So You Want to Diversify Philosophy: Some Thoughts on Structural Change. Leah Kalmanson (Drake)

April 26, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
80 Claremont Ave
New York, NY 10027

Efforts to diversify philosophy, at the curricular level, often focus on increasing the content covered in a semester: i.e., making room for more women on the syllabus, making room for more non-Western texts and thinkers, etc. Similarly, efforts to diversify philosophy, at the professional level, often focus on making room for marginalized topics and/or members of under-represented groups at conferences, in anthologies, and among faculty (both in terms of demographics and research specializations). This all serves to create an antagonistic situation where marginalized voices must fight to be heard and those in the discipline must make “tough choices” about where to cede precious resources such as syllabus space, publication credits, and faculty hires. I suggest that part of the antagonism, at least in the case of Asian philosophy, arises because we are trying to fit non-European texts and thinkers into disciplinary structures that are themselves designed to accommodate a Eurocentric model for philosophy. By “disciplinary structures” I mean the philosophical canon and historical narrative as well as departmental course offerings, curricular requirements for majors and minors, classroom pedagogical practices, and academic research methodologies. Truly transformative change must take place at the structural level. In this brief talk, I consider the scope of such changes, in concrete terms, and raise questions about the effects these changes would have on the disciplinary identity of philosophy as we know it today.

With a response from:

Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

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