Tuesday, April 17, 2007

They Are Night Zombies!!

There's a really interesting thread right now over at Leiter's place. Someone wrote to Leiter with questions about different departments' hiring policies "related to demographic attributes of candidates." First, that's a pretty funny euphemism. We are, of course, talking about the fact that by and large philosophy departments are snowy white sausage parties, and we're trying figure out what departments can do to change that.

As you'd expect with a discussion like this, it didn't take long for some clown to start complaining in the comments about affirmative action hires, with hoary old tales of evil deans sending dictats from their Commintern Offices decreeing that No One Shall Be Hired Who Has A Penis. This results, in these old yarns, in scores of smart, qualified, charming and hard-working young white guys getting passed over in favor of a woman (Or a black woman! Or a lesbian!) who coudn't analyze her way out of a paper bag. Because really, the white man just can't catch a break.

These stories are idiotic, but like zombie lies, they just won't die. So imagine my relief that, for the most part, the commentors in Leiter's thread aren't buying. If there's all this pressure to hire more women in philosphy, why aren't there, you know, more women in philosophy? Of the top 54 philosophy departments in the
US, guess how many have as many women as men on their faculty? Seriously, guess. It's one. One fucking department. Two departments have none. Only six of 54 have much better than a one-to-two ratio of women to men. On the whole, I'd say dudes are doing okay getting jobs in philosophy. And it's nice to see recognition of that reality reflected in Leiter's thread. Makes me think we might kill those zombies yet.


Anonymous said...

If the philosophy gig doesn't work out, you should probably start a klezmer band called 'Snowy White Sausage Party'.

Think about it. You could go places.

Anonymous said...

Wait, if UMich has only one woman out of 22 faculty, how does it get ranked so high in feminist philosophy? I know men can do feminist philosophy--or so it's argued--but one out of 22?

P.G.O.A.T. said...

Michigan gets the feminist philosophy ranking because their one woman is Elizabeth Anderson. And she is, to put it mildly, THE SHIT, feminist-wise.

Unfortunately, feminist philosophy is still so peripheral that one big name on faculty is sufficient to make a dept highly ranked in it.

Actually, UMich now has two women. And Sarah Buss is also all kinds of fantastic.