Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Philosophy, Depression, and Mental Health at Daily Nous February 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacey Goguen @ 1:54 pm
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Over at Daily Nous you can read Peter Railton’s C-APA Dewey lecture, as well as join in an open thread on philosophy and depression. DN also links to an earlier post from PhDisabled on the same topic.

From PhDisabled:

“We are not beyond a society that sees mental illness as a stain within one’s soul, some present-age demons who continue to torment mortals. Mental illness still stands as something to be ashamed of because we want to believe in karma or something similar. We want to believe that the ills that we suffer are somehow dependent upon something we deserve.

“Those of us who are more scientifically inclined want to believe that we can redeem and fix mental illness, as if it were machinery. If we could only figure out the brain, then we believe that we could “normalize” it, or better, “cure” it.”

“I think it should be the job for philosophy to demand that society’s discourse regarding mental health gets less awful. Good philosophy should offer alternatives for social problems, or at the very least scold the often careless ideologies that cause social problems.

“But first, academic philosophy itself needs to turn its gaze to depression and how it is treated within its own ranks. We treat it with silence. No one finds it polite to speak on it, unless talking about the personal lives of the dead or as a dry systematic theory. We philosophers prefer to hold depression at arm’s length, even though it often lives so close within our chests as a tightening knot limiting our actions.”

 

Responding to gender-based violence (online and elsewhere) January 21, 2015

Many readers will recall that recently, John McAdams, a Marquette political science professor, drummed up a spurious reason to make a politically-motivated public attack on Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student of philosophy (our previous posts here and here; Daily Nous coverage here and here. Marquette is taking action against McAdams; its outcome is thus far unclear).

As a result of his actions, Abbate received hateful, misogynistic abuse, disturbing in both content and quantity, in a number of forms and forums. She has now written a blog post detailing the extent of this abuse, exploring her experiences on the receiving end, reflecting on how one should respond to it, and making it quite clear that McAdams bears responsibility for inciting it.

(For those clicking through, I reproduce Abbate’s trigger warning: “This post includes a number of reprinted misogynist and homophobic comments”. She’s not wrong).

Abbate says that she was mostly advised to ignore the abuse, but chose to expose it and draw attention to it, for a number of reasons. This was a brave decision. Abbate says the most important reason she has for speaking out is that, if we aren’t aware that such horrible abuse takes place, we can’t begin to do anything about it. This seems quite right to me. I’m unlikely to receive any misogynistic email myself, and I find it reprehensibly easy and tempting to bury my head in the sand about such things. I really shouldn’t. If someone writes about their experiences with such courage, to read and think about it is the very least I can do.

 

Resources for more inclusive philosophy classrooms January 7, 2015

Filed under: academia,teaching — cornsay @ 7:35 pm
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An excellent new site, Best Practices for the Inclusive Philosophy Classroom, offers a host of resources for philosophy teachers who want to make their classes more inclusive and mitigate the effects of biases. The site includes suggestions for syllabi and readings, advice on grading methods, ways to manage discussion and participation, and links to empirical research underpinning all this. The authors are associated with Minorities And Philosophy (MAP), a  graduate student-led organisation that exists to “address issues of minority participation in academic philosophy”. They welcome contributions of additional resources, suggestions, and so on for the best practice website — drop them a line if you know a good one not yet included.

 

CFA: Casualization in Academic Philosophy: SWIP UK Panel at the Hypatia 2015 Conference: Exploring Collaborative Contestations (28-30 May, Villanova University, Pennsylvania) December 5, 2014

Filed under: CFP — kaitijai @ 3:25 pm
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There is at least anecdotal evidence that casualization—increased use of adjuncts, part-time and temporary academic faculty—disproportionately disadvantages members of underrepresented groups (women, working class academics, disabled academics). For example women, on average, are more likely to have carer responsibilities during their careers, and are on average more likely to be the more junior members of their marriages/partnership, career- and earnings-wise; and because of this are often less mobile and less able to take up insecure temporary employment than their male counterparts.

