Spring 2014 Newsletter

Kate Lindemann's 

Women Philosophers


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What's in this Newsletter

  • The Newsletter's new look
  • Executive Board Welcome to New Members
  • Reminders to SSWP members
  • Notice of Annual Meeting of the Executive Board
  • Notice of Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors.
  • CFP and advance notice of DVD presentation
  • Coming to SSWP: Women-Philosophers.com
  • Grants awarded for SSWP projects
  • Precis: Jane Duran's recent article on Philosophy at Hull House
  • Precis: Tom Digby's forthcoming Love and War
  • Precis: John Conley on Mme Deshoulieres
  • Precis: Mary Ellen Waithe's forthcoming presentation on Oliva Sabuco
  • Forthcoming conferences & CFPs of interest to members: FEAST, IAPh
  • Women Philosophers in the performing arts: "Emma" in Detroit.
  • Next Newsletter submission information

New Look for Newsletter

For many years, Sabrina MisirHallal has solicited submissions, followed up on them, edited them, composed them for printing and assisted with mailings.  She still (thankfully!) performs the first two tasks.

Now that we are reducing our use of paper, economizing by posting rather than mailing, it is time for a new look to our Newsletter. It will now appear on this site, and rather than a 4-page legal-size "paper" it shares the motif and layout of the website.  So, in our progress from 20th to 21st century, we have reverted to that ancient format, the scroll.  No longer must pieces be edited for length. It all fits.

Just scroll down our virtual scroll to catch up on new developments, learn about upcoming conferences and CFPs issued by other professional organizations, and see what our members have been up to.  


Dr. Elizabeth Anderson of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI joined as a Sophia member.

Dr. Carol Bensick, Research Associate at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women in Los Angeles, CA joined as an Axiothea member.

Dr. Laura Weed of the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY joined as a Sophia member.

Dr. Melanie Johnson-Moxley of Columbia College in Columbia MO joined as a Philosopher-Queen  member and chose for her premium the Busted!! photo album. 

The Honorable Gayle Washburn, former Mayor of Fillmore, CA, joined at the Sophia level.


Christine de Pizan. Illustration from her City of Ladies.

In coming months look for their member profiles, research interests and publications. Then, consider purchasing their books through the SSWP link to

Abe Books

Dr. Sandrine Berges of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey joined as a Sophia member.

Dr. Jacqueline Broad of Monash University Melbourne, Australia joined as a  Philosopher-Queen member and chose for her premium Vol. 1 of the Busted!! DVD.

W. Michael McDavit, of Arlington, VA is the Associate Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency joined at the Philosopher-Queen level and chose for his premium the Busted!! photo album


This website has been lovingly constructed to help promote your work, your research interests and your professional life. Your dues pay for it so use it!  

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to promote SSWP:


1)   Please complete your online member bio and research interests so that others can network with you.


2)   Visit our "Must Buy" pages and if one of your books about women in philosophy is not there, email a jpeg of the book together with publishing information to sswpdues@gmail.com 


3)   In your web browser, set your HOME PAGE to:


the more often the search engines see clicks on our site, the higher it rises "above the fold" on computer screens, and the greater number of students and scholars it reaches with information about YOUR work.

Notice of Annual Meeting of the Executive Board

of The Society for the Study of Women Philosophers  

The 2014 meeting of the Executive Board will take place at Eastern Division APA, date and time TBA. Check Fall Newsletter for details.

Any member of the Society in good standing (dues paid) may propose any item for the formal agenda of the Executive Board meeting. Possible items for discussion/agenda include election of officers, outreach to other organizations, topics for Calls for Papers for 2015 meeting, website, revisions to Bylaws, etc.

Notice of Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors

of The Society for the Study of Women Philosophers, Inc.

The 2014 meeting of the Board of Directors of the non-profit educational charity, the Society for the Study of Women Philosophers, Inc. will take place at Eastern Division APA, date and time TBA. Check Fall Newsletter for details.

Any member of the Board of Directors may propose any item to be placed on the formal agenda of the Board of Directors meeting.  Among the agenda items will be the review and approval of SSWP, Inc. Banking and other financial records (Pay Pal, Square, AbeBooks, etc.), annual IRS tax return, etc. 

