Africana Women Philosophers at ENN

The Extending New Narratives blog has a an Africana women philosophers section with a post on Mary Ann Shadd Cary and forthcoming posts on Nísia Floresta and Phillis Wheatley which can currently be read on the New Narratives facebook page.

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Mary Wollstonecraft and the Vindication of Human Rights – LSE

An exciting online public event with Bee Rowlatt, chair of the Wollstonecraft Society, and Professor Amartya Sen.

Join two great minds in exploring the themes of justice and equality: Amartya Sen and Enlightenment hero Mary Wollstonecraft, as Amartya Sen gives the inaugural Wollstonecraft Society Lecture.Mary Wollstonecraft claimed human rights for all. She overcame limited education and a background of domestic violence to become an educational and political pioneer, and one of the greatest thinkers of the eighteenth century. As well as her intellectual audacity, it is Wollstonecraft’s love for humanity, her self-proclaimed “ardent affection for the human race” that continues to inspire. This event explores how, despite a savage pandemic, economic downturn, and increasing isolation in both political and individual life, there is a counter-story of community building and education, of optimism and hope.

https://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2021/04/202104281800/rights

Note that the event will be streamed live on Facebook as well as broadcast over Zoom.

Preregistration is required, here.

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New Voices Talk Series

New Voices Talk Series entitled Early Modern Women on Knowledge at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists(directed by Ruth Hagengruber, Paderborn University): 

29th of April 2-3.40 PM CET: Julia Borcherding (University of Cambridge) – TBA

10th of June 2-3.40 PM CET: Fatema Amijee (University of British Columbia) – The Disharmony of Leibniz and Du Châtelet

24th of June 2-3.40 PM CET: Ariane Schneck (Bielefeld University) – Emotions and Knowledge in Elisabeth of Bohemia

29th of July 2-3.40 PM CET: Sebastian Bender (Humboldt University Berlin) – Is Anne Conway a Monist?

26th of August 2-3.40 PM CET: Nastassja Pugliese (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) – Anne Conway on Imagination and Reason

30th of September 2-3.40 PM CET: Katarina Peixoto (Rio de Janeiro State University) – Émilie du Châtelet against Innocence

The talk series will take place online. We plan for 45 minutes talk followed by 45 minutes discussion. Everyone is welcome to attend. To register for one or all talks please contact  clara.carus@uni-paderborn.de

New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy is a group for emerging scholars at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and ScientistsNew Voices has the purpose of creating a forum for international scholars who work on women in the history of philosophy. New Voices intends to interconnect and further the work of scholars in the field of Women Philosophers in the History of Philosophy. New Voices is organized by Clara Carus. For further information about New Voices or to join New Voices please visit: 

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New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy

Join New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy

New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy is a group for emerging scholars at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and ScientistsNew Voices has the purpose of creating a forum for international scholars who work on women in the history of philosophy. New Voices intends to interconnect and further the work of scholars in the field of Women Philosophers in the History of Philosophy.

On our project website, you will find the search tool ‘Find Scholars’, which you can use to connect with scholars who work on specific women philosophers. The tool is intended for further cooperation and networking among scholars who work on women in the history of philosophy or are interested in this research.

New Voices runs a monthly online Talk Series dedicated to different themes in the field of women philosophers. The first talk series will start in April 2021 and is entitled: Early Modern Women Philosophers on Knowledge.

In our News section you can find up-to-date information on the work of New Voices Members, such as publications, talks, events or networking projects.

New Voices runs regular round tables and we hold casual meetings at events in Paderborn.

New Voices is organized by Clara Carus, Assistant Professor at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists (directed by Ruth Hagengruber), Paderborn University.

If you would like further information or wish to join New Voices, please contact Clara Carus: clara.carus@uni-paderborn.de.

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Women in the History of Philosophy: A Workshop on Methodological Issues: Pre-Conference Workshop for BSHP


16:00-18:00, 20th April 2021
To be held online, hosted by Durham University

The workshop will discuss some of the methodological issues which have emerged as the history of women’s contribution to philosophy has developed and expanded in recent years. Panel members will share insights and problems encountered from their own work. Questions to be considered include the implications for the historiography of philosophy and whether research on women’s philosophy from different periods requires different methodologies, best practice for the future. Open discussion with all participants will follow the panel contributions.

