Budget cuts hit broad swath of Cal State — latimes.com

Budget cuts hit broad swath of Cal State — latimes.com

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Scroll down in the article and you will see that among the departments mentioned for possible cuts at Cal Poly Pomona is philosophy. Something to think about.

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This fall the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy contains my article, Women in the Profession: The Persistance of Absence. One of the main themes of the article is that philosophers need to recognize that the absence of women in the profession is a danger to the profession as a whole. I focus specifically on the absence of women at the undergraduate level as providing one of the most disturbing signs for the profession. In this I am following the lead of the work that Evelyn Brister has done on this topic and blogged about at Knowledge and Experience. She has a number of excellent and thoughtful posts on women in philosophy and so I haven’t linked a specific post.

Today I find another article which I think supports the idea that we ought to be worried about philosophy seemingly not having a larger appeal. Though the report is about British universities, we should certainly take notice. Thanks to Jacob Hale for his Facebook news feed link to “Being philosophical may be limited to ‘leisured’ classes”.

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Feminism, Science, and Values
June 25-28, 2010
The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

In June 2010, the International Association of Women Philosophers
(http://www.iaph-philo.org/ ) will be meeting at The University of
Western Ontario. This will be the organization’s first meeting in
Canada and only its second meeting in North America. Co-hosted by the
Rotman Institute for Science and Values and the Department of
Philosophy, the conference is scheduled to take place just before the
international conference on science and values organized by the Rotman

The members of the conference organizing committee are: Gillian Barker,
Ariella Binik, Samantha Brennan, Helen Fielding, Katy Fulfer-Smith,
Elisa Hurley, Tracy Isaacs, Carolyn McLeod, Karen Nielsen, Kathleen
Okruhlik, and Angelique Petropanagos.

The organizing committee invites papers from all areas in philosophy,
though we especially welcome papers related to the theme of the
conference, Feminism, Science, and Values. We also welcome papers from
graduate students. Abstracts should be submitted in English, French, or
Spanish. Spanish abstracts will be refereed by the IAPH executive
instead of the conference program committee.

There are many possible topics, the following being just a small sample:

  • Questions about the content of science; the evaluation of hypotheses;the uses of science; the idea of “value-free science”; the regulation and control of science; the funding of science; science as oppressor of the disadvantaged; science as a liberator of the disadvantaged; science for the people; science and democracy; the “collapse” of the is/ought distinction; the relationship between ethical and epistemic norms; the role of ethics in deciding what sorts of science to pursue; the role of science in the resolution of ethical questions.
  • Questions about concepts of sex/gender, race, intelligence,sexuality, sociobiology, health and disease, normalcy, etc., possibly discussed via specific examples and case studies.
  • Feminist work on questions in value theory, in either the field of ethics or aesthetics
  • Historical studies of the relationship between science and feminist thought.
  • Discussions of philosophy’s role in supporting modes of thought that perpetuate bad practices and discussions of philosophy’s emancipatory potential for women and others.

Submissions of long abstracts (750-1000 words) are invited (for
eventual presentation of papers that are no more than 3000 words and 20
minutes maximum reading time). We also welcome proposals for panel
presentations. For panel proposals, please send a title, a one
paragraph description of the panel, names and contact
information for all participants, and abstracts for each of the papers on the panel.

Please email all materials as double-spaced Word or RTF attachments,
prepared for anonymous review, which requires that you remove all
identifying-author tags from your document content and file properties.
Send the e-mail to iaph2010@uwo.ca and include within it (not the
abstract) your full contact information.

More information will be available about the conference on our website,
http:www.uwo.ca/iaph2010 (coming soon).

*Deadline: Midnight Eastern time August 15, 2009.*

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Warning! This post has very little (perhaps nothing) to do with philosophy.

The summer of 1969 was my summer between high school and college. I had been accepted to the American Dance Festival program at Connecticut College for Women in New London. My mother had purchased a new car and so I was loaned her 1965 Corvair convertible for the summer – pale yellow with a black ragtop – perfect for a young woman who fancied herself independent – a free spirit as so many of us did in 1969.
The American Dance Festival was fantastic and New London was far enough from home that I felt on my own. Twyla Tharp and Yvonne Rainer were in residence for the first half of the summer followed by members of the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey Companies for the second half. Tharp had been commissioned to do a large-scale work that was to be performed across the broad lawns of the college (Medley). Rainer was also doing a large-scale work – Chair Pillow, which was part of a project called Continuous Project – Altered Daily. I was in the group learning Chair Pillow and at the time was disappointed because dancing with Tharp seemed more challenging. Rainer was explicit that she wanted both professional dancers and non-dancers in her piece. You can see a performance of the piece below, though the version that I remember is more like the one found here.


