Synthese: Letter on Special Issues

From the Editors of Synthese:

We have concluded our investigation of the reasons a special-issue article of Synthese, which caused offense to people in the community, was published without our approval. We have also concluded our deliberations on the future of special issues in Synthese. Before sharing the results with you, we would like to affirm, once again, our commitment to feminist and LGBT values, our responsibility for every article published or accepted for publication in Synthese during our tenure, and our dedication to high professional and humanistic standards in our editorial work.

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CFP: “Gender and the Politics of Shame” (Hypatia special issue)

Gender & the Politics of Shame
Volume 33, Issue 3, 2018
Guest Editor: Clara Fischer
Deadline for submission: December 1, 2016

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy seeks contributions for a special issue on “Gender and the Politics of Shame.” Significant advances in recent years in the development of shame theory make this issue especially timely. The issue will evince unprecedented feminist scholarly interest in affect and the politics of emotion. Shame has been theorized as a particularly gendered emotion, given women’s frequent inability to act as authors of shaming narratives in patriarchal societies. This special issue on the gendered politics of shame interrogates the relationship between gender, shame, and power. It examines how the politics of shame comes to be enacted against a variety of normatively transgressive bodies and subjectivities, and how shame informs the construction, inter alia, of gendered, racialized, and classed Others. Inversely, “Gender and the Politics of Shame” asks how Others respond to their construction as shameful. How have feminists subverted shaming narratives, or indeed, performed a politics of shame in the service of liberatory projects?

Just as shame itself is often contested as either a negative or productive experience, so the politics of shame may invoke a diversity of conceptualizations that conflict with each other. “Gender and the Politics of Shame” invites such competing and varied theorizations, and asks feminist scholars from philosophy, other disciplines, and those doing interdisciplinary work, to present new and promising ways of thinking about the gendered politics of shame. Contributions from disability studies, critical race theory, queer studies, transnational and postcolonial feminism are particularly welcomed. Articles may cover the following themes:

  • Shame and theories of emotion/affect: how can the recent “turn to affect” help us to reconceptualize or advance theorizations of shame? What contribution have canonical expositions of shame made to feminist scholarship and how might these relate to contemporary critical thought on the gendered politics of shame? Which theoretical models of shame are most convincing and conducive to feminist political projects?
  • Shame and subjectivity: what is the relationship between shame and subjectivity? Is shame necessarily debilitating or is it an emotion that contributes productively to human and/or animal development?
  • Shame and related emotions (disgust, embarrassment, guilt, pride): what is the relationship between shame and other emotions/affects, particularly the self-conscious emotions? How can we distinguish between closely related feeling-states such as guilt and shame or disgust and shame? How is shame best understood ontologically?
  • Body shame and disability: how are certain bodies constructed as shameful? How do norms of (gendered) embodiment and ablebodiedness inform the politics of shame? How have critical disability theorists conceptualized shame?
  • Racialized shame: how is the politics of shame racialized? Which racist and gendered tropes does the politics of shame engage? How has racialized shaming underpinned and sustained colonial and imperialist systems?
  • Queer shame: what is the relationship between heteronormativity and shame? What role have heteronormative state policies and cultural sanctions played in the performance of the politics of shame? How have queer theorists advanced theorizations of shame in recent years?
  • Classed shame: what is the relationship between economic inequality and shame? Has the shaming of classed Others intensified in light of the global financial crisis and related, recent events? How is poverty construed as shameful?
  • Shame and activism/subversion: how do shamed constituencies deal with shame? What strategies have been developed to counter shaming narratives? How do activists draw on shame to highlight and remedy injustices committed by the state?
  • Shame and political institutions/systems: what role does the state play in performing the gendered politics of shame? How do its institutions produce shaming narratives? Are institutionalized Others particularly subject to a politics of shame?
  • Shame and humiliation: what is the difference between shaming and humiliating? Are shamed Others also humiliated Others?
  • Shame and aesthetics: what role does the aesthetic countering of shame (evinced, for example, by ‘black is beautiful’) play in liberatory politics? How are shameful Others constructed in art? How do feminist artists engage shame and the gendered politic of shame?

Deadline for submission: December 1, 2016

Papers should be no more than 8000 words, inclusive of notes and bibliography, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words. In addition to articles, submissions to the Musings section are encouraged. These should not exceed 3,000 words, including footnotes and references. All submissions will be externally reviewed. For details, please see Hypatia’s submission guidelines:

Please submit your paper to:

When you submit, make sure to select “Politics of Shame” as your manuscript type, and also send an email to the guest editor, Clara Fischer, at indicating the title of the paper you have submitted.

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

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.”

When journals don’t follow their own procedures

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).

Philosop-Her on Gender and Journals

Philosop-Her has opened up another discussion on an important topic: whether quotas could help address gender balance in philosophy journal publishing. (The aim of the post is to start a conversation, rather than to argue for a view about this issue.)

