At Guernica, interviewed by Regan Petaluna.
Regan Penaluna started by loving philosophy. Over time, though, the climate for women in the discipline ground her down. Her self-confidence flagged, and she became one of the quiet students rather than one of the vocal, passionate ones. And then she discovered 17th century rationalist and feminist philosopher, Mary Astell.
Penaluna, now a journalist, has just published a popular account of her ups and downs in philosophy, her love affair with Astell, and her eventual departure from the discipline.
Penaluna’s account of Astell is a great primer on an original thinker who deserves more attention than she gets. But just as illuminating is Penaluna’s account of the slow grind of being a woman in philosophy. Her article offers a glimpse into some of the reasons women leave the profession.
You can read Penaluna’s account here.
The SCSU Women’s Studies Program Announces:
the 22nd Annual Women’s Studies Conference
Women, Community, Technology”
April 15 & 16, 2016
INVITATION FOR PROPOSALS ON INTERDISCIPLINARY SCHOLARLY AND CREATIVE WORK The 22nd SCSU Women’s Studies conference aims to provide a critical site of collective inquiry into the intersections of women (and girls), community, and technology. In what ways have women and girls worked with technology, broadly defined, for the advancement of communities and/or shaping and building movements? We invite proposals that investigate the past, present, and future of the intersections of women, community, and technology and showcase feminist in(ter)ventions with technology. How have women and girls participated (or not) in the fields of technology? In what ways does this inquiry intersect with the studies of gender, race, class, and sexuality?
We, too, invite you to submit proposals that consider some of the following inquiries regarding women, community, and technology. In what ways have feminist practices and women’s movements impacted women’s place in the world of technology? How might the interplay between women, community, and technology have shifted feminist discourses? What are some of the global movements that underscore feminist interventions and inventions of technology? What lessons may we glean from women in communities throughout the world utilizing media and technology in fighting against war and destruction? What are some of the best practices of feminist in(ter)ventions for sustainable communities?
PROPOSAL FORMAT: Faculty, students, staff, administrators, and community activists from all disciplines and fields are invited to submit proposals for individual papers, complete sessions, panels, or round tables. Poster sessions, performance pieces, video recordings, and other creative works are also encouraged. For individual papers, please submit a one-page abstract. For complete panels, submit a one-page abstract for each presentation plus an overview on the relationship among individual components. For the poster sessions and artwork, submit a one-page overview. All proposals must include speaker’s/speakers’ name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information (address, E-mail, & telephone number). Please also indicate preference for Friday afternoon, Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon; all attempts will be made to honor schedule requests.
PANELS: Each 75-minute session usually includes three presenters and a session moderator, but individual presenters may request an entire session for a more substantial paper or presentation. Presenters are encouraged, though not required, to form their own panels. The conference committee will group individual proposals into panels and assign a moderator. Please indicate in your contact information if you are willing to serve as a moderator.
POSTERS, ART DISPLAYS, AND SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: A poster presentation consists of an exhibit of materials that report research activities or informational resources in visual & summary form. An art display consists of a depiction of feminist and Indigenous concerns in an artistic medium. Both types of presentations provide a unique platform that facilitates personal discussion of work with interested colleagues & allows meeting attendees to browse through highlights of current research. Please indicate in your proposal your anticipated needs in terms of space, etc.
Submission Deadline: December 4th, 2015
Please submit proposals and supporting materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with attention to Conference Committee. If you have any questions, please call the Women’s Studies office at (203) 392-6133.Please include name, affiliation, E-mail, standard mailing address, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page, with a second page for identification information. Panel Proposals are welcome.
For more information see here.
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.
Really interesting interview with Catharine MacKinnon here. I’ll only quote a few bits (I really am leaving out interesting things though, so do take a look yourself):
MacKinnon on who is a woman:
I always thought I don’t care how someone becomes a woman or a man; it does not matter to me. It is just part of their specificity, their uniqueness, like everyone else’s. Anybody who identifies as a woman, wants to be a woman, is going around being a woman, as far as I’m concerned, is a woman.
And on ‘bathroom panic’:
Many transwomen just go around being women, who knew, and suddenly, we are supposed to care that they are using the women’s bathroom. There they are in the next stall with the door shut, and we’re supposed to feel threatened. I don’t. I don’t care. By now, I aggressively don’t care.
On misrepresentations of her views:
Williams: I know that you were falsely accused of claiming that “all sex is rape” (along with similar variants). What do you think people misrepresent most about your theories and why?
