The UPDirectory is starting to give us some answers, thanks to Andrew Higgins. He also compared the distributions of specialities in the directory to those in Phil Papers. To see what he found, go here.
Mellon Foundation Grant to the APA for diversity initiatives! January 6, 2015
The American Philosophical Association (APA) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a major grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will provide $600,000 over three years to support undergraduate diversity institutes in philosophy, including the expansion of the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) program and the development of infrastructure to support it and other undergraduate diversity institutes.
The Guardian on philosophy’s maleness and whiteness January 5, 2015
Many voices from British philosophy here!
Just one small sample, from Meena Dhanda:
The thorn of racism is so deep in the flesh of philosophy that it is no longer visible from the surface. It hurts. We need more black philosophers, women philosophers – adventurers and heretics, unruly, rigorous and untiring thinkers, committed to making philosophy respond to the world we inhabit.
2014 and our profession January 3, 2015
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.)
Fantastic new directory of philosophers from underrepresented groups! December 18, 2014
Ruth Chang writes:
It is fully searchable and really neat. If you’re a conference organizer looking for philosophers in your city who work on X, you can search the directory and come up with a list of such philosophers from underrepresented groups that fit the bill. If you’re on a hiring committee, and the usual suspects keep coming to mind but you’d like to do a more thorough search, you can pull up the directory and find all philosophers in the directory who work in a general AOS or even on a specific research topic. If you’re an editor looking for a list of possible candidates to invite to contribute to a volume or to referee a paper, the UPDirectory can help you.
This sounds like a really wonderful tool. Go check it out!
What is it like to be a person of colour in philosophy? December 1, 2014
This blog contains narratives of personal experiences, submitted by readers, of life in philosophy as a person of color. Some of these stories will undoubtedly be accounts of racial bias, whether explicit, unconscious, or institutional. However, other posts will be accounts of progress being undertaken or achieved.
This is a project of several philosophers of all colors, moderated by a group of philosophy faculty from a variety of institutions. It is partly inspired by the thoughtful conversations that grew up around the blog What is it Like to be a Woman in Philosophy.
We invite everyone to contribute. Many posts will be written by people of color in philosophy. But we hope that not all will be.
Interview with Charles Mills by George Yancy November 17, 2014
In The Stone. A snippet:
C.M.: [. . .] Here in the United States, for example, we have the absurd situation of a huge philosophical literature on social justice in which racial injustice — the most salient of American injustices — is barely mentioned.
G.Y.: In your 1997 book, “The Racial Contract,” you discuss the concept of an “epistemology of ignorance,” a term which I believe you actually coined. What is meant by that term? And how do you account for the complete thematic marginalization of racial justice? Does an epistemology of ignorance help to explain it?
C.M.: Yes, I believe it does help to explain it, but first let me say something about the term. The phrasing (“epistemology of ignorance”) was calculatedly designed by me to be attention-getting through appearing to be oxymoronic. I was trying to capture the idea of norms of cognition that so function as to workagainst successful cognition. Systems of domination affect us not merely in terms of material advantage and disadvantage, but also in terms of likelihoods of getting things right or wrong, since unfair social privilege reproduces itself in part through people learning to see and feel about the world in ways that accommodate injustice. “Ignorance” is actively reproduced and is resistant to elimination. This is, of course, an old insight of the left tradition with respect to class. I was just translating it into a different vocabulary and applying it to race. So one can see the idea (and my later work on “white ignorance”) as my attempt to contribute to the new “social epistemology,” which breaks with traditional Cartesian epistemological individualism, but in my opinion needs to focus more on social oppression than it currently does.
Ignorance as a subject worthy of investigation in its own right has, by the way, become so academically important that next year Routledge is publishing a big reference volume on the topic, the “Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies,” edited by Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey. The book covers numerous varieties of ignorance over a wide range of different areas and divergent etiologies, but my own invited contribution (“Global White Ignorance”) appears in the section on ignorance and social oppression. In this chapter, I argue that modernity is cognitively marked by a broad pattern in which whites generally endorse racist views (one type of ignorance) in the period of formal global white domination, and then (roughly from the post-World War II, decolonial period onward) shift to the endorsement of views that nominally decry racism, but downplay the impact of the racist past on the present configuration of wealth and opportunities (another type of ignorance). So remedial measures of racial justice are not necessary, and white privilege from illicit structural advantage, historic and ongoing, can remain intact and unthreatened. Insofar as mainstream “white” American political philosophy ignores these realities (and there are, of course, praiseworthy exceptions, like Elizabeth Anderson’s “The Imperative of Integration”), it can be judged, in my opinion, to be maintaining this tradition.
Being a philosopher of color November 3, 2014
We are now collecting stories. Please send us any stories you have that are revealing about what it is like to be a person of color in philosophy. You needn’t be a person of color to send a story. Please anonymise your story as far as possible, especially if it is negative. (The editors may edit further for the sake of anonymity.)
Upcoming training for the site visit program October 18, 2014
The training for the site visit program will provide you with important information on assessing departmental climate, including legal issue. Do consider signing up!
A second Site Visit Training Workshop will be held May 31, 2015 immediately following the Diversity in Philosophy Conference to be held at Villanova University, May 28-30, 2015. To apply to participate in this workshop, please email Peggy DesAutels (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a paragraph describing your interest in being trained as a site visitor and an attached CV. Spaces in the workshop are limited.
Information about the training and the program is available here. Note the comment from the University of Miami.
The APA Newsletter on Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies has a new issue out. Considering it must have gone to press some time ago, it may seem amazing that the topics are so up-to-the-minute. However, more realistically, it illustrates that urgent current topics are also long-standing ones.
Here are some of the highlights:
Carole Lee’s article has tables calculating the relative representation of different demographic groups in philosophy and religious studies majors and humanities phd’s in the U.S. It also discusses the possibility of a gender/race/ethnicity hierarchy in philosophy (in section 2), with Asian Americans being a “model minority.”
Samantha Brennan’s article talks about micro-inequities and Asian Americans.
Molly Paxton’s article distinguishes between structural and intellectual diversity in academic and the implications of this difference for instituting change.