Speakers

Ruth Hagengruber (Centre for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, Paderborn University) 

Sarah Hutton (University of York) 

Caterina Pellò (University of St Andrews) 

Alison Stone (University of Lancaster) 

Rachael Wiseman (University of Liverpool) 

For more information, please visit https://bshp.org.uk/events/bshp-annual-conference/

Registration is free for BSHP members. To become a BSHP member, please click here

To register for the workshop, please email bshp2021.conference@durham.ac.uk and confirm that you are a BSHP member and would like to register

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Major Discovery for Feminist History of Philosophy: Mary Astell’s library.

47 books and pamphlets, belonging to Mary Astell have been recovered at Magdalene College, Cambridge. These are also annotated, and allow us to know not only what she read, but what she thought about what she read.

Inscription in Astell’s copy of Arthur Capel, Excellent Contemplations, Divine and Moral.

While Astell is known primarily as a moral philosopher, some of her annotations on Descartes’ books (which she read in French) will allow us some insight into her natural philosophy.

This is a momentous discovery not only because of what it can teach us about Astell, but because it suggests that there is at least a possibility that we will recover more of women philosophers’ libraries. These were typically not catalogued or archived as carefully as male philosophers (for obvious reasons), and not having access to them means we are at a disadvantage when it comes to writing the history of women philosophers.

Also: this is the closest feminist historians of philosophy get to that Indiana Jones feeling!

Here is the article.

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New Book on Shelley’s Frankenstein

Artificial Life After Frankenstein
Eileen Hunt Botting

“Addressing Shelley’s novel and the ethics of current artificial intelligence technology, Eileen Hunt Botting poses provocative questions in Artificial Life After ‘Frankenstein’ about the rights of the man-made robots that now can match humanity in many things but not—so far—consciousness. . . . Botting alerts readers to the novel’s lessons for an age in which robots—the insensate descendants of Victor Frankenstein’s painstakingly assembled Creature—occupy an increasingly significant social position . . . Against the mindless drive for technological progress, Botting attempts to sum up the most important moral lesson that Shelley learned from her mother’s work: ‘The value of taking a generous and fearless attitude of love toward the whole world’ . . . [I]t may well be that the next cyber revolution will prove one of emergent moral choice, and—as Botting’s absorbing book leads us to appreciate—of ethical responsibility both to and by the increasingly sophisticated machines that humankind has begun to create.”—The New York Review of Books

“Botting offers a thoughtful study of modern ethical issues concerning technology in the context of Mary Shelley’s novels Frankenstein and The Last Man . . . Botting’s literary study succeeds as an impressive and resounding challenge to technology-driven doomsday scenarios, replacing these with a vision of a gentler, kinder future in which humankind preserves both its existence and its best, most humane qualities.”—Publishers Weekly

“In this learned examination of Shelley’s tragic life and her two novels, Botting focuses not on the science but on the ethical and political issues raised by Shelley’s books..Botting’s use of references to literature (Brave New World), film (Blade Runner, Gattaca), and television (Westworld) makes for an appealing and engaging discussion. In sum, this is a thought-provoking analysis of ‘technological hubris’ and the necessity of coupling clear purpose, responsibility, and humanity to the awesome ability of constructing artificial life.”—Booklist

“In this passionate, ingenious, and wide-ranging book, Eileen Hunt Botting argues that the tradition of political science fiction descending from Mary Shelley contains rich resources for our own anxious time. Far from signalling the end of humanity, the corruption of nature, or the death of love, these fictions reveal new sources of hope and imaginative energy. They challenge us to care for one another—and the other artificial creatures who may come to inhabit our world—in the knowledge that we are all misshapen by circumstances beyond our control, and yet capable of love.”—Martha C. Nussbaum, The University of Chicago

“Eileen Hunt Botting’s intellectually adventurous and wide-ranging book offers an engrossing interpretation of Shelley’s creation as an early form of AI. Her discussion is rooted in Shelley’s well documented interest in the concept of a superintelligence that can out-think, out-pace and outwit its maker; her well-argued analogy to the programmed robots of today is both convincing and compelling. Artificial Life After Frankenstein is unusually rich in its exploration of the literary impact of Shelley’s creature, and Botting is to be thanked for her interpretation of one of literature’s most rewarding metaphors as a warning to a world increasingly dependent upon the artificial intelligence that we create.”—Miranda Seymour, author of In Byron’s Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron’s Wife and Daughter: Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace

