Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, University of Michigan Cartographers Johann Hariman, Annette Bryson, and Nils-Hennes Stear tell us about a talk by Professor Derrick Darby: "Long Live Hip Hop! The good, the bad, and the vulgar".
In a packed Kelsey Museum room, Professor Darby began by recalling his formative years spent in Queens—a New York City borough with a significant place in hip hop culture. Darby contemplated ethical and aesthetical developments throughout the history of hip hop music, using these developments to raise and address questions about its social value: Why ought certain kinds of hip hop music (not) be censored? How does hip hop music itself manage to address its critics? What is the role of hip hop in social criticism and social change? How might hip hop encourage its participants to think philosophically?
Bonus! Click through for their awesome event poster.
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, CUNY Cartographer (that has a ring to it, doesn't it?) Joseph Bendana on two very practical events.
Pedagogy Workshops: Monique Whitaker's talk about pedagogy together with our roundtable discussion of the same topic offered CUNY faculty and students many practical tools for tackling the precipitous drop-off in students of color and women after introductory-level classes. The strategies and techniques presented at these events continue to be discussed and implemented in classrooms throughout CUNY.
“Applying to Graduate School” Panel Discussions: At our panel discussions about applying to graduate school several graduate students as well as Graduate Center faculty members presented a multifaceted overview of the PhD application process to CUNY undergraduates. We also held an extended discussion of the climate and struggles faced by minorities in philosophy. It was heartening to see such a diverse group of students leave the event apparently motivated to pursue philosophy in the face of so many obstacles.
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò and Gabbrielle Johnson tell us about UCLA's new undergraduate mentorship program.
The MAP at UCLA Mentor-Mentee Meetup Event kicked off our yearlong pilot Undergraduate Mentorship Program. The event invited all graduate mentor and undergraduate mentee participants to socialize over pizza and drinks and discuss a wide range of topics, from philosophical ones to questions about the profession and uses of a philosophy degree. The event also aimed to create a sense of familiarity within the pool of mentees as well as between mentees and a breadth and potential network of supportive graduate students wider than their specific mentors. Our feedback on the program indicated both mentors and mentees developed a relationship that was distinct both in quality and in benefits from that of the TA-student dynamic.
From a mentor:
"[I]t has been a pleasure to talk, both about philosophy and about learning in general, with a student who is intelligent and engaged. At first I did not know how my interactions with my mentee would be different in character from my interactions with students as a TA. But it seems to me now that the mentor/mentee relationship does have a different character and that this kind of interaction might be worthwhile for the mentee (I hope)."
From a mentee, on what was most helpful about the program:
I honestly don't know how to qualify what the 'most' helpful thing was about meeting with my mentor - and that's because everything was helpful. As a transfer student, I had absolutely no idea what I was going into, much less what something like 'research' meant. Through my mentor's guidance and clarification of things, I definitely stopped feeling like I had no idea what I was doing all the time. I would say I now only frequently have no idea what I am doing.
From a mentee, general remarks:
I'm really grateful for this program's existence - without it, I wouldn't be applying to grad school this fall with a fantastic writing sample, letters of rec, and research experience. That's because my mentor encouraged me to maintain resiliency in pursuing my goals, and it is because of her I can in good faith pursue philosophy professionally in the future.
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, a talk at CMU by Cartographer Liam Bright.
Open Forum With Carole Lee
In Spring term of 2015 Carnegie Mellon University's Minorities and Philosophy chapter held an open forum on departmental culture, with special guest participant Carole Lee. Dr. Lee had come to CMU to give a talk in the departmental colloquium series, and we in CMU MAP took the opportunity of her presence to tap into her expertise on issues concerning bias in philosophy and demographics of philosophy. We at CMU MAP have had a lot of success with this strategy -- invite people who are independently in the area of our department to participate in talks or events we organise. It saves on cost to the chapter, and we've found that academics are willing and indeed happy to assist the Minorities and Philosophy organisation in our important work. So, especially if your department is willing to assist MAP by providing a venue and snacks as CMU Philosophy thankfully has been, I definitely recommend reaching out to anybody who you know will be visiting your department and asking them to participate in MAP activities. You may be pleasantly surprised at how eagerly professors respond to such requests!
The structure of the forum was kept deliberately simple: after some initial mingling with aforementioned snacks -- bagels and, incredibly importantly since this was in the morning, coffee -- we all sat round in a rough circle. Carole Lee was introduced and all participating were brought up to speed on what Dr. Lee has been up to that she may be able to provide some expert guidance on. After that, participants were asked to air any thoughts they had about departmental policy, climate, or culture, that may be MAP related, and we discussed whatever was raised in light of the combined experience and expertise of those in the room.
