What's in this Newsletter
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.
WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS!
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.
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
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:
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.
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
AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION,
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
AWARD GRANTS for SSWP PROJECTS
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.
ELLEN GATES STARR & JULIA LATHROP:
HULL HOUSE AND PHILOSOPHY
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
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.
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
LOVE AND WAR
How Militarism Shapes Sexuality and Romance
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.
THE TUTOR & THE PHILOSOPHER: MADAME DESHOULIÈRES
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.
"Biopolitics and Oliva Sabuco's 400-year Postmortem Hysterectomy"
Mary Ellen Waithe
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:
How did 20th century philosophers effect this "hysterectomy"?
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
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.