Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

The New Yorker profiles philosopher and letter writer Felicia Nimue Ackerman April 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 4:08 pm

“Felicia Nimue Ackerman—“Felicia Nimue is a double first name like Mary Jane, and I’m called the whole thing”—is a short-story writer and a philosophy professor at Brown, and she excels at crafting arguments concisely. Since 1987, the Times has printed more than two hundred of her letters, which is either a record or close to one. Tom Feyer, the letters editor, doesn’t keep count, but he named Ackerman as a top contender for first place. “Some days she sends several letters, each in response to a different article,” he said. “Although I don’t know her personally, I have a good sense of how she thinks.” In 2006, IvyGate, a gossip blog covering the Ivy League, published a post under the headline “New N.Y. Times Policy Requires All Letters to Be From Single Brown Professor.” The following year, Gawker wrote a post about one of Ackerman’s letters (“Ivy Professor: Sundaes Are Yummy!,” and a commenter wrote, “I used to edit the letters column for one of the pull-out sections in the Times, and we had a rule against running too many Felicia Ackermans…. One woman wrote us one time asking if her chances of having her letter published would be significantly improved if she signed her letter Felicia Ackerman.””


Read the rest here.


CFP: Phenomenology Roundtable

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 3:56 pm

CFP: Phenomenology Roundtable
June 12-14 at Canisius College, Buffalo NY

Featuring Invited Presenter:
Dr. Jackie Martinez (Arizona State)

The Phenomenology Roundtable is a cooperative, supportive and critical environment for scholars whose work is inspired by the classical phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. We welcome works-in-progress at any stage of development. We welcome and encourage work in phenomenology that engages feminist theory, queer theory, ethical and political philosophy and philosophy of race and racism.

Email organizers about your intent to present by April 15th
Notification of Acceptance: April 30th
Works-in-Progress Due to conference participants: May 30th

For more information, email coordinators:

Melissa Mosko (moskom at canisius.edu)

David Leichter (djleichter24 at marianuniversity.edu)


A small tale of helping

Filed under: women in philosophy — Jender @ 9:37 am

Go read about a way to help women in philosophy, over at What We’re Doing.


Banning art April 9, 2014

Filed under: women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 7:05 pm

Banning art on textbook covers, that is.  Would you refuse to have a picture on a book on social or political grounds? let’s suppose it really does count as art, is not outre, and in fact has a very traditional and even beloved subject matter?

What about this one?



what do you think?


Thanks, jc


This will make you feel better April 8, 2014

Filed under: human rights — annejjacobson @ 2:58 pm



CFP: Feminist Philosophy of Science

Filed under: CFP — philodaria @ 2:46 am

CFP: ‘Feminist Philosophy of Science,’ Ghent, 24-25 November, 2014

The Department of Philosophy & Moral Sciences, Ghent University welcomes abstracts for an international workshop on Feminist Philosophy of Science.

Invited keynote speaker is:

• Stéphanie Ruphy (Université Pierre Mendès France, Grenoble)

We welcome paper proposals on a variety of topics related to the conference theme, including (but not limited to) contributions to: feminist philosophy of science, feminist science(s), the role of science(s) in feminism(s), the status of feminist philosophy of science in philosophy of science (and philosophy more broadly), the history of feminist philosophy of science, etc.

Scientific committee: Leen de Vreese (Ghent), Aurélie Van De Peer (Ghent), and Merel Lefevere (Ghent).

Local Organizing committee: Leen de Vreese (Ghent), Aurélie Van De Peer (Ghent), Merel Lefevere (Ghent), and Eric Schliesser (Ghent).

Please send abstracts (maximum 500 words) prepared for blind review to Eric Schliesser, nescio2 [at] yahoo.com,  by July 1, 2014. Please include identifying information in separate page or accompanying email.


Whiteness of academia, and celebration of eugenicist April 7, 2014

Filed under: academia,race — Jender @ 9:51 am

Gosh, could there be a connection?

William Ackah, lecturer in community and voluntary sector studies at Birkbeck, University of London, told the event, which was chaired by UCL provost and president Michael Arthur, that outdated Victorian views on the “wild and untamed” nature of “the Negro” still persisted at some level in UK universities.

“This [idea] that black life is…anti-intellectual still echoes down the corridors of time,” Dr Ackah said on 10 March.

“Society has grown comfortable with black people in sport or music, [but] it has a problem with black people leading in public life and academia, even if…we are more than capable of doing so,” he added.

The situation contrasts with US universities, where the existence of black studies courses had created a space for black academics to gain a foothold in academic life, Dr Ackah explained.

And also…

Amid many comments from a mainly black audience of students and academics, UCL itself was also criticised for its uncritical praise of one of its benefactors, the Victorian polymath Francis Galton, known as the “father of eugenics”.

One student raised the issue of UCL’s Galton Lecture Theatre – Galton also endowed a professorial chair in eugenics, now genetics, at UCL – in light of the scientist’s controversial opinions on the “inferior Negro race”, whom he hoped to be supplanted in Africa by the “industrious, order-loving Chinese”.

“Why do we celebrate someone like Francis Galton who hated us [ie, black people]?” the student asked.

Thanks, N!


On the Absence of Black British Academics

Filed under: academia,race — Jender @ 9:43 am


It is a shocking statistic that there were just 85 black professors in UK universities in 2011-12. In stark terms, this means that there are more higher education institutions than there are black British, African and Caribbean professors actually teaching in them. The latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency put the number of UK academic staff from a known ethnic minority at 12.8%.

In contrast, black and minority ethnic students are well represented. In some institutions, such as City University, they make up nearly 50% of the student population. Yet even in these universities black academics are a rarity, particularly those in senior positions.