One pleasant feature of this meeting was that many of our CMU faculty were friendly and active participants in this discussion, allowing us to be sure that our discussion and its results would have some impact on departmental policy. That said, in discussion with participants after the event, I found that what many said they appreciated most was just the opportunity to discuss issues they had been thinking about some time but had not had the opportunity to discuss with somebody they felt had some expertise on the matter. The meeting hence had all the usual benefits of communal deliberation, while also, through the presence of the invited speaker, allowing participants to gain access to expert knowledge in a friendly and casual setting.
The event was a big success, and I encourage others to hold their own open forums with invited speakers!
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, two events at Harvard by Cartographer Patricia Marechal.
Taller Diálogo de Filosofía en Español/ Workshop of Philosophy in Spanish
This bilingual event featured five Spanish speakers who work and study in Philosophy departments in American Universities and five bilingual commentators. Talks and comments were in Spanish, but a handout in English was provided and discussions were in both English and Spanish. The goal was to offer a sample of the diversity of the work done by Spanish-speaking philosophers who are in the dominantly English-speaking world and explore the richness of Analytic work done in different languages. By discussing philosophical work in English and Spanish simultaneously we can test our theories for linguistic and conceptual parochialism. Other goals were to develop a sense of shared experiences for members of underrepresented groups in mainstream philosophy, and establish a community of support to deal with challenges and difficulties faced by linguistic minorities in academic philosophy.
Myisha Cherry, "Black Rage and the Anger Police: A philosophical look at Lauryn Hill, belle hooks, and Audre Lorde's account and defense of moral anger"
Our Harvard-MAP guest-speaker for the Fall term was the talented and inspirational Myisha Cherry, who presented for us a talk centered on the legitimacy and appropriateness of experiencing anger in situations of racial oppression. Myisha defended the productive role of moral anger to end situations of injustice. The event took place in the Philosophy Department, in our regular colloquia room. It attracted around 50 people, including professors from the Philosophy Department at Harvard, and both Harvard and MIT graduates and undergraduates from different departments. The talk was followed by a reception and party where attendees and the speaker continued the discussion in an informal way. In the wake of the events in Ferguson and Baltimore, Myisha's talk was Harvard-MAP's attempt to elicit discussion about pressing social issues in our philosophical community.
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, Boston University Representative Stacey Goguen tells us about their colloquium on diversity and demographic patterns.
BU Colloquium on Meta-Philosophy:
Diversity & Demographic Patterns in Philosophy
BU's MAP chapter invited two philosophers to speak about the profession and current demographic issues that they find pressing.
Maren Behrensen (whose work includes the ethics of immigration and technology, gender testing in sports, and how romantic love is or is not like patriotism) shared her thoughts about the profession of philosophy in the wake of Peter Railton's Dewey Lecture at the 2015 Central APA meeting. She discussed the various ways philosophers may struggle with depression. She also argued that it was important (and brave) for philosophers like Railton to talk openly about their struggles, though she cautioned us not to take his narrative as the representative one. Perhaps most importantly, we should target the sort of stigma and bias that make it currently dangerous for some philosophers to be open and up front about their mental health. But there are other factors, too, that lead philosophy to becoming a sort of "depression machine." She then dipped into some later Wittgenstein to discuss how issues of mental health can be tied up with the naturalization of learned skill sets - i.e., how the self-conception of the profession can make you feel inadequate because it relies on the notion that success equals talent.
Carolyn Dicey Jennings (whose main area of research is in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, with a secondary research interest in demographic patterns in the profession) presented some preliminary findings:
"The first part of the talk is based on a collaborative project with Eric Schwitzgebel. Our research question is whether women and men tend to specialize in different areas of philosophy. In this talk, I will present some initial findings on this question through analyses of three separate databases. The second part of the talk examines both potential sources and prospective applications of these findings. On the side of potential sources, I will be discussing a few alternative hypotheses that aim to explain the source of gender differences in research specialization, including the work of my graduate student, Yuliya Chernykhovskaya, who is currently testing one of these hypotheses. On the side of prospective applications of this research, I will discuss the efforts we have taken at UC Merced to promote diversity in our philosophy program and some initial results of these efforts."
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, University of Pennsylvania Representative Nabeel Hamid tells us about their successful March workshop. Look out for a reprise next February!
MAP-Penn hosted a one-day workshop on “Non-western Philosophical Traditions” on March 26. The event featured five talks over the course of an afternoon, and was a rousing success.
