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Buxton, Rebecca, Whiting, Lisa, (eds.). The Philosopher Queens: The Lives and Legacies of Philosophy’s Unsung Women
2020, Unbound
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: For all the young women and girls sitting in philosophy class wondering where the women are, this is the book for you. This collection of 21 chapters, each on a prominent woman in philosophy, looks at the impact that women have had on the field throughout history. From Hypatia to Angela Davis, The Philosopher Queens will be a guide to these badass women and how their amazing ideas have changed the world. This book is written both for newcomers to philosophy, as well as all those professors who know that they could still learn a thing or two. This book is also for those many people who have told us that there are no great women philosophers. Please pledge, read this book and then feel free to get back to us.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Haddock-Seigfried, Charlene. Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the Social Fabric
1996, University of Chicago Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: Though many pioneering feminists were deeply influenced by American pragmatism, their contemporary followers have generally ignored that tradition because of its marginalization by a philosophical mainstream intent on neutral analyses devoid of subjectivity. In this revealing work, Charlene Haddock Seigfried effectively reunites two major social and philosophical movements, arguing that pragmatism, because of its focus on the emancipatory potential of everyday experiences, offers feminism its most viable and powerful philosophical foundation. With careful attention to their interwoven histories and contemporary concerns, Pragmatism and Feminism effectively invigorates both traditions, opening them to new interpretations and appropriations and asserting their timely philosophical relevance. This foundational work in feminist theory simultaneously invites and guides future scholarship in an area of rapidly emerging significance.

Comment: This text is the perfect introduction to the history of how feminism influenced pragmatism, and vice versa, and how pragmatism can still offer a viable philosophical foundation for feminism. So, for students who are interested in both topics, they would do well to read this text. It offers a number of great quotations from early female and African-American proponents of pragmatism, and it also outlines a rich feminist perspective, grounded in a pragmatic outlook, on how to do philosophy and think about society in general.

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Haslanger, Sally. Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone)
2007, Hypatia, 23 (2): 210–23.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: There is a deep well of rage inside of me. Rage about how I as an individual have been treated in philosophy; rage about how others I know have been treated; and rage about the conditions that I'm sure affect many women and minorities in philosophy, and have caused many others to leave. Most of the time I suppress this rage and keep it sealed away. Until I came to MIT in 1998, I was in a constant dialogue with myself about whether to quit philosophy, even give up tenure, to do something else. In spite of my deep love for philosophy, it just didn't seem worth it. And I am one of the very lucky ones, one of the ones who has been successful by the dominant standards of the profession. Whatever the numbers say about women and minorities in philosophy, numbers don't begin to tell the story. Things may be getting better in some contexts, but they are far from acceptable.

Comment: In her 2007 paper, Haslanger sets out the situation of women in philosophy with a particular focus on instutional academic settings. This paper discusses how women are excluded from philosophy (both contemporary and historical) as well as thinking about disciplnary boundaries: why is it that feminist philosophy is not often thought of as 'real' philosophy?

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Hutchings, Kimberley, Owens, Patricia. Women Thinkers and the Canon of International Thought: Recovery, Rejection, and Reconstitution
2021, American Political Science Review, 115 (2): 347–59.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: Canons of intellectual “greats” anchor the history and scope of academic disciplines. Within international relations (IR), such a canon emerged in the mid-twentieth century and is almost entirely male. Why are women thinkers absent from IR’s canon? We show that it is not due to a lack of international thought, or that this thought fell outside established IR theories. Rather it is due to the gendered and racialized selection and reception of work that is deemed to be canonical. In contrast, we show what can be gained by reclaiming women’s international thought through analyses of three intellectuals whose work was authoritative and influential in its own time or today. Our findings question several of the basic premises underpinning IR’s existing canon and suggest the need for a new research agenda on women international thinkers as part of a fundamental rethinking of the history and scope of the discipline.

Comment: In this paper, Hutchings and Owens put forward a new research agenda for women's international thought. This can help us to think though how new canon's might be created or transformed. The paper therefore begins to project of bringing women back into intellectual history.

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Llanera, Tracy. The Brown Babe’s Burden
2019, Hypatia, 34 (2): 374–83.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: In this paper Tracy Llanera relects on her experience as a non-white academic in an Australian university, recounting personal experiences. Many of these highlight the importance of an intersectional approach to the inclusion of women in philosophy. Llanera highlights the ongoing importance of mentorship and representation concluding that there is much more work to be done.

Comment: Tracy Llanera discusses her personal experience as a non-white woman in philosophy. There is much to learn from this piece, most importantly the need for an intersectional approach. Focusing on the personal experience of women (as we also see in other pieces) is necessary to understand the whole picture of contemporary exclusion.