Report on Call for Papers and Tentative Program for 2014 Conference

SSWP issued the following Advance Call for Papers:

Papers on the contributions of  Non-White or Non-Western women to Philosophy are requested, although other proposals will be considered.

Proposals for panel discussions are strongly encouraged and must include each panelist's paper. 

All submissions will be blind peer reviewed by SSWP Board Members.

Proposals should discuss at least one of the following:

  • Any aspect of the thought of a woman philosopher, past or present.
  • Discovery of work by a previously-unrecognized woman philosopher.
  • How women philosophers have defined what it means to be a woman.
  • How women have (re)defined the nature of philosophical work.
  • Reflections on experience in teaching the work of women philosophers.

Cover page should include name, institutional affiliation and email contact.  No self-identifying material should appear on subsequent pages. Papers should be a maximum of 8-10 pages [20 minutes reading time].

Send complete paper as an attachment in MSWord format to:

Dorothy G. Rogers, Ph.D.,  

SSWP Program Chair   

Montclair State University


Deadline: 21 April, 2014


Submitted papers were subject to blind peer review. Once it is confirmed that those whose papers have been accepted will commit to presenting them at our meeting, the abstracts and other specifics about them and about our next meeting will appear in the Fall Newsletter.

In addition to the blind peer reviewed papers, a session will be offered during which Volume 1 of the DVD series will be premiered.  Following the viewing, Dorothy Rogers and Mary Ellen Waithe will discuss inclusion criteria, the process of preparing and editing the DVD, etc. .

Coming to SSWP: Women-Philosophers.com

At its last meeting the Executive Board of SSWP voted unanimously to accept Dr. Kate Lindemann's kind offer to turn over to us the administration her amazingly-valuable website women-philosophers.com. Approaching her eighties, Dr. Lindemann has begun cutting down on her workload to focus on new interests related to women and aging. With historical and bibliographical information about more than a hundred women philosophers women-philosophers.com is the web's single most important resource on the subject. Rather than abandon this treasure trove of information about women's contributions to philosophy and related disciplines, SSWP has opted to preserve it so that it can continue to be a resource for students, scholars and the general public alike. 

"You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone..."

-Joni Mitchell

When you or your students do a Google search for "women philosophers," "woman philosopher" or "female philosopher" it is Dr. Lindemann's site that appears at the very top of Google's search results.  That reflects the amount of web traffic her site attracts.  SSWP will be the beneficiary of that traffic, providing "one-stop-shopping" for those interested in women philosophers: Students and scholars be able to access biographical and bibliographical information about hundreds of women philosophers, purchase books through our website, view our own members' publications on the subject, and become members of SSWP.

As you cruise through our website today you will find many links to Kate's pages. SSWP will begin managing her site this summer. We will then begin the process of transforming those pages to become pages on our site.  And although those pages will have the thematic appearance of our website, they will always indicate that Dr. Lindemann originated them. Dr. Lindemann is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY, and Senior Scholar at the Institute of Aging and Public Policy.  

Please join the Board in thanking Dr. Kate Lindemann for her generous donation to SSWP of her decades-long labor of love:  women-philosophers.com




by Mary Ellen Waithe

In our Fall, 2013 Newsletter, I reported that in June, 2013 I had applied on behalf of SSWP to the APA for a grant to work on the Busted!! DVD series that Dorothy Rogers and I are collaborating on.  As you know, the DVD I presented at our meetings in 2008 had included 40 women philosophers from the Ancient period to the mid 20th-century.

For the past three years, Dorothy Rogers and I have worked to expand that original DVD from 40 to nearly two hundred women philosophers. We have written dozens of narratives, identified works and teachings, and found portraiture of these foremothers. We have found period music composed by women to provide audio background for the narratives. Dorothy has arranged for dozens of women (with appropriate accents) to record (and re-record, and re-record) our narratives, and has supervised student audio engineers who work to control volume levels, dub in narrations, and sync all to the PowerPoint visuals. I have been working on developing a Bibliography for each DVD that will be printed as a QR code inside the jewel case inserts. SSWP member's publications will be featured in it.

