Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Jennifer Saul on women in philosophy in phil magazine February 28, 2015

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 5:02 pm

In the latest issue of Philosopher’s Magazine Jennifer Saul describes the dearth of women in philosophy, lists a number of causes and describes some remedial steps. The result is a great introduction to a very serious problen in the philosophy profession. It’s also a quick refresher course for those who’ve pick up this material in bits and pieces.

In the UK, women are 46% of undergraduate students in philosophy, but only 24% of permanent staff. Women are approximately 21% of professional philosophers in the US, but only 17% of those employed full-time. These figures are very unlike those for most fields of the humanities, in which women tend to be near or above parity with men. Indeed, they more closely resemble mathematics and physical sciences (biological sciences are much closer to parity). One recent study by Kieran Healy showed philosophy to be more male than mathematics, with only computer science, physics and engineering showing lower percentages of women.

We’re recognized a number of times in this blog that there are other features that can provoke discriminatory reactions in philosophy: disability, race, not having English as your first language, class and being in the glbt community. And no doubt more my memory is not bringing to the fore. O, and then there’s ageism, which I think we don’t discuss much. You are welcome to take note of any of these in discussion.

 

BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme February 19, 2015

Filed under: academia,achieving equality,bias,women in philosophy — jennysaul @ 10:35 am

Readers may recall that the BPA and SWIP jointly rolled out a set of good practice guidelines for women in philosophy.  Departments were invited to consider signing up for them in full or in part.  I’m very pleased to say that Helen Beebee has just posted an initial list of departments that have signed up to the guidelines so far!  A few of these have links to their own pages on how they have implemented the policies.  More links are coming soon, as they are sent to us.  And anecdotally I’ve heard great reports of really productive discussions taking place across the country as the guidelines are being considered.

 

Academia is not a meritocracy February 16, 2015

Filed under: academia,class — Monkey @ 12:14 pm

Aaron Clauset, Sam Arbesman and Daniel Larremore have analysed some data comcerning career paths in computer science, business, and history. People won’t, I imagine, be that surprised at their findings…

First, academics’ career success largely depends on the prestige of the department where they did their PhD. Second, the system is so skewed in favor of academics who came from prestigious departments that it’s really hard to explain this by just saying that they are better than people who went to less prestigious departments. The evidence suggests “a specific and significant preference for hiring faculty with prestigious doctorates” even aside from differences in their productivity (which are also more skewed than one would expect if the differences were based on merit alone). The system is also significantly skewed against women in both computer science and business, although there’s no evidence that they’re discriminated against in history.

This – as others have pointed out – intersects with issues of class, since people from lower classes tend not to be at more prestigious departments. Whilst they didn’t examine philosophy, it seems very plausible the same story holds there too. Links to further info/data on this issue would be great.

You can read more here.

 

Civility v. Freedom? Or something else? February 7, 2015

Daily Nous reported that Marquette University is seeking to fire McAdams, and discusses academic freedom in a separate post here. Further discussion of these events is taking place at the Academe Blog (the blog of the AAUP, though its bloggers note the posts may not represent the official position of the organization):

Competence and integrity “in the current case,” as Holz puts it, demand that McAdams refrain from “sham[ing] and intimidat[ing] [a graduate student teacher] with an Internet story that was incompetent, inaccurate, and lacking in integrity, respect for other’s opinions, and appropriate restraint.” In Holz’s telling, McAdams need not exercise appropriate restraint because doing so would foster a more civil discourse—that would be the deeply problematic civility narrative. Rather, he needs to do so because this is how you help graduate students develop as teachers, a key part of faculty members’ jobs at a university: “it is vital for our university and our profession that graduate student instructors learn their craft as teachers of sometimes challenging and difficult students.” Whenever faculty choose to take an interest in graduate students’ teaching, those student instructors have a reasonable expectation of “appropriate and constructive feedback in order to improve their teaching skills.” McAdams made no effort to offer constructive feedback before or after condemning Abbate as a teacher, by name, on his public blog.

After listing several incidents of a similar flavor, Holz concludes that “with this latest example of unprofessional and irresponsible conduct [Marquette has] no confidence that [McAdams] will live up to any additional assurances . . . that [he] will take seriously [his] duties to respect and protect [Marquette] students, including [Marquette] graduate student instructors.”