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MacKinnon, Catharine A.. Are Women Human?: and other international dialogues
2006, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Bart Schultz
Abstract: More than half a century after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defined what a human being is and is entitled to, Catharine MacKinnon asks: Are women human yet? If women were regarded as human, would they be sold into sexual slavery worldwide; veiled, silenced, and imprisoned in homes; bred, and worked as menials for little or no pay; stoned for sex outside marriage or burned within it; mutilated genitally, impoverished economically, and mired in illiteracy--all as a matter of course and without effective recourse?

Comment: An excellent collection of essays by MacKinnon that includes some of her critiques of Foucauldian social constructionism.

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Tyson, Sarah. Where Are the Women? Why Expanding the Archive Makes Philosophy Better
2018, Columbia University Press.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Publisher’s Note: Philosophy has not just excluded women. It has also been shaped by the exclusion of women. As the field grapples with the reality that sexism is a central problem not just for the demographics of the field but also for how philosophy is practiced, many philosophers have begun to rethink the canon. Yet attempts to broaden European and Anglophone philosophy to include more women in the discipline’s history or to acknowledge alternative traditions will not suffice as long as exclusionary norms remain in place. In Where Are the Women?, Sarah Tyson makes a powerful case for how redressing women’s exclusion can make philosophy better. She argues that engagements with historical thinkers typically afforded little authority can transform the field, outlining strategies based on the work of three influential theorists: Genevieve Lloyd, Luce Irigaray, and Michèle Le Doeuff. Following from the possibilities they open up, at once literary, linguistic, psychological, and political, Tyson reclaims two passionate nineteenth-century texts―the Declaration of Sentiments from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and Sojourner Truth’s speech at the 1851 Akron, Ohio, Women’s Convention―showing how the demands for equality, rights, and recognition sought in the early women’s movement still pose quandaries for contemporary philosophy, feminism, and politics. Where Are the Women? challenges us to confront the reality that women’s exclusion from philosophy has been an ongoing project and to become more critical both of how we see existing injustices and of how we address them.

Comment: In her book, Tyson discusses why it is valuable recognise the contributions of women philosophers, arguing that their lost contributions have the potential to transform the current field. This opens up interesting questions about the value of representation and how we ought to approach campaigning for the inclusion of women.

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Waithe, Mary Ellen. Sex, Lies, and Bigotry: The Canon of Philosophy
2020, In Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir and Ruth Edith Hagengruber (eds.), Methodological Reflections on Women’s Contribution and Influence in the History of Philosophy, Springer International Publishing.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: In “Sex, Lies, and Bigotry: The Canon of Philosophy” I explore several questions: What does it mean for our understanding of the history of philosophy that women philosophers have been left out and are now being retrieved? What kind of a methodology of the history of philosophy does the recovery of women philosophers imply? Whether and how excluded women philosophers have been included in philosophy? Whether and how feminist philosophy and the history of women philosophers are related? I also explore the questions “Are there any themes or arguments that are common to many women philosophers?” and “Does inclusion of women in the canon require a reconfiguration of philosophical inquiry?” I argue that it is either ineptness or simple bigotry that led most historians of philosophy to intentionally omit women’s contributions from their histories and that such failure replicated itself in the university curricula of recent centuries and can be remedied by suspending for the next two centuries the teaching of men’s contributions to the discipline and teaching works by women only. As an alternative to this drastic and undoubtedly unpopular solution, I propose expanding the length and number of courses in the philosophy curriculum to include discussion of women’s contributions.

Comment: In this scathing chapter, Waithe argues that people who have left women out of the history of philosophy are either inempt of bigoted. Rather than being an accidental fact of women's general exclusion, she argues that women philosophers have been ignored intentionally.

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West, Shearer. Gender and Portraiture
2004, In: Portraiture, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 144-161.
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Added by: Hans Maes
Summary: The gender of both artist and sitter needs to be taken into account when considering the history of portraiture. Explores how and why women were often portrayed in certain roles (as goddesses, historical or religious figures, allegorical embodiments of abstract notions). Discusses why many women artists before the 20th century were portraitists and considers a few examples. Also highlights changing notions of masculinity in portraiture.

Comment: Useful in aesthetics classes discussing portraiture, depiction and representation, as well as philosophy of gender classes discussing representations of women.

Artworks to use with this text:

Lotte Laserstein, Self-Portrait with Cat (1928) vs Otto Dix, Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden (1926)

Both portraits were painted in 1920s Germany by artists linked to the New Objectivity art movement. Still, there is a notable difference between the 'objective' view of the male artist and the subjective self-image of the woman artist.

Elizabeth Siddal, Self-Portrait (1854)

There's a marked contrast between the unhappiness and fatigue visible in this self-portrait and the beauty and eroticism in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Beata Beatrix (c.1862) in which he transfers the ideal qualities of Dante's Beatrice into the real portrait of Siddal.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as "La Pittura" (c. 1630)

It could be said that the artist is complicit in the tendency of portraitists to generalize their women subjects as she embodied herself as the allegory of Painting. Nevertheless, Artemisia does not show herself in an idealized way and by self-consciously manipulating a set of conventions makes a unique contribution to the corpus of self-portraiture.

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