MacKinnon: It having taken about 20 years of litigation to establish that that statement is libel, I learned that people — in this case, originally Rush Limbaugh and Playboy at almost exactly the same time — create defamatory lies so that audiences will not take seriously work that threatens them (their power, ie their sexuality). Because of my analysis of male dominant sexuality as a practice of sex inequality, especially as deployed in the multi-billion dollar industry of pornography, they saw me as the enemy and set out to destroy me by whatever means were at their disposal. Once the New York Times Book Review voluntarily published its longest correction in history in 2006, saying I not only never said this, and my work did not mean this, but I didn’t THINK this (!), it pretty much stopped. Many academics, however, who largely don’t read, I am sorry to say, have not kept up. As you recognize, this is only one such misrepresentation.
There is, obviously, a lot that still needs to be done to make our profession the place we’d like it to be. And I find it’s far too easy to let negative stuff dominate my consciousness. So over the last few days I’ve been asking people to send me lists of good things that have happened in our profession in the last year. Here’s a start. Please add more in comments!
- The Under-represented Philosophers Database is up and running.
- The BPA/SWIP UK Good Practice Scheme was instituted, and has already been adopted by several departments and learned societies/journals.
- MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) has more than doubled its chapters.
- Efforts to unionise adjuncts have been gaining in strength,with an upcoming adjunct walkout day.
- The new blog, What is it Like to be a Person of Colour in Philosophy?.
- The new blog, What is it Like to be a Foreigner in Academia?
- The new blog, What is it Like to be Trans* in Academia?
- The APA Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion has completed its first report, to be published shortly.
- The APA has appointed Task Forces to create a Code of Conduct and a Best Practices Scheme.
- The CSW Site Visit programme has carried out 5 site visits, and has 3 more scheduled. One of these was to the University of Miami, which writes:
The faculty and graduate students of the philosophy department at the University of Miami would like to thank the members of the site visit team dispatched by the APA Committee on the Status of Women as part of their Site Visit Program. The team’s visit to our campus (March 2014) was a highly positive experience for the department and we received a very constructive and helpful report. We expect to make a number of changes in our customary practices and departmental policies based on its recommendations. We strongly endorse both the goals and methods of the Site Visit Program and recommend it to other departments that aim to assess and improve climate issues.
- There are starting to be very significant discussions online about socioeconomic class within philosophy.
- The first Mentoring Workshop for graduate women in philosophy was held.
- Feminist Philosophy Quarterly was founded, first issue coming this Spring.
- Market Boost for Women in Philosophy was founded.
- The new Journal of the APA has started, with a great collection of editors.
- There’s been a great NYT series on race and philosophy.
- The Women’s Caucus of the Philosophy of Science Association has had its best attended meeting ever, with 83 people (despite being at 7.30 AM).
- David Chalmers assembled a great list of guidelines for respectful discussion.
- The American Society for Aesthetics has adopted the goals of the Gendered Conference Campaign.
- After decade upon decade of very tiny numbers, in the last five years women have become well-represented on the APA board.
- Projects like Dismantling the Master’s House are tackling the legacy of the British Empire in Academia.
- The Daily Nous, a great addition to the philosophical blogosphere, began in March.
- Many, many people speaking up and taking action– individually or collectively– to improve the profession.
- Finally, as we’re all aware, it’s been a year in which thinking about climate went mainstream in philosophy. More and more people, at more and more departments, are asking what they can do to create a better environment for women and members of other and overlapping underrepresented groups. Some of this has been painful and difficult. Some of it has been joyful and fun. For the next year, let’s hope the joyful outweighs the painful. (But let’s go on doing the painful when it really needs to be done.)
[Trigger warning: violence, sexual assault]
In “Cassandra Among the Creeps,” the cover essay of the latest Harper’s magazine, Rebecca Solnit considers the various ways in which women are silenced. She draws a line from the titular mythical figure to Dylan Farrow, both of whose testimony was doubted, if to differing degrees. But, as Solnit observes, the mechanisms of silencing can be external or internal: “First come the internal inhibitions, self-doubts, repressions, confusions, and shame that make it difficult to impossible to speak, along with the fear of being punished or ostracized for doing so.” In illustration of internal silencing, Solnit cites Aftermath, feminist philosopher Susan Brison’s account of her 1990 rape, and of her trauma and recovery. The article is behind a paywall, but here’s a snippet:
Susan Brison, now chair of the philosophy department at Dartmouth, was raped in 1990 by a man, a stranger, who called her a whore and told her to shut up before choking her repeatedly, bashing her head with a stone, and leaving her for dead. Afterward she found various problems in talking about the experience: “It was one thing to have decided to speak and write about my rape, but another to find the voice with which to do it. Even after my fractured trachea had healed, I frequently had trouble speaking. I was never entirely mute, but I often had bouts of what a friend labeled ‘fractured speech,’ during which I stuttered and stammered, unable to string together a simple sentence without the words scattering like a broken necklace.”