Artificial Life After Frankenstein has a clear and powerful message: we are all artificial creatures, and we all deserve respect, even love. Using Mary Shelley’s life and her two novels, Frankenstein and The Last Man, as touchstones throughout, Botting explores what she identifies as the three big myths about artificial intelligence: that it will end the world, destroy nature, and extinguish love.”—Lori Marso, author of Politics with Beauvoir: Freedom in the Encounter

“This is an original and compelling book. Eileen Hunt Botting offers a wonderfully rich account of Mary Shelley’s philosophical vision and its implications for a range of pressing contemporary debates about the meaning of life. Theoretically acute, historically revealing, and beautifully written, Artificial Life After Frankenstein will be of interest to scholars across a range of disciplines.”—Duncan Bell, author of Reordering the World: Essays on Liberalism and Empire

Beginning with Mary Shelley’s great novels, Frankenstein and The Last Man, Eileen Hunt Botting’s Artificial Life After Frankenstein reveals the techno-political stakes of modern political science fiction and brings them to bear upon the ethics and politics of making artificial life and intelligence in the twenty-first century.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

306 pages | 6 x 9 | 0
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5274-3 | $34.95a | £27.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9772-0 | $34.95s | £27.00Eileen Hunt Botting
Professor of Political Science2171 Jenkins Nanovic Halls 
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-7000

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A Feminist History of Philosophy Mystery

Literary (or philosophical) historical research always seems adventurous in novels. The researcher finds a mysterious manuscript in some beautiful old library, then has to travel to exotic places to discover more, falls in love, experiences danger, then comes out the other end having cracked a central mystery in the history of humanity.

In real life, it’s also exciting and sometimes (when one is not confined to one’s desk by, say, a pandemic lockdown) involves travelling to exciting and glamourous old libraries in France or Italy. But even downloading facsimile after facsimile of old texts from the internet and reading through them to search for clues as to why one author may have written a particular sentence is exciting. It’s not the stuff novels are made of, but I guess that the feeling of excitement experienced by ploughing through old texts on a computer screen is part of what novelists transcribe in their stories. 

So here I am, sitting at my computer (which I recently upgraded to a large screen one, for greater ease in reading old texts) deep into a very exciting mystery in the feminist history of philosophy. 

As part of my attempt to educate myself about Africana women philosophers, I read, last year, A Voice from the South by Anna Julia Cooper. Cooper is a particular favourite of mine as she travelled to Paris to research and write a doctoral thesis about the French Revolution’s attitude to Abolitionism, something I’ve spent time researching myself, see here and here

On the second page of A Voice from the South, I found a quote from Germaine de Stael: 

Happiness consists not in perfections attained, but in a sense of progress, the result of our own endeavor under conspiring circumstances towards a goal which continually advances and broadens and deepens till it is swallowed up in the Infinite.

There is no reference – A Voice from the South was written in 1892 and aimed at a general audience: footnotes were not required.

So I went about searching for the source of the quote. 

Here is what I have done so far:

Read any articles, books or book chapters I could find on Cooper that mention the quote; search through pdfs of Stael’s major texts in the original; wrote to Oberlin library (where Cooper studied between 1881-1887) in the hope they might still have old catalogues, and maybe a translation of Stael’s texts; posted inquiries on Facebook and Twitter (yes, these are major research tools!) and written to scholars on Stael.

Even though I did not locate the quote (I am hopeful that somebody will give me a tip that will help me find it, eventually), I have learned that it does probably reflect Stael’s philosophy. My initial readings lead me to suspect that Stael was a perfectionist, who often equated happiness with virtue, and who thought that the happiness of the whole trumped that of the individual. If this is correct, or even if it corresponds to what Cooper understood from Stael, then this is another clue to understanding Cooper’s project of educating without stifling the voices of the oppressed — ex-slaves, women, the poor, Native Americans — so that they may live their best lives and contribute to the growth of America. 

Needless to say: any clues about the whereabouts of that Stael quote are extremely welcome!

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Call for Applications/ Appel à Candidatures: Extending New Narratives Postdoc fellowships/ Bourses

English: https://www.newnarrativesinphilosophy.net/2021-22-post-doc-ad.html

Supported by the SSHRC Partnership Grant, Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy, postdoctoral fellows will conduct research related to the retrieval and recognition of philosophical works by women and individuals from other marginalized groups from the medieval period through to the early 20th century. Postdocs will also be invited to contribute to the objectives of the project in ways aligned with their research. Information about the project objectives can be found at newnarrativesinphilosophy.net  
 
Two (2) post-doctoral positions are available for this academic year. One will be held at Simon Fraser University, and the other will be held at one of the other Partner institutions (Western, Guelph, McGill, Duke, Penn, Columbia, Monash, Sydney, Lyon-3, Nanterre, and Jyväskylä). While Canadian citizens and permanent residents can be appointed to positions at non-Canadian institutions, non-Canadians will be appointed to positions at Canadian institutions only. 
 
