The APP Report on Programs Serving Women & Minorities has just released statistical data for the 41 programs in the U.S. that award doctorates to women and minority students at a rate equal to or greater than the national average. While this report comes in response to Brian Leiter’s “list of Ph.D. programs whose existence is hard to explain”, which suggests that a number of programs serving higher than average numbers of underrepresented populations should close for various reasons, the data given is valuable for a number of considerations on the status of underrepresented groups in philosophy.
After signing a petition to the Turkish government calling for a stop to the crimes and violence committed against Kurdish citizens last week, over 1128 Turkish academics are under investigation on charges of terrorism. If convicted, they will face prison time and other penalties. Dozens of Turkish philosophers have signed the petition as well as philosophers from around the world, such as Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Etienne Balibar, and Slovoj Žižek. Daily Nous reports that two Turkish philosophers have been detained already and rumors circulate that several more are under close investigation at Turkish Universities. For more information see: Daily Nous; The Guardian; and BBC.
As recently as 2010, fewer than 30 percent of those earning doctorates in philosophy were women, for example — a lower percentage than that for math, chemistry, or economics. The numbers of racial and ethnic minorities in philosophy are estimated to be even worse.
Now, three philosophy graduate students in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) have rolled up their sleeves to tackle this problem. Abby Jaques, Matthias Jenny, and Kevin Richardson have organized a weeklong program that will bring a diverse cohort of undergraduates to the MIT campus this summer, where the students will explore the full range of options for pursuing an academic career in philosophy.
Read more about PIKSI Boston and Sally Haslanger’s research on diversity in philosophy here
The Rethink Program has been awarded the 2015 APA/PDC Prize! Rethink was started by graduate students in Columbia University’s Department of Philosophy in 2013 and now works with faculty and graduate students from several New York City area universities as well as local community organizations to bring philosophy to two underserved populations: Court-involved youth and victims of domestic violence. Rethink aims to empower its participants through development of critical thinking skills and philosophical discussion of topics such as authority, punishment, testimony, racism, sexism, and equality.
More information about Rethink’s work can be found in this interview with its co-founders, John Fantuzzo, Robbie Kubala, and Yoni Pasternak.
Philosophy in an Inclusive Key (PIKSI) with support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation and in partnership with the APA has launched a new program that brings ambassadors to the classroom to speak with undergraduate students about diversity in philosophy. PIKSI alumni will be traveling to various universities to teach students about the PIKSI summer institutes and promote awareness of diversity initiatives in the field. More information and requests for ambassador visits are available here.
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