The Society for the Study of Women in Phenomenology (SSWPH) announces its inaugural international conference to be held virtually from March 19–20, 2021.
Sarah Borden-Sharkey (Wheaton College, IL)
Helen Fielding (Western University)
Ruth Hagengruber (Paderborn University)
Julia Jansen (KU Leuven)
The Society for the Study of Women in Phenomenology (SSWPH) is a learned society focused on researching the work of women in phenomenology and phenomenological philosophy. We have three objectives. First, we wish to uncover and critically examine the work of women in phenomenology or phenomenological philosophy from the early phenomenological movement to the current day, including but not limited to such figures as Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Edith Stein, Gerda Walther, Simone de Beauvoir, María Zambrano, Hannah Arendt, Sylvia Wynter, Iris Marion Young, Linda Martín Alcoff, and Jacqueline Martinez. Second, we wish to create a dialogue between those working in the phenomenological tradition and other schools of thought and research methods to address questions of philosophical import. Third, we seek to cultivate new phenomenological, philosophical work that draws inspiration from and/or extends the ideas of the thinkers of the Society’s focus. We carry out our mandate through a series of conferences, workshops, debates, translation projects, and scholarly publications.
The Society is open to all scholars interested in the work of women in phenomenology or phenomenological philosophy.
We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers to be presented at our first conference. Presenters will have between 20 and 30 minutes to present their papers. We welcome papers on the work of women phenomenologists and phenomenologically informed philosophers. Also welcome are papers that use women’s phenomenology to address issues or questions in philosophy. Papers that focus on the history of phenomenology and/or dialogue with other disciplines or fields of philosophy are also encouraged.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is December 20, 2020.
Due to Covid-19, it was not possible to hold the 2020 SWIP UK Annual Conference in the summer. Because of continued uncertainty about the possibility and advisability of travel, the deferred 2020 SWIP UK Annual Conference will take place online in January 2021.
The conference theme this year is Women in the History of Philosophy. We aim both to examine and critically engage with the (often overlooked) contributions that women have made to philosophy, and to highlight and discuss the issues that arise for women working in philosophy, as well as for those working on women in the history of philosophy. We welcome work on specific women philosophers, work on gender in the history of philosophy more generally, work on methodological issues that arise when writing about women in the history of philosophy (especially recovering marginalised figures), and issues facing women in the profession today.
The conference will run over two weeks, from Saturday 9th January until Friday 22nd January 2021, with four week-long sessions in total (i.e., two parallel sessions/week). Each session will comprise a written target paper with pre-recorded video abstract, written commentaries, a discussion thread, and will end with a live webinar. The conference will include two sessions for submitted papers.
Accessibility: We aim to make this conference as accessible as possible, in line with the SWIP/BPA guidance for accessible conferences. All videos will be captioned, and if any participants need captions or similar in order to access the live webinars, we will work with them to establish the most suitable provision. Please feel free to contact Alisa Mandrigin at alisa.mandrigin[at]stir.ac.uk if you have any questions, requests, or require further information about the event.
All papers must be original.
Papers should be no longer than 5000 words (including footnotes, excluding references). Shorter papers are welcome.
All papers must be prepared for anonymous review, with any identifying information removed.
Papers should be sent along with a cover sheet giving your full name, email address, institution, and the title of your paper to Alisa Mandrigin at email@example.com.
The deadline for submissions is 23:59 (GMT) on Friday 13th November 2020.Speakers will be asked to provide a final draft of their paper by 18th December 2020. They will also be asked to record a short video abstract before the start of the conference, and be expected to participate in the discussion thread and live webinar for their session.
Note: rather than post a biographical notice of Cooper, or a general overview of her philosophy, I thought I would concentrate on parts of her work. That is because of the richness of that work, and also because there is an excellent Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Cooper by Kathryn Sophia Belle (Formerly Kathryn T. Gines) which says everything I might be likely to say about her, and more, and says it very clearly.
For my first Cooper entry, I decided to focus on the concluding chapter of her A Voice from the South, published in 1892 when Cooper was 34 years old.
The chapters of A Voice from the South are self-standing essays around one central theme: raising the hitherto unheard, but powerful voice of African American women, whose experience is what America needs to set various wrongs right – their own, and any that come from slavery and the oppression of women, those that derive from poverty and lack of education, and those that concern native Americans, cheated by European settlers.
But in order for their voices to be clear and effective, Black women must, Cooper says, be educated – and not merely taught to read and add sufficiently well to keep a home, but they need access to higher education. Cooper certainly practiced what she preached: When A Voice was published, Cooper had already earned an MA in mathematics (she and Mary Church Terrell were the two first Black American women to earn a master’s degree). In 1925, Cooper defended her doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne, on “The Attitude of France on the Question of Slavery Between 1789 and 1848”.
