A workshop on diversity and exclusion in philosophy

Friday 29 September 2017
Radboud University

Academic philosophy has a diversity problem.

While gender, racial and ethnic diversity flourishes in many other disciplines, philosophy departments in Europe, North America, and Australia remain startlingly true to an age-old formula: predominantly white, Western males studying the thought of other white, Western males. In the Netherlands, only 4.5% of “hoogleraren” (full professors) of philosophy were women in 2011.

The curricula of domestic Bachelor programmes display a similar monoculture: references to feminist philosophy are virtually non-existent, out of eight programmes only three offer courses on non-Western traditions, and “Global Philosophy” is a mandatory course at only one university. To be sure, these are but a few glimpses of the exclusionary matrix that is at work in academic philosophy.

This workshop is a call to reflection and action, aimed at philosophy students who are dissatisfied with the lack of diversity and the persistence of exclusion in their discipline. In the course of one day, we will consider the white, Western, male dominance in philosophy from a variety of angles. Our main sources of inspiration will be feminist and post-colonial theory as well as gender, sexuality and disability studies.

Questions to explore

  • What types of exclusion are at play in philosophy?
  • What is at stake in exclusion and diversity? Are we facing a problem to begin with? If yes, is it a problem of justice, politics, epistemology, or a combination of these?
  • Is diversity an appropriate response to exclusion? Do we need more radical approaches instead?
  • How can one use certain micro-strategies (e.g., gender-sensitive discussion techniques) to promote the inclusivity of the philosophical practice ?

Our speakers will cover a number of these questions, and more, through lectures and a panel discussion.