Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Anti-harassment policy at various scientific/technical conferences June 24, 2015

Filed under: academia,sexual harassment,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 5:29 pm

I’ve seen this policy announcement at a conference of an association for computer memory and at one for the vision science society. The second adapted the first’s. It ends with strong wording:

Anti-Harassment Policy
The open exchange of ideas and the freedom of thought and expression are central to ACM’s aims and goals. These require an environment that recognizes the inherent worth of every person and group, that fosters dignity, understanding, and mutual respect, and that embraces diversity. For these reasons, ACM is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for participants at our events and in our programs.

Harassment is unwelcome or hostile behavior, including speech that intimidates, creates discomfort, or interferes with a person’s participation or opportunity for participation, in a conference, event or program. Harassment in any form, including but not limited to harassment based on alienage or citizenship, age, color, creed, disability, marital status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth- and pregnancy-related medical conditions, race, religion, sex, gender, veteran status, or any other status protected by laws in which the conference or program is being held, will not be tolerated.

Harassment includes the use of abusive or degrading language, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. A response that the participant was “just joking,” or “teasing,” or being “playful,” will not be accepted.

Individuals violating these standards may be sanctioned or excluded from further participation at the discretion of the organizers or responsible committee.

It is the last sentence that may be especially interesting to philosophers who were concerned about the APA’s reference to legal liability.** We probably should remind ourselves that actions do not necessarily follow words. For example, it may be that a complaint has to meet a very high standard of proof before any sanctioning occurs.

**(That is in fact a concern I share since I have seen how easily one can end up with costs over $100,000, and in fact for that reason declined to pursue fully my own interests in a case I initiated.)

 

Sunday’s Dateline: UPDATE June 21, 2015

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.

 

Anyone working on epistemologies of ignorance? June 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 8:07 pm

Lots to work with lately.  Just in the last 24 hours, we’ve got the Wall Street Journal claiming the Charleston Massacre proves that institutional racism is dead.

And of course Jeb Bush’s remarkable claim not to know whether the shooting was racially motivated– despite the explicit declarations of the gunman.

And the refusal to call it terrorism, accompanied by the demonisation of mental illness.

 

The Charleston Massacre June 18, 2015

Filed under: race,violence — noetika @ 5:55 pm

From Vox:

Wednesday night, a white man walked into a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot nine parishioners. Today, a Confederate flag is flying on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia — as it does every day. While the flags on top of the statehouse itself are flying at half-mast, the Confederate flag (displayed at a Civil War memorial) is flying at full mast.

There’s more historical context regarding the church itself, here. Today, I’ve been remembering the words of Langston Hughes:

The past has been a mint
Of blood and sorrow.
That must not be
True of tomorrow.

 

Should APA Membership Come with Terms and Conditions? June 17, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — womandamus @ 11:48 pm

As most of you know, the APA has recently released a statement on sexual harassment in the profession. It includes a lot to like, but as Eric Schliesser has pointed out, there is also some discussion to be had about the APA’s conclusory statement that certain punitive or ameliorative measures might expose the APA to “excessive legal liability.

I don’t doubt that taking action might open the organization up to liability it would not otherwise face. Of course, lots of things we do every day expose us to legal liability: driving a car, buying a house, operating a business, getting married. We don’t usually consider that liability when we act except to the extent that the legal rules tend to conform to moral rules we already accept (exercising reasonable care in driving a car, say). Organizations or other large actors naturally need to consider liability more explicitly than individuals, so it makes sense that the APA may have consulted with a legal team in exploring its options. I don’t know what kind of liability that consultation may have raised fears about, but my best guess involves tort liability of various sorts.

As a result of the increased exposure of being an organizational actor, most such actors set up explicit terms and conditions on interacting with the organization. Think about all those terms you click “accept” to every day. Those, for the most part, are binding on you whether you read them or not.

Why doesn’t membership in the APA and use of the APA website come conditioned on terms that could limit the APA’s liability while giving it a basis for, e.g., withdrawing membership or denying conference registration?

When a person signs up for APA membership now, they just fill out information and pay the fee, but the membership could easily come on the condition that members agree to any number of things. (The only terms and conditions I could find on the APA website were for listserv rental.) Members could agree, for example, that their membership be contingent on being in good standing with their university/not in violation of any university policy. That kind of policy wouldn’t eliminate liability and enforcing it might raise secondary legal concerns, but as I expressed in my first post, we live in a world shaped and constrained by law. We’re never free from liability, so we have to decide what’s worth doing, who we’re scared of and why, and what kind of changes our system requires.

 

Was the Sunday Cat a public service?

Filed under: Best Sunday Cat — annejjacobson @ 7:06 pm

As many of our readers know, we used to have a Sunday cat video. It started as an attempt to distract people from an argument. It was surprising effective, and it turns out hat that may not have been accidental.

From a report from Indiana University:

Of the participants in the study, about 36 percent described themselves as a “cat person,” while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.

