Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Interview with Elizabeth Barnes November 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 12:46 pm

An excellent interview with feminist philosopher Elizabeth Barnes, discussing (among other things) growing up as an evangelical in the Bible Belt; being disabled and discovering Disability Pride; the distinction between ‘core’ and ‘marginal’ pursuits in philosophy; women in philosophy; and work-life balance.  A small sample:


The social dimensions of disability are hard to identify, especially when you are growing up disabled in an environment that has a lot of negative social stigmas about disability. It’s easy for disability to just feel like your own private tragedy. And especially when, like I did, you have a condition that requires ongoing medical care, it’s easy chalk up all the difficulties you are experiencing to the fact that you are ‘sick’ – to blame everything on the biological condition of your body.

What I first encountered in disability studies was the idea that so much of what we struggle with as disabled people is social, not physical or medical. And so much of how we’re taught to think about ourselves as disabled people is determined by the opinions and stereotypes of non-disabled people – opinions and stereotypes which don’t really, when we get together and talk about it, reflect our lived experiences as disabled people. Learning about disability pride and thinking, for the first time, about the social dimensions of disability felt like having my view of the world turned upside down and shaken. It felt like having chains pulled off me that I hadn’t realized I’d been wearing. It felt like being given the ability to articulate feelings that I’d never been able to express before, even to myself. It was a deeply transformative experience that restructured the way I thought about myself, my body, and my place in the world.

When I started learning about disability pride, I finally dealt with the latent, entrenched feelings of shame and inadequacy that I had about my body. I learned, for the first time in my life, how to celebrate the ways that my body is different, rather than try to ‘overcome’ them or be successful ‘in spite of’ them. I can’t even begin to explain how much this improved my life, or the extent to which it was a fundamental change.

Oh, OK, one more small sample:

How do you think we can increase the diversity in philosophy, which is one of the least diverse disciplines?

I wish I knew! I suspect the answer is complicated and involves making concerted efforts along many different dimensions, from how we teach intro to how we handle grad admissions to how we approach hiring and promotion and everywhere in between. The problem is a deep and structural one, and there won’t be a quick or unilateral fix.

But I definitely think that we won’t solve the problem by keeping philosophy basically as it is, and just finding a friendlier, savvier way to market it. I think there are going to have to be changes in what we teach, in what we value, in what we consider ‘core’. I think Anita Allen was right, for example, when she said that it’s up philosophy to prove that it has something to offer Black women, rather than up to black women to prove they can fit into philosophy as it currently is. And I think the same thing goes for so many under-represented groups – people of color, disabled people, LGBT people. I also think that any genuine effort for diversity needs to be intersectional. I mean, I want philosophy to be a better place for women, but we won’t have come all that far if we end up making it a better place only for wealthy white cis non-disabled straight women.

But I’m cautiously optimistic. I think the very fact that we’re having these conversations – that we’re admitting that philosophy’s narrow demographics are something we should be concerned about, and that philosophy as a discipline might be at least partially to blame for them – is a good sign. Step one is admitting you have a problem.


7 Awful Things Told to Cracked by Syria’s War Refugees November 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 10:44 pm

Cracked specialise in listicles – 5 Things I Learned Infiltrating a Paranormal Convention, 5 Weird Ways You Didn’t Realize TV Is Sexist, you know the sort of thing. A recent article is the excellent We Met Syria’s War Refugees: 7 Awful Things They Told Us. It’s from September this year, but readers may not have seen it. It’s well worth a read – and, a weep – but I’ll just quote

#1. People Are Helping (And You Can Too)
Let’s give credit where credit’s due: Plenty of folks in Europe have been unbelievably awesome to the refugees flooding into their countries. German police in Munich actually had to ask people to stop sending in aid donations, because they were too “overwhelmed” to process everything they’d received. Thousands of people in the U.K. have volunteered to host refugees in their homes. But it isn’t enough… And the truth is, most countries don’t open their borders until the citizens raise enough of a stink to overcome the stink being raised by the opposition. While the E.U. floundered for a while at how to deal with the whole mess, they recently passed a sweeping plan that will rehome 150,000-plus new refugees. European members of parliament credited citizens getting super pissed off with shaming the government into doing the right thing.

Read more here.


