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A. W. Eaton, , . ‘A Lady on the Street but a Freak in the Bed’: On the Distinction Between Erotic Art and Pornography
2018, British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4): 469-488
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Abstract: How, if at all, are we to distinguish between the works that we call ‘art’ and those that we call ‘pornography’? This question gets a grip because from classical Greek vases and the frescoes of Pompeii to Renaissance mythological painting and sculpture to Modernist prints, the European artistic tradition is chock-full of art that looks a lot like pornography. In this paper I propose a way of thinking about the distinction that is grounded in art historical considerations regarding the function of erotic images in 16 th -century Italy. This exploration suggests that the root of the erotic art/pornography distinction was—at least in this context—class: in particular, the need for a special category of unsanctioned illicit images arose at the very time when print culture was beginning to threaten elite privilege. What made an erotic representation exceed the boundaries of acceptability, I suggest, was not its extreme libidinosity but, rather, its widespread availability and, thereby, its threat to one of the mechanisms of sustaining class privilege.

Comment: The paper has implications reaching far beyond the pornography debate. Could similar power relations not impact art classification elsewhere? It might be useful to discuss this in the context of Larry Shiner’s ‘The Invention of Art,’ where the historical processes leading to the establishment of the modern Western system of the arts are analysed, including examples such as the exclusion of weaving as it became a female-dominated profession. Reaching even further, this can be applied to attitudes to art of other cultures, with (post)colonial power relations impacting on the way works are classified. Finally, Eaton’s text can serve as a sceptical argument against the classificatory project altogether: could all our attempts to distinguish art from non-art be just expressions of discrimination along various lines of priviledge?

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Abudu, Kenneth U. , Imafidon, Elvis, . Epistemic Injustice, Disability, and Queerness in African Cultures
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 393-409
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Abstract: Perception, representations, and knowledge claims about disability and queerness vary across societies and cultures. In African cultures negative knowledge claims and representations of disability and queerness create a perception of the disabled and queer that are not only detrimental to such persons in African societies but arguably undermine the work of understanding difference and tolerance in general. These negative claims raise some epistemological questions, such as: how do Africans come to know about disability and how are such knowledge claims validated within African communities? Against this backdrop, this chapter critically examines the epistemology of disability and queerness in African traditions. It shows that the epistemic authoritarianism found in African epistemology leads to an epistemic injustice that contributes immensely to the discrimination against disabled and queer beings as reflected in many cultural practices across the continent of Africa. The chapter argues that knowledge claims about disability and queerness in Africa emerge mainly from neglect, superstition, myth, and, above all, ignorance.

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Adams, Carol, , . The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
2000, New York City: Continuum.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Back Matter: The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism.

Comment: This is a clear and easily accessible introductory text on the relationship of feminism to vegetarianism. The text is compelling and interesting, making a chapter or two excellent for an introductory course that concerns feminism, gender politics, other animals, or vegetarianism. The text in its entirety would be excellent in an upper division course concerning ecofeminism.

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Alcoff, Linda Martin, , . On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?
2000, In Naomi Zack (ed.), Women of Color and Philosophy: A Critical Reader. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 235-262.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: In assessing the likely credibility of a claim or judgment, is it ever relevant to take into account the social identity of the person who has made the claim? There are strong reasons, political and otherwise, to argue against the epistemic relevance of social identity. However, there are instances where social identity might be deemed relevant, such as in determinations of criminal culpability where a relatively small amount of evidence is the only basis for the decision and where social prejudices can play a role in inductive reasoning. This paper explores these issues.

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Alcoff, Linda Martin, , . Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self
2006, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Visible Identities critiques the critiques of identity and of identity politics and argues that identities are real but not necessarily a political problem. Moreover, the book explores the material infrastructure of gendered identity, the experimental aspects of racial subjectivity for both whites and non-whites, and in several chapters looks specifically at Latio identity.