Below is a list of podcasts from Neurogenderings III, a conference on the brain and gender, held this year in May. The podcasts are available here.
I heard Jordan-Young at a conference in honor of Anne Fasto-Sterling a week before the conference; I do recommend listening to her. And if you think that sex is purely biological then you will find Anne F-S’s keynote very interesting, I hope. The other speakers are very distinguished scholars.
Dr Cynthia KRAUS, Senior lecturer at the Institute of social sciences of the University of Lausanne. Opening words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus** Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.
Prof. Franciska KRINGS, Vice-Rector of the University of Lausanne. Welcome words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.
Rebecca JORDAN-YOUNG, Tow Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College. Sex as Chimera: Tools for (Un)Thinking Difference.
Gillian EINSTEIN, Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Gender Medicine, Linköping University, Associate Professor of Psychology, Dalla Landa School of Public Health, University of Toronto. When Does a Difference Make a Difference? Exemples from Situated Neuroscience.
Georgina RIPPON, Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging, Aston University. Functional Neuroimaging (FNI) and Sex/Gender Research: of Differences, Dichotomies and Entanglement.
Anne FAUSTO-STERLING, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies, Brown University. How Your Generic Baby Aquires Gender.
**from your dictionary.com: When a large group of people is very unhappy with a certain policy or event, this collective unhappiness is an example of dissensus.
Ghent 24-25 November, 2014
The Department of Philosophy & Moral Sciences of Ghent University welcomes abstracts for an international workshop on Feminist Philosophy of Science.
Invited keynote speaker is Stéphanie Ruphy (Université Pierre Mendès Greboble, France).
We welcome paper proposals on a variety of topics related to the conference theme, including (but not limited to) contributions to:
- feminist philosophy of science
- feminist science(s)
- the role of science(s) in feminism(s)
- the status of feminist philosophy of science in philosophy (of science)
- the history of feminist philosophy of science
Please send abstracts (max. 500 words) prepared for anonymous review to Eric Schliesser by July 1, 2014. Please include identifying information in separate page or accompanying email.
See here for more details.
It is appalling to read about philosophers sexually harassing/assaulting vulnerable people, but is it surprising? An article in yesterday’s New York Times argues that we should not expect better.
The life of an intellectual, Mr. Ignatieff [Michael Ignatieff, the Canadian academic-cum-politician] claims, provides a petri dish for the universal human experiment of thinking, being and doing. It’s a lovely idea. The trouble is that intellectuals seem no better at it than anyone else. They often think great thoughts, while being ignoble characters. Maybe Mill and Berlin and John Dewey were noble characters. But Marx was a serial adulterer, Karl Popper was a pompous narcissist, and Heidegger was a fascist. Elite thinkers, maybe: but as amateurish humans as the rest of us.
I’m not so sure, but there are a lot of issues that need clarification before we’re in a good position to accept or reject the article. Still, there are some points we can make. Great achievements typically require concentration and caring. The idea of caring that extends to what one says and not at all to what one does is puzzling. One expects a great scientist to care very much about the truth of his words. But then what does that care look like if it allows lying in letters of reference to reward sexual compliance?
And isn’t philosophy, at least when it is about human life, different? On the other hand, maybe moral behavior requires more than morally apt thinking. For example, perhaps a capacity for empathy. And a love of truth in one area may co-exist with a capacity for self-deception that enables a lot of borrowing from others. E.g., plagarism.
Perhaps, then, we need to recognize that there are many character flaws that can disconnect behavior from thought. I myself would still, at least at this point in time, like to think that at least for some areas really vicious behavior will mean one does not have the capacity for some great intellectual tasks. But is that really true?
What do you think?
A remarkable example of disconnect was explained recently by Bob Dylan. I thought of him as the voice (or a voice) of a generation of protestors. But, as he has said, that’s not at all what he was doing. He was just a musician. So where did those wonderfully apposite lyrics come from? It was, he says, simply magic.
In fact, many people report a similar experience (I think). As Feymann put it, suddenly boom, boom, the answer is there. Ownership may seem tenuous, and connection with character very problematic.