What is happening in philosophy? How are its demographic challenges being addressed? Here’s our go-to page for posts, studies, and news postings about our discipline’s others.
George Yancy’s “Dear White America” and APA’s “Statement on Bullying and Harassment”
Emory University philosopher George Yancy has recently come under attack as a result of “Dear White America,” an open letter he published in the New York Times asking white readers to recognize “the role that [they] play (even despite [their] anti-racist actions) in a system that continues to value black lives on the cheap.” Yancy’s piece was the culmination of a series of interviews with philosophers and public intellectuals on the issue of race, and reader responses included anger, hate mail, and death threats directed at him and his family.
To respond to this and similar attacks on philosophers who discuss often controversial topics, the American Philosophical Association (APA) approved a statement on bullying and harassment at a quarterly meeting held earlier this month. Read our summary of this news piece here.
Ph.D. Program Rankings According to Percentage of Women & Minority Graduates
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.
Philosophers detained after signing petition calling for cessation of Turkish violence against Kurds
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.
The academic pursuit of philosophy has a serious diversity problem.
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 at PIKSI Boston
Rethink: A Philosophy Outreach Program wins APA/PDC Prize!
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.
PIKSI Ambassador Program has launched!
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.