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Anderson, Pamela Sue, , . Feminist Challenges to Conceptions of God: Exploring Divine Ideals
2007, Philosophia 35 (3-4):361-370.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper presents a feminist intervention into debates concerning the relation between human subjects and a divine ideal. I turn to what Irigarayan feminists challenge as a masculine conception of the God’s eye view of reality. This ideal functions not only in philosophy of religion, but in ethics, politics, epistemology and philosophy of science: it is given various names from a competent judge to an ideal observer (IO) whose view is either from nowhere or everywhere. The question is whether, as Taliaferro contends, my own philosophical argument inevitably appeals to the impartiality and omni-attributes of the IO. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.

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Anderson, Pamela Sue, , Beverley Clack (eds.). Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Critical Readings
2004, Routledge.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. Each essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructuralist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study.

Comment: Any one of these chapters would make a great stand-alone piece to study for a philosophy of religion course at any undergraduate level. Part 2 in particular might be more accessible in topic for undergraduates, since it focuses specifically on feminist subject matter, rather than on feminist approaches.

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Anserson, Pamela Sue, , . Gender and the Infinite: on the Aspiration to be All there Is
2001, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 50(2-3): 191-212.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Introduction: In this essay I would like to offer a feminist rethinking of a core topic for a more inclusive philosophy of religion. I advocate a gender-sensitive approach to the topic of the infinite.

Comment: A paper that sets the scene surrounding feminist philosophy of religion, and would therefore be a great introduction to this topic as a whole – in particular, following on from studying ‘classical’ conceptions of a God who is infinite – given that Anderson talks about gendered conceptions of the infinite.

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Appiah, Kwame Anthony, , . Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Issues of Our Time)
2010, WW Norton & Company.
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Back matter: “A welcome attempt to resurrect an older tradition of moral and political reflection and to show its relevance to our current condition.” — John Gray “Cosmopolitanism is… of wide interest-invitingly written and enlivened by personal history… Appiah is wonderfully perceptive and levelheaded about this tangle of issues.” — Thomas Nagel “Elegantly provocative.” — Edward Rothstein “[Appiah’s] belief in having conversations across boundaries, and in recognizing our obligations to other human beings, offers a welcome prescription for a world still plagued by fanaticism and intolerance.” — Kofi A. Annan, former United Nations secretary-general “[Appiah’s] exhilarating exposition of his philosophy knocks one right off complacent balance… All is conveyed with flashes of iconoclastic humor.” — Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature “An attempt to redefine our moral obligations to others based on a very humane and realistic outlook and love of art… I felt like a better person after I read it, and I recommend the same experience to others.” — Orham Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Comment: The introduction provides a particularly good entry text to ethics, race and cosmopolitanism.
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Appiah, Kwame Anthony, , . Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?
2007, in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York, London: W. W. Nortion & Company.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this chapter, Appiah offers a cosmopolitan critique of the concept of cultural property/patrimony. By emphasizing the common features of our humanity and the tenuousness of certain cultural identity claims, he puts pressure on conceptions of cultural property that would exclude others, particularly those that have a nationalist character. He raises important philosophical questions about cultural continuity over time, and explores how the location of art can best facilitate its value for humanity. In general, he supports a cosmopolitan/internationalist approach to cultural property that promotes the exchange of cultural products around the world.

Comment: This text offers a clear and effective overview of philosophical issues concerning cultural property, and uses a range of cultural and artistic examples. It offers a concise summary of the legal scholar John Merryman’s classic article in support of internationalism about cultural property (not included in this curriculum). It pairs well with Lindsay’s article.

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Arisaka, Yoko, , . Paradox of Dignity: Everyday Racism and the Failure of Multiculturalism
2010, Ethik und Gesellschaft 2
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Yoko Arisaka

Abstract: Liberal multiculturalism was introduced to support integration and anti-racism, but everyday racism continues to be a fact of life. This paper analyzes first some frameworks and problems that race and racism raise, and discusses two common liberal approaches for solving the problem of racism: the individualized conception of dignity and the social conception of multiculturalism. I argue that the ontological and epistemological assumptions involved in both of these approaches, coupled with the absence of the political-progressive notion of «race» in Germany, in fact obscure important paths against racism. Lastly I introduce a politico-existential position from Cornel West and conclude that racism should be seen as a failure of a democratic process rather than a problem of race.

