Archive | June, 2013

TrowelBlazers: In search of the female Indiana Jones

23 Jun

TrowelBlazers: In search of the female Indiana Jones

Between 1901 and 1905, totally unchaperoned, the twenty-something year-old Dorothea Bate explored the cliffs, caves and mountains of Cyprus and Crete in search of fossils. She was phenomenally successful, with her fossil finds becoming an important part of the collection at London’s Natural History Museum that I now work on. To do all of this as a woman in the early 1900s, I thought, she must have been truly extraordinary.

Except I was wrong. Daring, clever, courageous and pioneering, yes — but extraordinary? It seems not.

At the same time as Dorothea Bate was exploring Crete, an archaeologist named Harriet Boyd was directing the excavations of the Minoan town of Gournia. With her were two more women, Edith Hall and Blanche Wheeler. This image of not one, but four Edwardian women, digging for fossils and Minoan potsherds during the turbulent early days of post-Ottoman Crete surprised and captivated me. So I did the obvious thing and tweeted about it. I was totally unprepared for what followed.



Pants on fire. Being turned down is far too easy

20 Jun

Pants on fire. Being turned down is far too easy

I happen to know a lot of women working in core area C. Apparently A didn’t. So, I thought I’d help out A by suggesting a few women.

After each of my suggestions A replied, “I already invited her. She turned me down.” This went on for a while. As I moved down my list of female philosophers I received the same reply:. “Yep, already invited her.”


I had at that point mentioned about ten female philosophers. What A probably wasn’t aware of was that I had also mentioned a relatively unknown male philosopher with a gender-neutral name as well as a lesser known Hollywood actress! “Yep. Already invited her,” A had replied.


Name Five Women In Philosophy. Bet You Can’t.

18 Jun

Name Five Women In Philosophy. Bet You Can’t.

Adleberg and Thompson noted that we don’t know exactly why women leave philosophy, but thanks to SPP-supported research by Molly Paxton, Carrie Figdor and Valerie Tiberius, we have some idea of when: the biggest drop in the proportion of women in the philosophy pipeline seems to be from enrollment in an introductory philosophy class to becoming a philosophy major. At Georgia State, for example, women make up about 55 percent of Introduction to Philosophy students but only around 33 percent of philosophy majors.


21 Examples of ‘Serious Journalism’ From Women’s Magazines and Websites

17 Jun

21 Examples of ‘Serious Journalism’ From Women’s Magazines and Websites

A recent article in The New Republic wonders why women’s publications don’t get credit for tackling complex, important topics.



How Colleges’ Lenient Sexual Assault Policies Allow Serial Rapists To Escape Punishment

16 Jun

How Colleges’ Lenient Sexual Assault Policies Allow Serial Rapists To Escape Punishment

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that about one in four women experience sexual assault during their time in college. And, according to David Lisak — a former clinical psychologist who now consults the U.S. military and college administrations on issues of sexual assault — those sexual crimes are perpetrated by a relatively small number of men. Lisak says that most college rapists are repeat offenders.

“College presidents don’t like to hear this, but these are sex offenders,” Lisak explained during a recent rape prevention event at Harvard University. “Every report should be viewed and treated as an opportunity to identify a serial rapist.”

Progress in dealing with sexual harassment (1)

11 Jun

What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?

This isn’t quite the kind of story the last post is looking for–but it is a story about sexual harassment being taken seriously by individual philosophers.

One of my professors has a standing policy that he could not in good conscience recommend some one for a teaching position if they sexually harass their colleagues, or otherwise significantly contribute to creating a hostile environment. If someone would like a recommendation letter from this professor, they should expect to have a serious conversation with him about equity issues and pedagogy.

Another of my professors has a standing policy that if multiple students make it known to him that a particular student makes them uncomfortable (by, e.g., hitting on them, regularly making sexist remarks, etc.), the offending student will not be allowed to participate in activities organized by this professor (reading groups, conferences, etc.) until the offending student is able to reconcile themselves…

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The Formidable Friendship of Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt

4 Jun

The Formidable Friendship of Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt

(by Michelle Dean for The New Yorker)