It is hard to think of an arena of UK public life where the people are so poorly represented and served on the basis of their race. Yet this scandalous state of affairs generates little by way of investigation, censure or legal scrutiny under the 2010 Equality Act.

Thanks, N!


Ruth Chang on sexual harassment in philosophy April 6, 2014

Filed under: sexual harassment — jennysaul @ 5:55 am

Wise words, from her interview here.

3:AM: Now turning to something completely different. What is your take on the spate of sexual harassment scandals that have rocked the profession recently? What, in your opinion, can be done to help make the profession less susceptible to bad behavior by male senior philosophers pursing relationships with female philosophy students?

RC: Well, I can’t believe that philosophers are worse than other academics, or people in general, although the distinctive, intense one-on-one discussions that mark training in philosophy probably makes our profession especially vulnerable to sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, misread signals and the like.

The two most prevalent ‘unsympathetic’ reactions to all the press about sexual harassment or sexually inappropriate behavior I’ve had – all from senior male philosophers, some of some fame – are both of apiece with what we do as philosophers and therefore not altogether surprising. But I find them pretty dispiriting.

The first is that we all have to remain neutral, that we can’t express even conditional moral disapprobation or sympathy for a party until we ourselves have the proof in hand and we can make our own judgment about the matter. Allied with this reaction is the intellectual reflex to think of all the counterarguments to any allegation or counter-interpretations to data with which we are presented. We are trained to be this way – to see the world in terms of arguments for and against a proposition, and to withhold judgment until all the arguments and data are in. This reaction is usually cloaked under cries of ‘due process!’.

Now I’m a lawyer, and I love due process probably more than most philosophers, but I really think that these attitudes and reactions are misplaced. The real world is one in which none of us is ever going to get all the evidence and data needed to make the kind of well-informed, dispassionate judgment about a case, and — crucially – people who tend to be on the receiving end of harm require the profession’s support rather than silence. So I think each of us has to make our own judgment, on the basis of whatever data we can be reasonably expected to get, including our understanding of how things typically roll in the world, and take a moral stand on cases of alleged sexual misconduct in the profession. It’s not that we have to blog about it or call up the victim, whomever we might believe him/her to be, but even casual remarks to colleagues in a department go a long way toward establishing a departmental culture or professional community where, eventually, people in that community have the sense: ‘We are a place that cares about the harm sexual harassment does to junior people in the profession and will take that junior person seriously’ or, to take just one possible alternative, ‘We are a place that cares more about the possible injustice done to an alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment and will stand behind such a person until he is proven guilty’. Context really matters here. Given that sexual harassment is a very real and serious problem in the world, I would much rather be in the former culture than the latter. Of course, we can be wrong about any particular judgments we make. But that wouldn’t be the end of the world since most of us aren’t saddled with decision-making authority over the relevant parties. It’s time to stop pretending that we are university disciplinary committees and quit creating a passive ‘due process’ professional culture. Failure to build a welcoming, safe, and caring culture for the profession – one that reflects the realities of how the world usually rolls and thus errs on the side of supporting the alleged victim of sexual harassment – is, in my view, crucial to the health of the profession.

The second reaction I’ve had from senior male philosophers is that women undergraduates have all the power: with one little complaint they can ruin the career and reputation of a senior male philosopher who is guilty of nothing more than expressing romantic interest in her, and so the wisest thing a male philosopher can do is to steer clear of mentoring or working with any female student. The idea here is that if a senior male philosopher hasn’t got the judgment to know when his behavior is inappropriate, unwelcome, and the like, he’ll just punish all female students by taking his ball home and refusing to play with the girls. Louise Antony, in a NYT Opinionator piece, does a good job of skewering this view. I would add just one small point. At institutions where dating students is not prohibited, any senior person – graduate student or faculty member – obviously has the burden to make sure he’s not unwittingly exploiting the power imbalance between himself and a female student when he begins to pursue a romantic relationship with her. One way to check whether he’s doing that is for him to ask of every communication he has with the student, ‘Is this something I wouldn’t mind having videotaped/copied and shown to the university’s committee on sexual harassment?’ That might help pierce some self-deception.

I suppose that a silver lining in all the bad press philosophy has been receiving is that, like STEM researchers, philosophers might now be motivated to use the tools of their trade to figure out ways to make sexual harassment just unequivocally not okay within the profession. After the Larry Summers blowup, people in the STEM fields rolled up their sleeves and starting tackling the possibly related problem of the underrepresentation of women in those fields in the way they knew how – by collecting data, doing studies, and offering hypotheses based on rigorous analysis of that data. We philosophers are handicapped by not having the skills or resources — they have NSF funding — to collect data or to run proper studies about sexual harassment ourselves, but we can always try to do the same thing — to effect a shift in the culture of the profession — from our armchairs. I think that is already happening. But some people don’t like it and are being dragged along, kicking and screaming. So it’s a slow and painful process.


Daily Mail Really Unable to Cope April 5, 2014

Filed under: bias,race,science — Jender @ 5:25 am

with scientists who are women of colour. (I know: you’re shocked.)

UPDATE: There’s now a petition, created by the UCL branch of the UCU.

A piece in the Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle column on Wednesday used their appearance on BBC’s Newsnight on Monday to comment on the possibility of a new era in understanding the origins of the universe to have a dig at the programme’s “Guardian-trained editor, Ian Katz”, who, it said, “is keen on diversity”.

The item added: “So, two women were invited to comment on the report about (white, male) American scientists who’ve detected the origins of the universe – giggling Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Sri Lanka-born astronomer Hiranya Peiris.”

For more, go here.



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