The successful applicants will have a PhD in Philosophy (within the past five years), expertise in a period in the history of philosophy, and a demonstrated interest in research and pedagogy involving women thinkers and thinkers from other marginalized groups of that period. Experience in some aspect of digital humanities is also desirable. The research proposed must be significantly different and distinct from, or add significantly to, that related to the applicant’s doctoral thesis.
 
Appointments will be for a period of 12 months, ideally September 1, 2021- August 31, 2022. However, because of the Covid-19 situation, and potential delays in securing necessary documentation (work permits, etc.), start dates may be adjusted, but will not go past January 1, 2022.
 
Salary: CAD $50,000/year + benefits. Please email completed application form (see below), a letter of application (which should articulate how the proposed research project relates to the Extending New Narratives project), CV, and a description of the project to be worked on during the post-doc (no more than 750 words), and three (3) letters of reference electronically to the ENN Management Committee at new_narratives@sfu.ca. Review of applications will begin March 25, 2021.

Français: https://www.newnarrativesinphilosophy.net/2021-22-appel-post-doc.html

Projet « Pour de nouveaux récits en histoire de la philosophie »(« Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy »), Appel à candidatures pour deux bourses postdoctorales. Année académique 2021-2022

Financé par le CRSH, le projet « Pour de nouveaux récits en histoire de la philosophie » (« Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy ») propose deux bourses postdoctorales pour mener des recherches liées à la découverte et à la reconnaissance d’œuvres philosophiques écrites par des femmes et par des philosophes appartenant à d’autres groupes marginalisés, de la période médiévale jusqu’au début du 20e siècle. Le post-doctorant (la postdoctorante) seront également invité.e.s à contribuer aux objectifs du projet de manière alignée sur leur recherche. Veuillez trouver des informations sur les objectifs du projet à newnarrativesinphilosophy.net

Deux (2) contrats postdoctoraux sont disponibles pour cette année académique. L’un se tiendra Simon Fraser University et l’autre, à l’un des autres établissements partenaires (Western, Guelph, McGill, Duke, Penn, Columbia, Monash, Sydney, Lyon-3, Paris-Nanterre et Jyväskylä). Les Canadien.ne.s et les résident.e.s permanent.e.s de Canada peuvent obtenir des contrats post-doctoraux dans des établissements non canadiens, les non-Canadien.ne.s ne peuvent obtenir ces postes que dans des établissements canadiens.

Les candidats retenus auront un doctorat en philosophie (obtenu au cours des cinq dernières années), une expertise dans une période de l’histoire de la philosophie et un intérêt avéré pour la recherche et la pédagogie impliquant des femmes philosophes et des philosophes appartenant à d’autres groupes marginalisés de cette période. Une expérience dans certains aspects des humanités numériques serait également souhaitable. La recherche proposée doit être doit être nettement différente des travaux de doctorat ou doit représenter un apport important à la thèse de doctorat du candidat.

L’emploi est offert pour une période de 12 mois, idéalement du 1er septembre 2021 au 31 août 2022. Cependant, en raison de la situation produite par la Covid-19 et des retards potentiels dans l’obtention des documents nécessaires (permis de travail, etc.), les contrats pourront commencer après le 1er septembre pourvu que ce ne soit pas au-delà du 1er janvier 2022, et ce pour une durée toujours égale à 12 mois.

Salaire: 50 000 $ CAD / an + avantages sociaux. Veuillez envoyer par courriel le formulaire de demande rempli [téléchargeable en dessous], une lettre de candidature (qui devrait expliquer comment le projet de recherche proposé est lié au projet « Pour de nouveaux récits en histoire de la philosophie »), un CV, la description du projet sur lequel vous allez travailler pendant le post-doctorat (pas plus que 750 mots) et 3 lettres de recommandation par voie électronique au comité du projet d’ENN (Extending New Narratives) à new_narratives@sfu.ca. L’examen des candidatures commencera le 25 mars 2021.

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Pythagorean Women Philosophers panel at the Ancient Philosophy Society.

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