Participants in Myrick’s study reported:

* They were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before.
* They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.
* They often view Internet cats at work or during studying.
* The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.

Cat owners and people with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness, were more likely to watch cat videos. About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out; the rest were ones they happened upon. They were familiar with many so-called “celebrity cats,” such as Nala Cat and Henri, Le Chat Noir.

Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive.

To see past videos, try putting “Sunday Cat” into the search engine.

 

Roundtable discussion on Dolezal includes Linda Alcoff

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 6:22 pm

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/6/17/as_rachel_dolezal_breaks_silence_a

The discussion seems to me VERY improved OVER OTHERS by Alcoff’s getting clearly on the tble what elements are part of the construction of race now in the USA.

 

Dialogues on Disability – Tommy Curry

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 12:38 pm

The latest in Shelley Tremain’s series of interviews is out today. In this installment, she interviews Tommy Curry, who is Associate Professor in Philosophy at Texas A&M University. It’s a fascinating read. I urge you to take a look.

Tommy specializes in Critical Race Theory, Africana Philosophy, Black Sexuality, and Black Manhood Studies. When he’s not producing articles, Tommy plays chess and games with his two daughters. He also coaches tennis, strings tennis racquets, watches the tennis channel, and gives his Facebook friends shot-by-shot analyses of Grand Slam matches. Tommy is interested in disability in part due to his experiences with what gets referred to as Trochlear Dysplasia and Patella Alta and is especially concerned with medical and social responses to pain management for members of working-class racial and ethnic groups.

 

Diversity Reading List: Combating under-representation in Philosophy June 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — axiothea @ 7:59 pm

The Diversity Reading List  is a great new resource for introducing texts by women and non-white authors in philosophy courses. It is still very new so please contribute to help it grow.

The issue of under-representation of women and non-white persons in philosophy is now more widely known, and students are asking explicitly “why is my curriculum white?” Many faculty members are aware that one way to combat this under-representation is to include work from under-represented groups in their syllabi as it directly challenges the stereotype of the white male philosopher. However, locating a good number of suitable texts can be difficult and time consuming, and this is why we have created the Diversity Reading List which enables teachers to quickly locate high-quality texts from under-represented groups that are directly relevant to their teaching. Currently, the list focuses on ethics, but in the near future it will be expanded to all areas of philosophy.

The List exists largely thanks to the involvement and recommendations of all those who care about making philosophy a discipline of equal opportunity. It is a new and evolving resource, and we would welcome recommendations of texts to be included. We also encourage you to share your experiences of using specific texts in teaching by posting comments to particular list entries. Please use our Contribute page for recommendations and all other comments and suggestions.

 

APA letter open letter on sexual harassment

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 3:48 pm

The APA has today issued an important open letter on sexual harassment. If you’ve ever tried to get a large number of people (especially philosophers!) sign up to a shared statement, you’ll know just how difficult a task this is.  This is an enormous step forward.  Here is how the letter begins:

This is an open letter, addressed first and foremost to victims of sexual harassment within the profession of philosophy, and secondly, to all members of the APA.

Some of you have come forward and pressed complaints against your harassers, assuming the burden of embarking on a time-consuming and psychologically draining process. Some of you have reached out to the APA ombudsperson for resources and advice. Some of you have consulted officers at your institutions, and some of you have relied on supportive friends or colleagues. Some of you are silent victims. Many of you have not received adequate support from your colleagues and redress from your institutions. All of you, we assume, have had both your personal and your professional lives deeply affected by your experiences. These effects are likely to endure for years to come.

The damaging experience is not limited to the sexual harassment itself. Some of you have seen your harasser given what does not seem to be a penalty—for example, a paid leave of absence. Others have seen your harasser evade penalties by taking a new job. Some of you have not been believed, had complaints ignored or trivialized, and been treated as though it is you who is the problem. All of you who remain in the discipline of philosophy face the prospect of encountering your harasser in professional philosophical settings whether at your academic institution or at philosophical conferences.

Inside Higher Ed has a very good story on the letter.  Here’s Ruth Chang, in that story, commenting on it:

Ruth Chang, APA ombudsperson for nondiscrimination and a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, said victims often experience a sense of isolation, escalated by “callous and insensitive remarks in the blogosphere that range from implying that the victim is a liar, to victim blaming, to insensitive discussions of a particular case in the terms of some abstract principle,” such as academic freedom or due process. While those principles may be deserving of debate, it shouldn’t be done in the context of particular cases, she said. Doing so — likely without all the facts — “unfairly impugns” the integrity of someone who’s already been seriously aggrieved.

Beyond expressing solidarity with victims, Chang said the board wanted to express a “zero-tolerance” policy toward sexual harassment and encourage members to take an active role in supporting victims and reporting inappropriate behavior.

The letter also potentially puts harassers on watch.

“It’s not OK to kid yourself into thinking that, because you haven’t got into trouble before, what you’re doing is OK,” Chang said. “Times are changing. And if the profession is going to get better, people need to keep up.”

 

 
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