After promoting the DVDs and the Busted!! photo album at the APA's conference on Diversity in May 2013, I submitted an application for APA support for

the production costs (pay student recording engineers, buy DVDs, jewel cases, labels, etc.) for Volumes 2 & 3 of the series. In the application I argued that these would be instructional-level teaching tools, intended to allow young women who were taking their first philosophy course (and studying only the great white males) to see philosophy as something women also have always engaged in. Perhaps, I argued, by doing so, more women would be encouraged to enter the profession.

The APA received applications totaling more than $50,000 but had only $25,000 available and maximum allotments of $5,000. The award was made to me, but the check for $4,175 was deposited in SSWP, Inc.'s checking account. Not only was I given the full amount requested, but that award was the largest the APA made this year.

I applied to Cleveland State University for $2,625 to pay a graduate student to create the bibliography for the series. This grant will be disbursed directly to the student creating the bibliography.

Our sincerest thanks to the American Philosophical Association, and Cleveland State University. Their generous support will be acknowledged on those DVDs.  We plan to apply shortly to APA for additional funds to cover the engineering costs of preparing Volume 4.




by Jane Duran

Much work on Hull House has centered almost exclusively on Jane Addams, even though she herself often acknowledged the work of others during her lifetime, and despite the fact that we have accurate records attesting to the names of women and men who were central to the Hull House project.  

Ellen Gates Starr has often been deemed the co-founder of the enterprise; what is less well known is that she authored a number of papers on the place of art and the role of aesthetics in the settlement movement, and that in doing so she forwarded several lines of thought that might be deemed to be Deweyan.

Although Julia Lathrop wrote comparatively little, we do have written work from her, and more important, Addams herself dedicated an entire work to her with her volume My Friend, Julia Lathrop. 

Ellen Gates Starr


Co-founder of Hull House

Julia Lathorp

1858 - 1932

Appointed by President Taft as first director of the US Children's Bureau, the precursor to the Social Security Administration.

Starr was a firm believer in the importance of the aesthetic for all, and she went out of her way to introduce those who participated in the settlement house projects to a variety of crafts and tasks that would evoke a sense of wonder and an appreciation of beauty.  Her work On Art, Labor and Religion recapitulates pragmatist points later made explicit by Dewey in Art and Experience—bookbinding is an example of a craft that she perfected during her years in the Chicago area.  

For the full article described by this precis, see

The Pluralist, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring, 2014

Julia Lathrop, in her short piece “What the Settlement Stands For” reminds the reader that true democracy is found with the involvement of the greatest number, and she buttresses her celebrated capacity to interact with the community (including in midwifery) with an analysis of the meaning of engagement.    Both women promulgate notions central to John Dewey’s work, noting that learning takes place with mental effort and physical involvement.

There is no question that their work in the Hull House effort has often not received adequate attention. 

Hull House, Chicago

from a colorized postcard



How Militarism Shapes Sexuality and Romance


Tom Digby

Love and War is an exploration of gender as both a weapon and casualty of war.

Ideas of masculinity and femininity become sharply defined in war-reliant societies, resulting in a presumed enmity between men and women. This so-called “battle of the sexes” intensifies in tandem with dispositions to fight actual wars. These are among the discoveries shared in Love and War, which de-scribes the making and manipulation of gender in both militaristic and nonmilitaristic societies and the sweeping consequences for men and women in their personal, romantic, sexual, and professional lives.

Drawing on cross-cultural com-parisons and examples from popular media, including sports culture, the rise of “gonzo” and “bangbus” pornography, and “internet trolls,” this work shows how misogyny and toughness are deployed to construct masculinity in ways that undermine relations between women and men. Employing diverse philosophical methodologies, this work identifies the cultural elements that contribute to heterosexual antagonism, such as an enduring faith in male force to solve problems, the glorification of violent men who suppress caring . 

emotions, the devaluation of men’s physical and emotional lives, an imaginary gender binary, male pri-vilege premised on the subordination of women, and the use of misogyny to encourage masculine behavior

Love and War tracks the “collateral damage” of this disabling misogyny in the lives of both men and women, but ends on a hopeful note. It ultimately finds the link between war and gender to be dissolving in many societies: war is becoming de-gendered, and gender is becoming de-militarized.

