaching Workshop asks people to send in their questions about teaching!

“The Teaching Workshop is a new, regular feature on the Blog of the APA, run by the APA’s committee on the teaching of philosophy. Every other week, we offer answers to anonymous, reader-provided questions about teaching philosophy. This means we need your questions! Send us questions related to classroom management, student interaction, best pedagogical methods, assessment, or whatever else you struggle with as an instructor of philosophy. If you can, please tell us about the kind of environment in which you’re teaching (SLAC or large public university, for instance) and describe how you have tried in the past to tackle the issue about which you’re asking. Our e-mail is PhilTeacherWorkshop[at]gmail.com.”

CFP: Foreigners in Philosophy workshop

Foreigners in Philosophy workshop
University of California, Berkeley, March 29, 2016
Invited Speaker: Teresa Blankmeyer Burke


There is a dimension of diversity and inclusiveness that has not been addressed in our profession yet: the aspect of being a foreigner, i.e. a person who, given their country of origin and/or native language(s), is considered “non-native” in the location where they work or study. The category of foreigner is ripe for philosophical exploration. Given the dearth of literature on how being a foreigner interacts with the practice of philosophy, and the lack of understanding of how the category of foreigner intersects with other socially relevant categories like gender, race, disability, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation, this workshop will open new ground and expand our efforts to make our profession more inclusive.
This workshop will be held on March 29, 2016, on Berkeley campus, right before the meeting of the Pacific APA in San Francisco.

Topics to consider include, but are not limited to:
•Ontology and epistemology of the category of foreigner.
•Intersectionality: How does the category of foreigner interact with other socially relevant categories?
•Diversity in usage of English and the role of the English language in philosophy:
•Deaf Philosophy
•Accented Philosophy (non-native or regional accent; distinctive writing styles of speakers of English as a second language).
•Foreign philosophers and testimonial injustice.
•Philosophy and the English language.
•Language competence and philosophical competence.
•Identity politics
•What is it like to be a foreigner in philosophy and academia?

We accept long abstracts (up to 1,000 words) prepared for anonymous review. Submissions should be sent in a .doc or .pdf format to sarayATsfsu.edu, with the subject “foreigners in philosophy”.  Include your personal information in the body of the email (name, institutional affiliation, paper title, e-mail address). There will be a limited number of travel grants available for underemployed and graduate students. If you are interested in applying for a travel grant, please indicate so in your email, with a brief description of the reasons why you apply for it.
Deadline for submissions:
February 4, 2016. Notifications will be sent by February 15.

This workshop is generously supported by Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy through a Hypatia Diversity Project Grant

More information: http://foreignersinphilosophy.weebly.com
Contact: saray@sfsu.edu

The Question of Rehabilitation and Resources in the Aftermath of Sexual Assault

[Discussion of sexual assault and it’s effects on people below.]
This past summer, Buzzfeed published a long-form article about Hanna Stotland, a lawyer who helps students accused of “sexual misconduct” re-apply to other universities. You can read it here.

In response to the article, Abby Woodhouse, a rape survivor, published an open letter. You can read it here.

There are two big issues that caught my attention from these articles:

(1) The way we culturally conceive of rape is often that it is either (a) an unforgivable, unintelligible act of evil, or (b) it’s not really rape, aka rape-rape, so it’s something like “gray rape” or “a mistake” or “an unfortunate miscommunication involving not-fully-consensual sex,”

I think the “unintelligibly” of committing rape is in one way a hindrance to seeking justice for those who experience it. In a way similar to how mass shooters are often portrayed as crazy and unintelligible, the sociopathic, evil rapist is not something we need to try to understand–thankfully. Because, if rape were a perfectly intelligible result of cultural suggestions that men’s value comes from their power of control and mastery over the world, and that a major reward for being powerful is entitlement to sex, (and that being a man is the best thing you could be),  well then, we are all awash in images and messages that condone rape, and we ourselves condone messages that are on a spectrum whose extreme ends in rape–so we are all potential rapists. There but for the grace of my blood alcohol levels go I.

What is really unintelligble to us, I think, is that the word of a woman, the way that a single woman perceives and experiences an event, could be the arbiter of whether another human deserves to be ostracized or punished.
A woman having that much authority in the world? Talk about inconceivable. The poor souls who would be subjected to such standards of ‘justice’…

…which leads me to a second major issue:

(2) It is striking that there often seems to be more resources and public empathy available for those who are accused of committing sexual assault than there is for those who experience it.

I myself feel the tug on my heartstrings when I hear a story about a young man who may have been falsely accused of a crime, and he contemplates how many less opportunities he may now have in life.

I feel more numb when I read Abby Woodhouse’s account of the “trauma and pain” that she has been left to deal with. We are often asked to consider what it would be like for a single mistake to potentially ruin a young person’s chances at a normal, happy life. We are rarely asked to consider what it would be like to not have not made any mistake, but being made to live potentially with haunting memories, broken trust in your fellow human beings, and an inescapable sense of feeling wholly unsafe in your own skin.

Stotland makes a valid point that, unless we think a person should suffer social death when they commit sexual assault, we need to figure out what the process should look like for reincorporating them into higher education.

But a sad and shameful aspect of this story is that survivors of rape and sexual assault also struggle with various degrees of social death. Many struggle to stay in school, stay connected with their families and social circles, etc. due to the effects of PTSD, depression, unshakable feelings of shame, and our deep cultural insensitivity to those who are brazen enough to be taken advantage of and insist on reminding us it–reminding us of their vulnerability (and ours) with their presence.
There but for the grace of the skirt I wear go I.

So where are the counselors to help them switch schools or rebuild their resume? Why is that not something that we prioritize?

#RhodesMustFall Oxford Website

The social movement #RhodesMustFall has a new website for its work at Oxford, here. They also a page on facebook, here. The movement’s main website is here.

From the Oxford website’s “About Us / Out Aim” page:

Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford (RMFO) is a movement determined to decolonise the institutional structures and physical space in Oxford and beyond. We seek to challenge the structures of knowledge production that continue to mould a colonial mindset that dominates our present.

Our movement addresses Oxford’s colonial legacy on three levels:

1) Tackling the plague of colonial iconography (in the form of statues, plaques and paintings) that seeks to whitewash and distort history.

2) Reforming the Euro-centric curriculum to remedy the highly selective narrative of traditional academia – which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge – by integrating subjugated and local epistemologies. This will create a more intellectually rigorous, complete academy.

3) Addressing the underrepresentation and lack of welfare provision for Black and minority ethnic (BME) amongst Oxford’s academic staff and students.

RMFO is about more than a statue. In fact our first action as a movement was getting the Oxford Union to admit it is institutionally racist after their ‘Colonial Comeback’ cocktail. We are determined to tackle Oxford University’s problem with race – and its perpetuation of the legacies of empire in all their insidious forms – from a multitude of angles.

However, we believe that statues and symbols matter; they are a means through which communities express their values. The normalised glorification of a man who for so many is a symbol of their historical oppression is a tacit admission that – as it stands – Oxford does not consider their history to be important. This is incompatible with a community that posits itself as progressive, enlightened and intellectually honest.

*edited details for accuracy