Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Anti-harassment policy at various scientific/technical conferences June 24, 2015

Filed under: academia,sexual harassment,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 5:29 pm

I’ve seen this policy announcement at a conference of an association for computer memory and at one for the vision science society. The second adapted the first’s. It ends with strong wording:

Anti-Harassment Policy
The open exchange of ideas and the freedom of thought and expression are central to ACM’s aims and goals. These require an environment that recognizes the inherent worth of every person and group, that fosters dignity, understanding, and mutual respect, and that embraces diversity. For these reasons, ACM is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for participants at our events and in our programs.

Harassment is unwelcome or hostile behavior, including speech that intimidates, creates discomfort, or interferes with a person’s participation or opportunity for participation, in a conference, event or program. Harassment in any form, including but not limited to harassment based on alienage or citizenship, age, color, creed, disability, marital status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth- and pregnancy-related medical conditions, race, religion, sex, gender, veteran status, or any other status protected by laws in which the conference or program is being held, will not be tolerated.

Harassment includes the use of abusive or degrading language, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. A response that the participant was “just joking,” or “teasing,” or being “playful,” will not be accepted.

Individuals violating these standards may be sanctioned or excluded from further participation at the discretion of the organizers or responsible committee.

It is the last sentence that may be especially interesting to philosophers who were concerned about the APA’s reference to legal liability.** We probably should remind ourselves that actions do not necessarily follow words. For example, it may be that a complaint has to meet a very high standard of proof before any sanctioning occurs.

**(That is in fact a concern I share since I have seen how easily one can end up with costs over $100,000, and in fact for that reason declined to pursue fully my own interests in a case I initiated.)


Sunday’s Dateline: UPDATE June 21, 2015

I don’t think of FeministPhilosophers as a recommendation source for tv shows, but this item is an exception. Here is what my tv listings says:

A look at the way students and universities deal with the issue of campus sexual assaults.

My main questions: Will it be bearable? How full of errors? Any friends featured?

UPDATE:  you can watch it here.


“Queering Philosophy” June 11, 2015

Filed under: academia,bias,glbt — Stacey Goguen @ 5:29 pm


Post by Annika Thiem at The Philosopher’s Eye

“as Linda Alcoff argued in her Presidential Address to the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2012, […] the problem of demography is not coincidental to the issue of bodies of knowledge, canonical archives and questions, and preferred methods of inquiry.”

“Marginalized minority voices tend to have to render proof of their academic competence and must first refute the suspicion of being “purely personally politically motivated” rather than writing “proper research.” The standard of “proper” academic writing turns out not to be as neutral and universal, as we often like to assume, but rather a male, white, European, and heteronormative “voice” of knowledge and competence.

“This is the case even though the actual bodies inhabiting that academic voice can look preciously little like a straight white European man. The point is that queerness and queer method are irreducible to individual bodies and desires. Queerness and queer method pertain just as much, if not even more, to structures, practices, and institutions.


Public Philosophy, On-Line Philosophy, and “What Philosophical Work Could Be”

Filed under: academia,internet,Journals,publishing — Stacey Goguen @ 5:13 pm

A post from The Splintered Mind 

“Nor need we think that philosophical work must consist of expository argumentation targeted toward disciplinary experts and students in the classroom. This, too, is a narrow and historically recent conception of philosophical work. Popular essays, fictions, aphorisms, dialogues, autobiographical reflections, and personal letters have historically played a central role in philosophy. We could potentially add, too, public performances, movies, video games, political activism, and interactions with the judicial system and governmental agencies.”

“If one approaches popular writing as a means of “dumbing down” pre-existing philosophical ideas for an audience of non-experts whose reactions one does not plan to take seriously, then, yes, that popular writing is not really research. But if the popular essay is itself a locus of philosophical creativity, where philosophical ideas are explored in hopes of discovering new possibilities, advancing (and not just marketing) one’s own thinking, furthering the community’s philosophical dialogue in a way that might strike professional philosophers, too, as interesting rather than merely familiar re-hashing, and if it’s done in a way that is properly intellectually responsive to the work of others, then it is every bit as much “research” as is a standard journal article. Analogously with consulting — and with Twitter feeds, TED videos, and poetry.

“I urge our discipline to conceptualize philosophical work more broadly than we typically do. A Philosophical Review article can be an amazing, awesome thing. Yes! But we should see journal articles of that style, in that type of venue, as only one of many possible forms of important, field-shaping philosophical work.”


Philosophical Change in the Shadow of the Law June 9, 2015

Filed under: academia,law — womandamus @ 2:05 am
Tags: , ,

Womandamus is a new contributor to FP. They have some expertise in law and philosophy, but this series will not offer legal advice or counsel.

It is a well-known idea that people “bargain in the shadow of the law.” In other words, we take all kinds of legal information and facts about the legal system into account when we go through our lives, whether we are deciding to take a plea deal, run a red light, or make a billion dollar deal. Yet we also bargain in the shadow of what we perceive the law to be, rather than what it is. This is unsurprising since (1) most ordinary people are in no position to know what the law is and (2) even most lawyers are not in such a position. Law school does not teach anyone the law because it cannot do so. Rather, it teaches people to “think like lawyers” because the law may turn out to be one thing or another, depending on a whole host of contingencies.