. . .  Academic freedom is a license to say whatever one please in one’s research and non-institutional, extramural communications. It needs to remain such, as this license guarantees the very possibility of inquiry. And there are of course grey areas, where the limits of academic freedom are unclear. The AAUP often intervenes in these areas in the service of protecting speech rights—and rightly so. Defending faculty speech rights makes the project of a modern university possible. But so does helping students develop.

It is true that, as a matter of principle, the academic freedom central to the very idea of a university trumps civility. But McAdams’ is not a case of academic freedom under siege. His is a case of an abusive professor persistently, up to the present day, refusing to acknowledge any special obligation to the development of a graduate student at his university.

We only harm ourselves in working to add this sorry story to the record of CIVILITY v.FREEDOM.

 

Phdisabled

Filed under: academia,disability,discrimination — annejjacobson @ 6:28 am

I don’t think this blog, phdisabled, has been mentioned on our blog. It looks to be mainly for students and based in the UK, but reading it can make one feel the presence of a community. Have a look!

 

A question for philosophy and its teaching February 4, 2015

Filed under: academia,academic job market,Uncategorized,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 7:26 pm

I found the following video through a link to an issue of Nautilus on beauty and creativity on Daily Nous. It has long worried me that philosophy classes so often value the polished analytic answer, while creativity might not direct us there at first, or perhaps ever.

One example of the sort of thing that worries me. In some reading group, I think at Rutgers, someone said that Quine’s Two Dogmas of Empiricism contained no good arguments. I think most people agreed, though one would be hard put to deny that it is full of important and highly influential ideas. Do we manage to teach, and to convey, that in philosophy ideas may be at least as important as good arguments and perhaps even more so? I wondered this just recently as I saw a group of young philosophers espousing working all the time on philosophy.

Anjan Chatterjee, the speaker in the video below, has recently published The Aesthetic Brain He holds a degree in philosophy, but he is head of Neurology at the U of Pennsylvania’s Hospital.

Anyway, see what you think:

 

When journals don’t follow their own procedures

Filed under: academia,Journals — jennysaul @ 6:28 pm

Many of us have put a lot of effort into getting journals to use double-anonymous review practices. Even those who don’t think that’s necessary probably do think review by someone who isn’t,say, the author’s supervisor is necessary. Things like this are what make it so important to appreciate the many ways that journals (even top ones) may fall short of even halfway decent practices. This needs to be noticed and paid attention to. So go check out this post at DailyNous, and some of the comments (esp. number 21).

 

Annotated Bibliography on Gender Bias in Academia January 31, 2015

Filed under: academia,bias — jennysaul @ 8:21 am

What a fantastically useful thing to have! Here.

 

(Thanks, T!)

 

The Hunting Ground January 26, 2015

Filed under: academia,rape,sexual assault,sexual harassment,women in academia — philodaria @ 12:26 am

The makers of The Invisible War have come out with a new documentary about sexual assault on American campuses. From Variety: 

Kirby Dick’s “The Hunting Ground,” a buzzed-about documentary about the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday afternoon.

“I want to thank to the hundreds of survivors who interacted with us,” Dick told the packed crowd at the Marc Theatre before the screening. Appearing with four of the victims featured in the film at a Q&A after the screening, which received a standing ovation, he added: “This is a problem at schools all across the country,” Dick said.

The film, which will be released by Radius/TWC in theaters on March 20 and on CNN later this year, persuasively argues that college campuses don’t respond to reports of sexual assault because they don’t want to scare off prospective students and alumni, particularly when it comes to fraternity and student athletes. The film not only talks to students, but administrators, parents and even a former police officer at Notre Dame who offered accounts of how the school turned its back on rape cases.

 

New Blog: Discrimination and Disadvantage January 24, 2015

Filed under: academia,disability — Monkey @ 11:01 pm

This new blog looks like it will be great. Looking forward to reading it when it launches in the next few weeks.

In recent years, philosophers have increasingly reflected on how various kinds of privilege and advantage are at work in the profession with an eye towards improving the lot of the disadvantaged. This blog is a space for philosophical reflection on various kinds of disadvantage (e.g., discrimination based on racism, classism, sexism, hetero-sexism, ableism, and the intersectionality of these and related phenomena) as well as discussion of such disadvantage within the philosophical community.

 

 
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