In addition to being heavily influenced by Marilyn Frye’s notion of pattern identification (as an alternative to generalization) and Sandra Bartky’s “situated pheno-menology,” two of the eight chapters engage with the work of feminist philosophers. Chapter 2, “Let’s Make a Deal: The Heterosexual Economy Falls Off a Cliff,” discusses Sandra Bartky’s “Feeding Egos and Tending Wounds: Deference and Disaffection in Women’s Emotional Labor,” from Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Op-pression (Routledge, 1990). Chapter 5, “Can Men Rescue Romantic Love? More Faith and Fantasy,” relies cru-cially on passages from Beauvoir’s chapter “The Woman in Love,” from The Second Sex.

Love and War:

How Militarism Shapes Sexuality & Romance

by Tom Digby

Columbia University Press forthcoming, September 2014




John Conley, SJ

Deshoulières’s later poetry clearly defends the naturalism she had inherited from Hesnault.  In her “Imitation of Lucretius,” she endorses the atomistic theory of the world’s construction. 

“These atoms conjoined with the light

By their extreme fluidity

Are always in society

With the regulating essence.” 

She insists that human beings are as much a product of the material cosmos as are other observable beings. 

“In a cyclone of subtle matter

Placing them everywhere in inequality

All the human race is the blessed offspring.” 

It is matter which determines human existence and action.

One of the puzzles concerning early modern women philosophers concerns their philosophical formation.  How did women acquire a philosophical culture, given their exclusion from the universities and scientific academies?  In some cases an influential tutor introduced a woman to philosophical issues.  The metaphysical poet Antoinette Ligier-de-la Garde, Madame Deshoulières (1638-1694), illustrates this influence.  During her adolescence, her tutor Jean Hesnault introduced her to the naturalism of Pierre Gassendi.  This metaphysics claims that all activity, even apparently spiritual activity, can be explained by material causation.         

Given this naturalistic perspective on human nature, Deshoulières criticizes the human pretension to transcend nature by the power of intellect and will.  The idyll “The Sheep” attacks reason itself. 

“This proud reason about which they make so much noise

Is not a sure remedy against the passions

A bit of wine disturbs it, a child charms it.

Always impotent and severe

It opposes everything but resolves nothing.” 

The poem “The Flowers” boldly attacks the belief in human immortality. 

“When once we cease to be,

Lovely flowers, it’s forever.

One fearful instant destroys us without exception.

We only see an unclear future beyond death:

At most a faint memory of our name

Conserved by society.

We enter forever into the profound rest

From which nature once pulled us.”

“Diverse Reflections” argues that the moral virtues can be understood in terms of biological instinct rather than free will.  Courage, for example, can be explained in terms of material pain and pleasure. 

“We scarcely recognize ourselves in discussions of courage

When we elevate to the rank of the generous

Those Greeks and Romans whose suicidal deaths

Have made the name of courage so famous.

What have they done that is so great?  They left life

When, after crushing disgrace,

Life didn’t have anything pleasant left for them.

By one single death they spared themselves a thousand.” 

In such circumstances suicide is a natural, predictable response to an unbearable material and psychological environment.

This precis summarizes a presentation "Tutor, Salon, Convent: The Formation of Early Modern Women Philosophers," Renaissance Society of America, New York, NY, March 2014.


"Biopolitics and Oliva Sabuco's 400-year Postmortem Hysterectomy"


Mary Ellen Waithe

What's "biopolitics"?

It's the idea that political pressures are brought to discsrimnate on the basis of gender.


What's a 400-year postmortem hysterectomy?

Philosophy received a hysterectomy when, 400 years after the publication of this 1587 book, Oliva Sabuco's name was stripped as author, and her father's name substituted. Libraries around the world changed their listings in recent years.

This precis summarizes a paper that will be presented at the meetings of the International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh) in Alcala de Henares, outside Madrid, Spain in June 2014.

SSWP Board Member Linda Lopez McAlister who also will be attending this conference is one of the founders of IAPh.

Oliva Sabuco came from a woefully dysfunctional family headed by her misogynist father, Miguel Sabuco.  Miguel Sabuco has left behind a tail of legal documents that show the extent of his mistreatment of the women in his family. I argue that his mistreatment extended to misguided, but ultimately successful attempts to claim authorship of the book written by his daughter, Oliva Sabuco. He has been aided in his posthumous plagiarization of Oliva Sabuco's New Philosophy of Human Nature by a small handful of 20th century scholars who built their academic reputations on popularizing the idea that Miguel and not Oliva wrote this philosophy of medicine.