This uncertainty, paired with the extreme coercive power of the law, can make it hard—even scary—to conform our actions to the law or know what the legal effect of our actions might be. This uncertainty and fear has the potential to stand in the way of real change even where everyone generally agrees that some change would be desirable. Philosophy has some problems, as you all know, that are increasingly involving the legal system head on. At least some of these problems are widely-recognized, and many philosophers are aching for some change. However, the shadow of the law looms menacingly over their efforts, whether this is reasonable or not.

Fears about defamation suits, concerns about due process, confidentiality requirements, complaints about Title IX, and other legal actions may be more or less warranted, more or less reasonable, but they often have the effect of discouraging people from pursuing change in philosophy, particularly in a public way. Philosophers and graduate students may fear coming forward or naming their colleagues lest they be sued for defamation or in violation of a confidentiality agreement with their University. Even if a case ultimately ends in a quick dismissal, it is still costly and exhausting to be on the receiving end. Many non-lawyers (and, I would venture, especially philosophers, who tend to be privileged and are less likely to be the target of heavy policing) will never have an interaction with the legal system beyond paying parking tickets and doing jury duty, so the fear of being involved in a lawsuit in any capacity can be crippling.

As the profession continues to grapple with issues relating to climate, it will increasingly confront the law. In a series of future posts, I would like to offer some analysis of legal issues that the profession has already confronted in some form or another: retaliation, defamation, settlements, due process, Title IX in general, and other topics that might improve legal literacy among philosophers. These posts will focus on the U.S. context, but Canada and the U.K. may be similar. It is important to remember that the answer to any legal question will always depend, in part, on what jurisdiction you are in. While I can’t offer legal advice, I do hope to clear up some general misconceptions about the law in a way philosophers can understand. If you have topics you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment, and I’ll try to get to them.



How Universities Maintain Whiteness June 5, 2015

Filed under: academia,race — Stacey Goguen @ 3:35 pm

New APPS has a in-depth post regarding Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman’s situation at UCL and his work on racism in academia: “Why Is the University Still White”

“All of this is, of course, only one example. But it provides a particularly clear illustration of how academic racism works—as much in the UK as in the US. While we tend to focus on explicit bias—documentable instances of which are quite rare—it is easy to overlook what is happening at the level of these structural underpinnings, which create conditions that all too often make the positions of critical Black faculty untenable—or at least extremely, disproportionately difficult, stressful, demanding, and emotionally and physically unhealthy.

“Moreover, nearly all of the structural factors are likely to intensify as a result of general trends in academic management, which are towards increasing contingency and increasing expectations of faculty productivity and ‘impact.’ Those who have already been marginalized through these means, and who are least likely to find real understanding and support from established, powerful agents within the institution seem all too likely to continue to be disproportionately affected by these same trends.”


Science Fraud and our retraction May 24, 2015

Filed under: academia,science — annejjacobson @ 3:43 pm

You may be aware of the this recent incident of supposedly discovered fraud:

IN December, Science published a paper claiming that people could change their minds about same-sex marriage after talking for just 20 minutes with a gay person. It seemed too good to be true — and it was.

On Wednesday, the journal distanced itself from the study, after its accuracy was disputed, and one of the authors could not back up the findings.

We joined in on the initial enthusiasm for the reported research, and now we want to recognize that the results are disputed. The question remains, how do scientists with much to lose take the chances involved in publicly putting forth cooked data? The article linked to above offers an answer:

Economists like to say there are no bad people, just bad incentives. The incentives to publish today are corrupting the scientific literature and the media that covers it. Until those incentives change, we’ll all get fooled again.


Pew report links poorly paid adjuncts, student debt and high presidents’pay. May 20, 2015

Filed under: academia,academic job market — annejjacobson @ 5:03 pm

H/t to someone on FB. My apologies for not remembering who.
In addition, the incoming U of Texas president refused a million dollar salary and took $750K instead.




Inclusive fees campaign May 2, 2015

Filed under: academia — jennysaul @ 9:15 am

The inclusive fees campaign now has a site where you can pledge your support.

Join this campaign and pledge to do one or more of the following:
1. pledge to provide a reduced or waived fees category for contingent faculty and other underemployed academics in any conference you organize
2. lobby the academic organizations you are a member of to provide such reduced fees
3. if you are in a privileged position within academia, you can also follow one or more of these practices:
a.if you are asked to be a reviewer at a conference, ask organizers if they are considering a special registration category for non-TT scholars
b.pay your accommodation and/or travel expenses, asking organizers to put the money toward help for those less able to afford the conference
c.when giving a department seminar, suggest an inexpensive restaurant so that those with less money can come
d.if you are invited to give a talk, depending on your economic situation you can refuse an honorarium, asking organizers to use the money to help those less able to afford the conference


Notre Dame under Title IX investigation April 18, 2015

Filed under: academia,gender,law,sexual harassment,women in academia — noetika @ 2:49 pm

Huffington Post has the story here. 



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