But if education is the key to making necessary voices heard, it can also help stifle them, and this is the theme of the final chapter of the book, entitled ‘The Gain from a Belief’.
The chapter starts with the portrait of a stranger, a skeptical philosopher, aloof, scornful of the unscientific beliefs of the masses around him, especially religious beliefs. His philosophy, Cooper tells us, lifts him ‘above the toils and anxieties, the ambitions and aspirations of the common herd’. His lack of religious belief robs him of the power to look down on these people and care, or desire to help them. To him, human beings are mere automata, material things, and beyond humanity, there is but ‘spaces of darkness and eternal silence’.
Cooper then asks herself what in philosophy can have created such a ‘monstruum horrendum’.
First, she blames Voltaire as the source, the ‘nucleus of the cloud no bigger than a man’s hand’, but the real culprit, she says, is David Hume:
David Hume, who, though seventeen years younger than Voltaire, died in 1776 just two years before the great French skeptic, taught skepticism in England on purely metaphysical grounds. Hume knew little or nothing about natural science; but held that what we call mind consists merely of successive perceptions, and that we can have no knowledge of anything but phenomena.
A Voice from the South, Dover Editions, p.141.
The effect of Hume’s philosophy of racial justice, she claims, is that it breeds skepticism of a kind that is likely to distance the philosopher from the real needs of the people, but more importantly to discount the voices of those who are infused with spiritual beliefs. Yet, religion is what gives the voices of the oppressed their power, what moves them to speak out against injustice, and to help others like them. Rejecting the power of belief is therefore harmful.
And after Hume, it is Auguste Comte who takes on the flagship of skepticism according to Cooper:
His system afterwards passes through France, is borrowed and filtered through the brain of a half crazy French schoolmaster, Auguste Conte, who thus becomes the founder of the Contist school of Positivism or Nescience or Agnosticism as it is variously called.
A Voice from the South, Dover Editions, p.141.
But Comte did, Cooper adds, replace religion with a cult, saying that: ‘two hours a day should be spent in the worship of Collective Humanity to be symbolized by some of the sexe aimant [the loving sex]’.
Cooper adds that ‘On general principles, it is not quite clear which is the sexe aimant. But as Comte proceeds to mention one’s wife, mother and daughter as fitting objects of religious adoration because they represent the present, past and future of humanity – one is left to infer that he considered the female the loving sex and the ones to be worshipped; though he does not set forth who were to be objects of woman’s own adoring worship.’
By pointing out the large inconsistencies in Comte’s references to women, Cooper makes the point that his philosophy, like many, is one that silences women, that pushes them into a place where they cannot even describe themselves or their role consistently, let alone meaningfully, and reducing them to an object – to be occasionally worshipped, but not subjects to be heard.
Wollapalooza 3: Destabilizing the Canon with Feminism is going ahead next week as part of the Annual APSA conference short-courses. You can find us on the official APSA program here.
We’ll be on zoom Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 from 7am to 12:30 MDT (Mountain Time). If you are registered for the APSA annual meeting, you can join us on the day by following the link on this page. (Note that the Wednesday link is not yet up, but we have been assured that it will up on time).
No fees are required for the short-course, but to attend, you must be registered for the APSA meeting.
However, if you would like to read some of the papers, and watch pre-recorded talks, some are available on our full program here.
Note that this is a live link and that we may add more papers closer to the time.
We are very excited about the meeting and hope to see many of you there!
Also, we have a theme song, courtesy of theorist/singer song writer, long-time Wollapaloozean Lorna Bracewell.
2 Post Doc Positions at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, Paderborn
Location: Philosophy Department, Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, Paderborn University
Project: We are seeking expressions of interest for 2 Post doc positions in the project founded by the German Research Foundation DFG: Historical critical digital edition of the handwritten version of Émilie Du Châtelet’s “Institutions de physique”
Paygrade TV_L 14 (code no. 4347), deadline September 20th, 2020
For further details, including project descriptions, eligibility requirements and how to apply, seehere.
Successful applicants will be expected to enroll asap, preferably before February 2021. There is some flexibility as to the date of commencement.
Location: Philosophy Department, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Closing date for EOIs: Tuesday 15 September 2020, 11:55 pm AEST
We are seeking expressions of interest for two PhD scholarship opportunities in the history of philosophy.
Project One: Monash University Arts Graduate Research is funding a PhD scholarship connected to a larger project, an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on The Philosophical Foundations of Women’s Rights: A New History, 1600-1750 (DP190100019, 2019–22).
Project Two: Monash University Arts Graduate Research is funding a PhD scholarship connected to the project Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and twelve partner institutions.
For each project, the focus of the PhD research is flexible and responsive to the successful applicant’s expertise and interests, in consultation with the supervisors.
For further details, including project descriptions, eligibility requirements, and how to submit an EOI, see the full advertisement here: