Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Three (!) new articles on Women in Philosophy March 10, 2015

Filed under: women in philosophy — Jender @ 6:15 am

Check them out!

Why Do Female Students Leave Philosophy? The Story from Sydney
Tom Dougherty, Samuel Baron andKristie Miller

The Stereotype Threat Hypothesis: An Assessment from the Philosopher’s Armchair, for the Philosopher’s Classroom
Gina Schouten

Precluded Interests
Cheshire Calhoun

 

Good for Duke and Project vox March 9, 2015

Filed under: bias,gender,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 9:53 pm

Project Vox seeks to recover the lost voices of women who have been ignored in standard narratives of the history of modern philosophy. We aim to change those narratives, thereby changing what students around the world learn about philosophy’s history.

from Projectvox.library.duke.edu

H/T Charlotte Witt on Facebook.

 

The Monist: An Issue on Women’s Contributions to Philosophy March 6, 2015

Filed under: women in academia,women in philosophy — noetika @ 4:52 pm

The table of contents is here, and the following is from the introduction:

The editors are convinced that work on the history of women philosophers is integral to the development of philosophy as a discipline. As women have become better represented in the academy, they have turned to issues of relevance to women. But philosophy has lagged behind other humanities disciplines in appointing women. There is disagreement over the reasons for this, but it is arguable that philosophy’s own self-image continues to be tainted by a conception of objectivity that universalises men’s perspectives. Forty years ago, when feminists first fought to include feminist theory as an area of teaching and research within philosophy, feminism was opposed as not ‘objective.’ In reaction to this, works such as Lloyd’s The Man of Reason and the papers in Harding and Hintikka’s Discovering Reality, among many others, challenged simplistic notions of ‘objective reason’. The results were, however, not entirely positive for the inclusion of women within philosophy, but encouraged the abandonment of philosophy in favour of literature, or women’s studies, where methods were apparently less ‘masculine.’

The very fact that a journal like The Monist is now publishing an issue on the history of women’s contributions to philosophy is evidence that much has changed in the past forty years. As Waithe, Hutton, and Hagengruber demonstrate in their contributions, a growing number of women are now recognised as having engaged with philosophical problems in the past, some have left works which have been the object of contemporary scholarship, and some of these have been re-edited in contemporary editions. All this should facilitate the ongoing integration of their works into the canon. Moreover, work on historical women philosophers has important implications for our understanding of the history of our culture, what counts, or should count, as philosophy, the shape that the canon ought to take, and the criteria for truth and reason in a nonsexist society. Jonathan Rée concluded his early discussion, “Women Philosophers and the Canon,” with the comment that integrating women philosophers into the history of philosophy would “require a reconfiguration of philosophical inquiry itself and a systematic reworking of its relations to its future and its past.” We agree.

The papers we present here manifest some of the differing approaches that might be taken to the history of women’s contribution to philosophy.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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:

 

“Angry white men” A challenge

The challenge: Discuss the following civilly. Most readers will not really find it at all difficult to meet the challenge. I hope all can do it.

Some of our readers may have noticed that a number of recent venues, purporting to provide opportunities to discuss the philosophy profession, end up containing expressions of anger, even rage, that is unusual compared to the sort of academic discourse most of us are used to. And a very favorite topic centers on “the” feminists, and their supposed quest for world professional domination.

Angry White Men by a distinguished sociologist, Michael Kimmel, offers an explanation for the kind of the anger we see. Since anonymous comments on blogs may express anger and rage in all sorts of context, we might think his explanation is just partial. But we can still consider whether his account offers a good explanation of an anger that in fact targets women in the philosophy profession. With few exceptions, we would seem to most people, I think, as fairly tame game. But in some contexts we (or at least those on this blog) have recently been called ‘moral monsters’ quite a few times.  Kimmel offers the following as the background. It is precisely the loss of this high privilege that he take to be fueling the anger:

Yet the truth is that white men are the beneficiaries of the single greatest affirmative action program in world history. It’s called “world history.” White men so stacked the deck that everyone else was pretty much excluded from playing at all. When those others did begin to play, the field was so uneven that white men got a massive head start, and everyone else had to play with enormous handicaps. Maybe actually having to play evenly matched, on a level playing field, is too frightening for a gender that stakes its entire identity on making sure it wins every time.

He then looks at what is happening as we are reaching the end of patriarchy:

Angry White Men tells the story of the other side of the American Dream: the futility, the dashed hopes, the despair, and the rage. It tells the story of the rich and famous wannabes, the ones who thought they could invent themselves, reinvent themselves, be even more successful than their fathers. It tells the story of how white American men came to believe that power and authority were what they were entitled to, by birth, and how that birthright is now eroding. Economic and social changes that are bewilderingly fast and dramatic are experienced as the general “wimpification” of American men— castrated by taxation, crowded out by newcomers who have rules bent for them, white men in America often feel like they are presiding over the destruction of their species.

Discuss, please!

 

What can philosophy learn from the climate in economics? January 7, 2015

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 6:06 pm

The journal Quartz recently published the article, “How big is the sexism problem in economics? This article’s co-author is anonymous because of it”.

The article starts off noting:

The Economist’s recent list of the 25 most influential economists did not include a single woman. Many male former central bankers and regional Federal Reserve Bank governors were included on the list, but the Economist gave itself a special rule to exclude active central bankers, which meant that Janet Yellen—arguably the world’s most influential economist—didn’t make the list.

Much of what the article catalogues will be very familiar to women philosophers, and to some other philosophers from underrepresented groups: Seeming constant microagressions and macro ones too. Lower pay, power imbalances, the impermissibility of assertive (=bitchy) behavior for women, having a family, a harder time getting outside offers, and so on.

The article raises another issue which is starting to receive a lot of attention in philosophy: the diversity of methods and content:

One final step that would make economics less forbidding for women is for each economist to become open to a wider range of scientific approaches and topics. Statistically, men and women are not drawn to the same fields within economics. And even within a field, women are drawn to a different balance between immediate real-world relevance and theoretical elegance. It is natural for each economist (and for each academic in general) to construct a narrative for why his or her approach to economics is the best. But since men in senior ranks in economics are more numerous than women, the narratives that men construct for why their individual approaches to economics are better usually win out in hiring and promotion decisions over the narratives that women construct for why their individual approaches are better.

Gosh, sounds like what a lot of us call home.

h/t justin weinberg

 

Mellon Foundation Grant to the APA for diversity initiatives! January 6, 2015

Fantastic news!

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.

 

 
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