Topics included Aztec natural philosophy (James Maffie - Maryland), Buddhist conceptions of causation (Ricki Bliss - Lehigh), Indian theories of meaning (Deven Patel - Penn), the city of Istanbul as an "epistemic clearing house" in the early modern period (Harun Kücük - Penn), and the use of thought experiments in classical Chinese ethics (Bryan van Norden - Vassar). As it drew on resources at Penn beyond the philosophy department, the workshop attracted students from a variety of disciplines, and the confluence of perspectives resulted in some excellent discussion.
Encouraged by the enthusiasm of students and faculty at Penn, we are hosting a longer, second edition of the conference on non-western philosophy next Spring, February 26-27, 2016. Mark your calendars!
Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. Starting us off: a write-up of the first Southern California regional meet-up by Simona Mila Capisani (UCI), with pictures courtesy of Michael Nekrasov. Enjoy!
Philosophy & Inclusive Pedagogy
The inaugural SoCal Regional Meeting was a culminating event marking the first collaborative efforts between MAP chapters in Southern California. The event was hosted by the MAP chapter of University California Irvine's Department of Philosophy at a conference venue on UCI's campus. MAP chapter members in attendance were from the following universities: UCI, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, UC Los Angeles, and University of Southern California (USC). There were 40 chapter members in attendance.
Chapter members from the aforementioned universities constructed a research and reading list focused on issues of or relating to inclusive pedagogy and underrepresentation in philosophy. The readings are loosely organized around both theoretical and practical arguments and social scientific research on various issues relating to diversity, best classroom and teaching practices, and teaching philosophy. Theoretical readings on the list offer evaluations of the various mechanisms that contribute to challenges for individuals who belong to underrepresented groups in philosophy at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional level. Some of these readings addressed theoretical and philosophical issues relating to notions such as identity, group membership, structural injustice, while others discussed possible practices that accommodate and beneficially draw on diversity in the classroom. Over the course of the school year individual MAP chapters met periodically and independently with their own members to select and discuss readings from this collectively generated research and reading list. Chapters integrated these readings into their own respective activities and projects throughout the year and some chose to focus closely on particular issues with the intention of “teaching” the topic to the other SoCal MAP chapters at the regional meeting.
An organizational committee was formed by representatives from each of the SoCal MAP chapters. The committee was responsible for organizing and facilitating the regional meeting and serving as the source of communication between chapters. On event day the committee members kickstarted the event by presenting four representative readings from the collective research. These readings set several general themes for a “large-group” discussion session which was the first activity on the event day. The organizational committee members briefly summarized central points in the selected readings and then posed several discussion questions to the larger group of members in attendance who broke off into smaller groups to discuss issues raised in the readings and presentations. These issues ranged from in-class experiences of minorities, to the conditions of under-represented minorities on the academic job market, to inclusive pedagogical techniques, to more specific challenges related to teaching philosophy (for example: how to motivate certain philosophical concepts/texts, the perceived “purpose” of teaching philosophy, the relationship between teaching philosophy and developing critical reasoning, etc.). The large-group discussion section was followed by a catered lunch during which members had the opportunity to meet, share, network, and socialize with chapter members from the various universities in attendance. Following lunch the second portion of the even was structured by two workshop sessions, each of which included three different focused issues. In total there were six different workshop sessions that were facilitated by various MAP members from the chapters in attendance. These workshop leaders introduced these specific topics to smaller groups populated by those interested or curious about the particular topic or issue raised by the workshop. Participants had the option to move between workshops within a session or to attend one workshop in full. Workshop facilitators posed several discussion questions and provided a background context for the particular issue under examination and helped to guide discussion and deliberation. The following is the list of workshops included in the regional meeting:
To conclude the event, the group reconvened for a final “large-group” discussion session facilitated by the organizational committee. Members had the opportunity to share particular chapter goals and upcoming ideas, activities, or events for the following school year. The various SoCal Map chapters also discussed ideas for further collaborative projects and established several short term and long term goals for future regionally organized projects. There was also the opportunity for feedback about the regional event itself, and the organizational committee recorded input from participants about successful elements, points of critique, and ideas for future improvement. The event was noteworthy in its capacity to connect various chapter members to individuals from other universities who share a common commitment to address issues regarding minority participation in academic philosophy. The regional event is a valuable opportunity to find support and further resources in an extended community and it establishes conditions for fruitful and creative collaboration.
A great start for the UK region -- see the report below or on the MAP UK site!
The UK region of MAP now has a website! Check it out here, and feel free to email email@example.com with question or suggestions. Thanks, UK team!