In response to a comment that notes a familiar kind of worry about whether such actions may serve to reinforce prejudice, Meena writes (also in the comments):

Many people argue against affirmative action in the workplace for the reasons that you mention – namely, that it may be stigmatizing. In the end, I’m not sure if this is really the case. Research shows that once people are surrounded by people of colour, for example, and start working with them they start to perceive people of colour differently and more positively. I wonder if something similar wouldn’t apply to the case of seeing more articles by women in top tier journals. Once they are there, we may view the authors and their work more positively.

Hypatia survey results: Where to publish?

Hypatia editors have sent us an updated version of the survey of alternative venues for publishing originally posted at the Hypatia website here (pdf); since that link isn’t yet updated, we are posting the full updated survey here, as a separate page on our blog with a tab that will remain above until the new Hypatia editors update the old webpage or make a new one.  We will provide an update when the Hypatia website is updated or changed, but in the meantime, enjoy!

Recommended readings for module on distributive justice

I’m putting together my reading list for next term’s module on distributive justice, and aiming that it NOT be a total sausage fest. I’m finding it surprisingly easy – so many great women political philosophers!

There are two topics I (and perhaps other interested readers?) would really benefit from reading recommendations on:

a) prioritarian principles (either arguing for or being critical of them), and

b) so called left-libertarianism. Any ideas?

CFP: Judgement and Embodiment (Special Issue of PhaenEx)

PhaenEx: journal of existential and phenomenological theory and culture


Call for papers for special edited issue: Judgement and Embodiment
(volume 9.3, to be published in Fall/Winter 2014)


Editors: Alexis Shotwell (Carleton University) and Ada Jaarsma (Mount Royal University)


Feminist judgements about embodiment tend to be normative, identifying and undermining social prescriptions about bodily practices that limit flourishing and intensify oppression; conversely, feminist judgements are also often pragmatic, modeling forms of embodiment that aspire to emancipatory ways of living in the world. Embodiment can be seen, then, as an object of critique as well as a method of transformative critique, and both aspects of embodiment are animated by modes of judgement. Bodily practices that align with feminist resistance may make new capacities of judgement possible: for example, the cultivation of senses that are allergic to prejudicial forms of power and are attuned to non-oppressive relational dynamics. Might we affirm judgement itself as an embodied practice? Such a claim would be somewhat at odds with prevailing liberal scripts about judgement which warn us that judging another’s bodily practices might be impolite or impolitic. Existential and phenomenological approaches to critical theory call such liberal formulations into question, making way for more open-ended and positive conceptions of the intersections of judgement with embodiment.

This special issue will elaborate and explore the problem of embodiment, specifically from the vantage point of feminist concerns about domination and discrimination, on the one hand, and creative and affirmative becoming, on the other. We are especially interested in articles that reflect on particular—or even exemplary—cases that stage the problem of judgement and embodiment.

Deadline:   September 5, 2013

Papers should be prepared for anonymous review, and they can be sent to Alexis Shotwell ( or Ada Jaarsma (


PhaenEx is an electronic journal affiliated with the Canadian based international Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture / Théorie et culture existentialistes et phénoménologiques (EPTC/TCEP).

Our intent is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for original research in theory or culture from existential or phenomenological perspectives, broadly construed. This includes but is not restricted to philosophical and critical inquiries related to art, literature, science, technology, popular culture, religion, gender and sexuality, applied moral issues and social relations, as well as the history of continental philosophy itself. Submissions in both French and English are encouraged and all submissions are subject to peer review.

PhaenEx is a bi-annual publication: there is a Spring/Summer Open Issue, and a Fall/Winter Special Topics Issue. For each Open Issue the Editorial Executive welcomes submissions from authors both in and outside EPTC/TCEP. Typically, the Special Topics Issue is derived from a recent EPTC/TCEP panel session. Submissions are not limited to panel participants.

PhaenEx is indexed regularly in the Philosopher’s Index and is registered with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

The journal’s website is here.

Hypatia suspends new submissions to July 2013

From the Hypatia website:

Manuscript submissions have grown dramatically in the last few years, and we’re building up a substantial backlog of accepted article. So, with regret, the editors have decided that we must temporary suspend all new submissions. This does not affect the resubmission of manuscripts accepted with revisions, or Diversity Prize submissions. For the details, please see the full notice here.

Special Issue on Feminist Aesthetics

A special issue on Feminist Aesthetics, published by n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal, includes intriguing international contributions. Canadian readers, you might find the interview with Feminist Art Gallery founders Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue of special interest. Although not for profit, access to most of the contents is not free, with the exception of the editorial, an excerpt of which is below:

 What is feminist aesthetics? To some, it arises in a close reading of contemporary women artists’ works with attention to feminist theory. To others, feminist aesthetics represents a model guiding the production of works, exhibition strategies and the presentation of feminist art. While to others again, exploring the relationship between aesthetics and politics becomes a means to re-activate a new set of relationships between art and activism, and through these means produce new forms of feminist politics through their practices. These three key ideas are explored in the close readings of different women artists’ projects in this volume.