Refugees in Lesbos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 8:12 pm

Calais is, of course, only one of several places along Europe’s borders where refugees gather. Another is Lesbos, where some people making the dangerous crossing from Turkey in flimsy boats end up. Many don’t make it, and drown at sea. Conditions on Lesbos are appalling. The island cannot cope with the numbers of refugees arriving. A few volunteer organisations try to help as best they can, but provision is woefully inadequate.

“There are thousands of children here and their feet are literally rotting, they can’t keep dry, they have high fevers and they’re standing in the pouring rain for days on end. You have one month guys, and then all these people will be dead”.

Those were the final words of Dr Linda on the phone, a doctor that our volunteer organisations (Help Refugees and CalAid) had asked to fly out to Lesbos in response to an emergency cry for help from an overwhelmed volunteer on the ground…

The situation in Moria [a refugee camp on Lesbos] is utterly catastrophic. I’ve had people holding half dead babies up to me the whole day and we have nowhere to send them. All the NGOs are inside and doctors only rarely come out. Tomorrow will be a disaster, there are no dry clothes for anyone, no shelter, there are children sleeping in bin bags, no food, no blankets, no diapers for babies. No access to drinking water for the people at the back of the line, people will sleep in the wet and cold tonight in the open air, half the people will wake up sick, some will die.

You can read more here.

Want to help? How to Help Refugees has a list of all the organisations working on Lesbos, and information about how to get involved.


Police violence in the Jungle, Calais

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 7:42 pm

European readers of this blog will no doubt know about the unofficial refugee camp at Calais. For those of us based in the UK, it’s the nearest such encampment to our borders. Calais has long been a place where migrants gather – for some, it’s the last point on a perilous journey to their intended destination of the UK. Conditions are, as one might imagine, horrendous. Astonishingly (or perhaps not, given Europe’s general, long-standing reluctance to deal adequately with forced migration), the first report into conditions in the Jungle – the largest migrant shanty town in Calais – was only carried out this year. It makes for an upsetting read. Around 3,000 people – men, women, and children (some of the women are pregnant) – live in ‘diabolical [conditions], with cramped makeshift tents plagued by rats, water sources contaminated by faeces and inhabitants suffering from tuberculosis, scabies and post-traumatic stress disorder… in conditions far below any minimum standards for refugee camps’. There is insufficient food, insufficient drinking water, and a lack of washing facilities. You can read the Guardian write-up here.

In addition, refugees are continually subject to police violence. A friend who has volunteered as a doctor in the Jungle reported that many of the people coming to her had wounds from police dogs that were set upon them. Other friends doing migrant support in the Jungle report that the police use tear gas daily. They are also using rubber bullets and concussion grenades. One such night of police violence occurred on November 9th:

Without the slightest sense of concern for the 60 or 70 families resident in this area of the camp the police’s barrage of tear gas and flash balls scattered over the camp, setting light to a tent, a pile of rubbish, trees, and bushes.

Mothers stood by while the police attacked, shouting in French that there were children in the camp. Groups of families returning from another part of jungle were caught by a plume of tear gas blowing across the area. Many of the protestors on the road used signs to protect themselves but the police continued to attack from several angles.

Late into the night, the police begin patrols to find migrants who had hidden in bushes by the road. At one point at least 20 cops shot tear gas for a full 5 mintues into an area until it was covered in smoke.

As the night continued, the intesnsity of the tear gas increased. The wind spread the cloud of caustic vapour around the entire west side of the camp. This was a clear message from the police, if you protest we will punish all of you. During the night there was also many injuries from tear gas canisters hitting people, causing burns and bleeding.

The injuries from this assault are difficult to quantify, it is easy to count the scores of respiratory problems, skin and eye irritations but the psychological trauma is harder to see. Women, children, and men fleeing conflict are treated to the best of French hospitality, a night of indiscriminate chemical repression exacted on the entire population of the camp.

You can read more here.

This is no way to treat people. Write to your governments. There needs to be a humane, European-wide response to the refugee crisis. We should not tolerate people living in these conditions on our shores.




The Sunday cat herewith approves of robotic cat icons for the very elderly

Filed under: ageing,aging,cats — annejjacobson @ 4:36 pm

Everyone else living wth an indoor cat must just cope with litter box.


h/t to PJ


CFA Embodied Religious Experience November 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacey Goguen @ 3:17 pm

Inviting abstracts for two Embodied Religious Experience workshops! The common purpose of these two workshops is to expand contemporary understandings of religious experience by incorporating perspectives and methods from within

  1. •the philosophy of gender and sexuality
  2. •mystic religious traditions (particularly in the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions)
  3. •social ontology and epistemology.