Comment: Offers a short review od the philosophy of race, the pitfalls of liberalism, why liberalism cannot solve racism, the situation in Germany

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Atherton, Margaret, , . Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period
1994, Hackett Publishing Company.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Bart Schultz

Publisher’s Note: An important selection from the largely unknown writings of women philosophers of the early modern period. Each selection is prefaced by a headnote giving a biographical account of its author and setting the piece in historical context. Atherton’s Introduction provides a solid framework for assessing these works and their place in modern philosophy.

Comment: Wonderful collection of selections by early modern women philosophers.
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Banerjee, Pompi, Raj Merchant, Jaya Sharma. Kink and Feminism – Breaking the Binaries
2018, Sociology and Anthropology 6(3): 313-320
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Rosa Vince

Abstract: This paper seeks to share what Bondage-Domination-Sado-Masochism/Kink might offer to feminist understandings of sexuality, gender and power. It has been written by members of the Kinky Collective, a group that seeks to raise awareness about BDSM in India. The paper addresses four key themes. The first theme relates to the subversion of gender and sexual norms in kink from a feminist lens. It challenges popular notions of BDSM which seem to reflect heteropatriarchy, evoking images of, typically, a cisman dominating a ciswoman, making her submit to his desires. The paper argues that this assumption invisibilises male submissiveness with female dominants as well as queer/same sex kink. Even if a seemingly ‘mainstream’ submissive role is chosen by a woman, it has the capacity to be feminist as roles and dynamics are intentional, discussed, negotiated and consented to by all involved unlike in ‘real life’ where power dynamics are rarely acknowledged. Since kink is solidly in the area of playfulness and experimentation, it also makes for a safe space for gender transgressive persons. The second theme addressed by the paper related to Kink, Feminism and Desire. It argues that kink enables a paradigm shift from consent for harm reduction to consent for enabling pleasure and the exploration of desires. It offers another paradigm shift, away from false consciousness to one that brings to focus on the unconscious. In this third theme of the unconscious, the paper challenges the false binary of sexual fantasies being ‘OK’ vs. ‘not OK’. The unconscious allows for a link between the personal and political such that our politics is less judgmental. Being in that space where our desires seem to collide with our politics might help challenge the overly rational framework of feminism and help us move perhaps from a politics of certainty to a politics of doubt. The fourth theme of the paper relates to the question of Power in Kink. It argues that kink challenges binary notions of powerful and powerfulness because submission is powerful and that it is precisely because the submissive submits that the Dominant can dominate. Using these four subthemes, we argue that kink can contribute to feminist thought and praxis in India.

Comment: In courses on feminism and philosophy of sex this text will be extremely useful as it offers some key responses to the arguments that feminism and sadomasochism are incompatible.

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Barnes, Elizabeth, , . Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics
2014, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):335-351
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Alison Fernandes

Abstract: Much recent literature in metaphysics attempts to answer the question, ‘What is metaphysics?’ In this paper I argue that many of the most influential contemporary answers to this question yield the result that feminist metaphysics is not metaphysics. I further argue this result is problematic.

Comment: Useful for raising questions about the scope of metaphysics, issues to do with fundamentality, as well as the relation between feminism and metaphysics. I’m using it at the end of a survey course to raise questions about the purpose of metaphysics.

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Battersby, Christine, , . Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics
1989, Indiana University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, women were blamed for having too much passion, imagination and sexual appetite. By the late eighteenth century, however, these qualities had been revalued and appropriated for male artists. The virtues attributed to the Romantic”genius” made him like a woman but not a woman. He belonged to a third, supermale sex. As new and old concepts of woman and genius clashed, there evolved a rhetoric of sexual apartheid which today still affects our perceptions of cultural achievement. Genius from the time of the Greeks has been defined as male. In this study, Christine Battersby traces the history of the concept of genius from ancient Rome to the present day, showing how pagan myths linking divinity with male procreativity have survived into our own time. The author explores the dilemma faced by female creators who have resisted the idea that Art requires “feminine” qualities of mind but male sexual energies. GENDER AND GENIUS argues, against those currently seeking to establish an aesthetics of the “feminine,” that a feminist aesthetics must look to the achievements of women artists in the past as well as in the present.

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