Though there were so many things that happened that summer, the one with historical links that I remember most clearly is the moonwalk. I frequently went home on the weekends because there were no classes and I felt lonely in the dorm. I felt lonely at home also but it was a more familiar loneliness and I supposed that is why I opted to go home. I had intended to stay in New London that weekend but that afternoon the lunar module (the Eagle) landed on the moon. It wasn’t till that evening when it was already dark and the timing of the moonwalk looked like it would be late that night that I realized that I wanted to get home to watch the moonwalk on television. It was an hour and a half drive, down the New England Thruway and then through the countryside – dark winding roads – to my family’s home. I threw some things together, hoped I had enough gas, and hit the road. I had very little money that summer – a small allowance that I was to use for occasional food off campus and for gas. Meals were provided, but I remember that I was often scrounging up coins from the bottom of my purse or somewhere in the car so that I could buy ice cream, gas, or pay the tolls in Branford when I drove home on the weekend. That night I think I had about a quarter in my wallet, not enough for the toll and certainly not for gas. This was before credit cards. I was following the moon landing on the radio, not sure that I would make it in time and staring at the fuel gauge willing it to stay around a quarter of a tank. I ran the toll using a technique that had worked before. I followed really closely behind the car in front of mine so that I wouldn’t ring the warning bell which signaled that a car hadn’t paid. There were no barriers that came down between cars in those days.

I made it. No one was home and I don’t remember why. It was quite unusual for my parents to be out at all, let alone out late. It was just me and the television and no one to whom to say, “Can you believe it?”

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Getting it right: Colbert, neutrality, and Sonia Sotomayor

This is brilliant. Thanks to Sharyn Clough for sharing it on her Facebook page or I wouldn’t have seen it since I tend not to watch very much TV. Perhaps this is an oversight on my part. Watch it and think about where we actually see “relativism run amuck”! It’s interesting how one might unwittingly be promoting the very thing one seems to be decrying.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Neutral Man’s Burden
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Jeff Goldblum
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AAP – Women in Philosophy

Why is it that the Australian Association of Philosophy (AAP) has prepared a report, “Improving the Participation of Women in the Philosophy Profession”, and there is no comparable report from the APA? All I can say is that it makes me very sad that this is something that Australian Philosophers – and not just women philosophers, by the way – thought was worth spending energy and time on. In the U.S., the Committee on the Status of Women continues to try to call the issue to the attention of the APA, seemingly with little effect.

The report is available here and I found it through a post at Feminist Philosophers.

Reading the executive summary of the report I have noticed several things that suggest further lines of inquiry for those of us interested in this issue in the U.S. First, the executive summary indicates that women are disproportionately represented in part-time, non-secure, and casual teaching positions in Australian. This is something that I have suspected is true in the states as well I do not have the data to back it up. The study notes that there effects of women being in these positions which keep them from other positions. The lack of security impacts the ability to do research as does the heavy teaching load associated with such positions, for example. Second, women now appear to be hired proportionately to their numbers, though they continue to be under-represented in the academy (23% to our 21% – so the proportion is roughly similar). The very preliminary work that Miriam Solomon and John Clarke have done on this issue would seem to conform to the Australian finding. Third, Australia seems to have data on female participation in philosophy classes at the undergraduate level which shows that while 55% of undergraduate philosophy students are female it falls each year till 4th year female participation is 47%. (First year doctorate research is 39%, by the way.) The numbers that I was able to find are philosophy female baccalaureate degrees – 30.8% in 2008. While it is not clear that these are figures that it is appropriate to compare it would seem that are starting out behind Australia in the number of women that are studying philosophy to begin with! I would be curious to explore this further.

I have yet to dig into this report more completely and other projects will probably prevent me from doing so right now. The current and forthcoming issues of the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Feminism have articles on these issues – analysis in the current issue and suggestions for strategies forthcoming in the fall. While I think it is great that the Committee on the Status of Women continues to support these inquiries, why is it that it appears that only women in the profession seem to think this is an issue? Surely it is a concern for the profession as a whole, as our Australian counterparts have clearly seen!

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Society for Analytical Feminism
Feminist Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition


SAF Session at the Central Division APA
Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois
February 17 – 20, 2010

The Society for Analytical Feminism invites submissions for a session at the 2010 Central Division APA meetings to be held in Chicago in February 17-20, 2010.

The Society seeks papers that examine feminist issues by methods broadly construed as analytic, or discuss the use of analytic philosophical methods as applied to feminist issues. Reading time should be about 20 minutes. Authors should submit either (1) a paper, or (2) an extended abstract, as detailed as possible (up to 1000 words) accompanied by a bibliography. Please delete all self-identifying references from your submission to ensure anonymity. Submit papers as a word attachment to sharon.crasnow@rcc.edu.

The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2009.

Graduate students or underfunded professionals whose papers are accepted will be eligible for the Society’s $250 Travel Stipend. Please indicate on a separate page (or in your covering letter) if you fall into one of these categories.

The Society for Analytical Feminism

The Society for Analytical Feminism provides a forum where issues concerning analytical feminism may be openly discussed and examined. Its purpose is to promote the study of issues in feminism by methods broadly construed as analytic, to examine the use of analytic methods as applied to feminist issues, and to provide a means by which those interested in Analytical Feminism may meet and exchange ideas. The Society meets yearly at the Central Division meetings of the APA, and frequently organizes sessions for the Eastern Division and Pacific Divisions as well. Information can be found on our website:

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