Each workshop will have a similar structure and theme; in particular, both workshops will explore how social structures (such as religious, sexual, and/or class hierarchies) impact not only who is seen as having ‘genuine’ religious experiences, but also the ways those experiences are expressed or reported (and even their experienced content). While we especially welcome philosophical approaches to these topics, we also encourage perspectives from other disciplines, such as sociology, theology and religious studies, psychology, and anthropology.

Workshop I will be held March 14-16, 2016 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Deadline for abstract submission: December 15, 2015. Decisions will be made by January 15, 2016.

Workshop II will be held August 8-10, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado.

Deadline for abstract submission: March 1, 2016. Decisions will be made by April 1, 2016.

Lodging and meals will be provided at both workshops; we also expect to be able to cover travel expenses for participants.

Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts should be prepared for blind review and approximately 500-750 words. Abstract should also include a separate cover page stating the abstract title, as well as the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and email address. All submissions should be sent to ereligion@princeton.edu. Any questions for the project leaders — Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College) and Robin Dembroff (Princeton University) — should be sent to the same address.

More information about the Embodied Religious Experience project–as well as a list of confirmed participants for each workshop–is available at our project website, www.princeton.edu/~ereligion. (This initiative is funded by The Experience Project, a multi-disciplinary research project supported by the John Templeton Foundation. More information about the larger project can be found here: http://the-experience-project.org.)


CFP: trans* experience in philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 2:27 pm

Call for papers:

Trans* Experience in Philosophy Conference-

May 13-15, 2016, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Extended Submission Deadline: January 10, 2016

This conference aims to explore the intersections between transgender studies and philosophy by bringing philosophical reflections to bear on trans* experience, representation, identity, and politics. We welcome papers that engage a variety of issues or topics, including but not limited to trans* embodiment, ethical concerns specific to trans* persons, the relationship between transgender studies and feminist philosophy, and how classical philosophical frameworks might elucidate aspects of trans* experience. Through these reflections, we also hope to interrogate our understanding and practice of inclusivity in academia. Considering the attention given to the status of women in philosophy in more recent years, we are particularly interested in addressing the practices, content, and implicit biases of philosophy with regard to non-conforming genders and non-cisgender bodies.

Papers engaging with trans* experience and perspectives broadly construed from all philosophical and interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches are welcome. Priority will be given to submissions with an intersectional emphasis and, when relevant, of those directly affected by or self-reflectively allied with the trans* persons.

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher and Dr. C. Riley Snorton

Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to: (more…)


No more feminism at A-Level Politics November 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 5:49 pm

If current plans go ahead.

The section on feminism in a revised version of the course put to consultation by the Department for Education has been removed, along with the topics of sex/gender, gender equality and patriarchy.

To sign a petition, go here.


Women at APA Meetings November 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacey Goguen @ 6:36 pm

Eric Schwitzgebel has a post up at The Splintered Mind about women’s attendance at APA Meetings. 

As expected, the majority of philosophers on the APA main program are men, but the gender ratios are less skewed now than they were a few decades ago. Overall, the proportion of women on the APA main program has increased from about one sixth in 1975 to about one third in 2015.

Merging all three divisions, here is the gender breakdown by year:

1955: 6% women (7/121, excl. 5 indeterminable)
1975: 16% women (62/397, excl. 20)
1995: 25% women (220/896, excl. 38)
2014-2015: 32% women (481/1526, excl. 177 [note 2])


Dialogues on Disability -Nancy Stanlick

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 4:02 pm

It’s that time again! – Shelley’s latest interview as part of her Dialogues on Disability series is now out. This time she interviews Nancy Stanlick, who talks (amongst other things) about ‘invisible’ and ‘unspeakable’ disabilities, based partly on her own experience of having a colostomy.

Nancy is Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. She specializes in ethics, social philosophy, and history of modern and American philosophy. When Nancy isn’t at her job or at home doing job-related things, she plays online video games, works in her yard, reads, and watches old movies. She also enjoys her cats and sleeping in late on Saturdays.

You can read the interview here.

Shelley also suggests having a look at So Bad Ass, which is an excellent collection of thoughts and resources about disability, ileostomy, and body image (plus more!) from UK-based feminist photographer, writer, and speaker, Sam Cleasby.



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