How did Miguel Sabuco mistreat women?

Various legal documents show that Miguel Sabuco was motivated by financial interests to:

  • Refuse to pay Oliva's dowry until after she and her husband sued him. They settled for a reduced amount, which by today's standards is enormous.
  • Collect a debt from a widow by confiscating her property and placing her in a convent as an "oba" or laborer-nun, then marrying her teen-aged daughter. 
  • Comply with the law by providing his impoverished teenage second wife with a very small dowry--an amount insufficient to provide for the support of their child.
  • Try (unsuccessfully) to publish Oliva's book in Portugal under his own name so that he could collect the royalties.
  • Claim in his Last Will & Testament that he was the author of Oliva's book so that his son by his new wife could collect the royalties after Miguel died.

How did 20th century philosophers effect this "hysterectomy"?

  1. At the turn of the 20th century Miguel Sabuco's Will was found. It was badly transliterated and published. In it he claimed authorship of New Philosophy of Human Nature and stated that he put Oliva's name on it only to give her the honor.
  2. Spanish male philosophers and historians pounced on the idea that a woman could not have written such a philosophical text. They began writing their own commentaries on and analyses of the book "by" Miguel Sabuco.  In several cases, publications about this work's authorship are the only academic publications by these male philosophers and historians. They built their careers upon the "fact" that Miguel Sabuco, not Oliva Sabuco wrote the work.
  3. International agreements about librarianship relegate to the National Library of the country of the author of a work, the final decision as to who is the author in a contested case. The Spanish scholars referred to in (2) above have close family and business relationships with bibilographic librarians at the Biblioteca Nacional.

Conferences  and CFPs of interest to members of SSWP

18th-19th June: Ethical Perspectives Following Luce Irigaray,Warwick Business School,The University of Warwick, UK.

18 June Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Epistemology 1 ( of a series of 4) University of Southamption, UK

24-29 June: Conference: XV INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN PHILOSOPHERS (IAPh), Department of History and Philosophy, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcala de Henares (Madrid).

11 July: SWIP UK 24th Joint Session Cambridge University

14 July:  Sexualities and Freedom: University of Ghent, Belgium

10 August: CSWIP conference: University of Waterloo, Ontario.

1 October: CFP: Teaching Early Modern Philosophy - New Approaches. Metaphilosophy

Women Philosophers in the Media and in the Fine and Performing Arts

Emma Goldman

1869 - 1940

As scholars and intellectuals, we often confine our sources of knowledge to the written word. We look for books by and about a woman philosopher, for articles she's written or in which her ideas receive scrutiny.  In recent years there have appeared a few supplementary sources through which women's contribution to philosophy is interpreted.  The film "Agora" about Hypatia of Alexandria, the PBS series on Hildegard von Bingen, the film on Hannah Arendt (see Fall, 2013 Newsletter for Cecile Tougas' review) and other artistic performances can not only inform our own appreciation of women philosophers' work and their impact on the profession and on society, but they also provide an excellent introduction to and overview of that work for our students.  

One of the most iconoclastic of women philosophers was Emma Goldman.

Detroit's Matrix Theatre Company stages dramatic readings from Emma Goldman's correspondence, published writings and speeches on May 16, 17 and 18.  Based on Howard Zinn's history Emma, this production brings to life the philosopher's views on the rights of immigrants, workers, women and minorities as exemplified through her imprisonments, deportation, and her vilification by the powers whose control she threatened.

This is an audience-participation play in which viewers become supporters or opponents of this amazing early 20th-century philosopher.

Our next newsletter will appear in Fall, 2014.

If you have a book, article or presentation of your own to report, please submit it as a precis, devoid of laudatory language.  


If you have a book, article or presentation by someone else that you are reviewing, please include all particulars about the original publication/presentation.


If you know of a forthcoming conference that will be of interest to members and which will occur between October 1, 2014 and May 15, 2015, please submit notice of it to this Newsletter.


All print matter submitted should be in MSWord and be free of footnotes or endnotes.  All pictorial matter should be in Jpeg format.

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