We would like to explore the implications of this for academic philosophy. Should we conceptualise casualization as an equality issue, or is casualization’s disproportionate affect on women and other underrepresented groups better understood as simply a knock-on effect of wider social inequality? Can we justify the hiring of adjuncts and temporary teaching cover even in the face of inequality concerns? What could departments do to counteract the exclusionary effects of casualization? What structural aims should we have, in the academy, in order to foster equality ‘from the inside’? What would structurally-inclusive academic hiring practices look like, optimally or in the ideal?

We invite 300-word abstract submissions for our panel on casualization in academic philosophy at the Hypatia 2015 Conference: Exploring Collaborative Contestations (28-30 May, Villanova University, Pennsylvania). Presenters might draw insight from areas such as Political Philosophy, Legal Theory, Ethics, and practical experience. We welcome both theoretical and practical approaches to the issue, and encourage both junior and senior members of the profession to submit.

Please email your abstract, prepared for anonymous review, in .pdf, .doc or .docx  format, to Lindsey Porter at l.porter@sheffield.ac.uk  by 15 January, 2015. Please include biographical information (affiliation, past or present, etc) in the body of the email. We intend to arrange at least partial funding for travel & accommodation to those in need of such funding.

 

‘Philosophy Grad Student Target of Political Smear Campaign’ November 18, 2014

Daily Nous has the story.

A philosophy graduate student and instructor at Marquette University [Cheryl Abbate] is the target of a political attack initiated by one of her students, facilitated by a Marquette political science professor, and promulgated by certain advocacy organizations.

The full story is quite disturbing, and Justin has screen shots of some incredibly offensive (and misogynistic) comments that have been directed towards Abbate as a result.

Justin has also added this update to the story: “Those interested in encouraging Marquette University to support Abbate may wish to write polite messages of support to the dean of the university’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Richard C. Holz, at richard.holz@marquette.edu, or the interim provost of the university, Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan, at margaret.callahan@marquette.edu.”

 

Sexism at Science Journal Nature November 27, 2012

A pretty striking statement about the underrepresentation of women from the Editors at Nature. A cause for cautious optimism? Might have been nice if they’d said more about what those ‘unconscious factors’ are, but the resulting heuristic is still a promising one:

We believe that in commissioning articles or in thinking about who is doing interesting or relevant work, for all of the social factors already mentioned, and possibly for psychological reasons too, men most readily come to editorial minds. The September paper speculated about an unconscious assumption that women are less competent than men. A moment’s reflection about past and present female colleagues should lead most researchers to correct any such assumption.

We therefore believe that there is a need for every editor to work through a conscious loop before proceeding with commissioning: to ask themselves, “Who are the five women I could ask?”

Thanks JI!

 

The Feminist Religion August 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cornsay @ 9:09 pm
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An attorney named Roy Den Hollander has caused a stir recently by filing a suit against Columbia University, alleging that by offering courses in women’s studies, the university discriminates against men (NYT report here). Den Hollander describes himself as an anti-feminist, and has tastefully declared himself to be on a “jihad” against feminists. You can read more about his colourful background and campaign here and here.

There’s not much point in wasting time on the substance of his suit, but I was rather taken with his accusation that Columbia uses government money to promote a “religionist belief system called feminism.” I suppose it’s probably just hyperbole; he can’t possibly think that feminism actually is a religion. But it did make me think of the advantages that might accrue if it were established as such. In the UK, we could look forward to charitable status for all feminist organisations; a regular slot on Thought for the Day; and, most excitingly, the chance to run feminist faith schools. Maybe, one day, we could even cement our status as a mature religion with internecine wrangling and eventual schism over the ordination of male clergy. Any suggestions for an appropriate deity?

 

Do female academics have fewer kids? July 9, 2008

Filed under: maternity,paternity — Jender @ 8:59 am
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This study (of anthropologists) suggests that they do– as compared to women in other professions with similar training times. Many interesting puzzles to be found in the data, but I’ll never get this book written if I get started on them here! (Thanks, Sally!)

 

 
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