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What are we going to talk about? November 9, 2010

Posted by psawomenscaucusblog in Administrative, Reader participation.
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At our Saturday breakfast meeting this year, when the idea of this blog was raised, my sense was that some members of the Caucus already had ideas about what kind of posts they might contribute to the blog (or that they hoped others might contribute). It’s possible, though, that others were … less sure how this whole blogging thing might work, and what they could possibly bring to the table.

Here, let me assure you that all of you can contribute something! For example:

Accumulated wisdom about the profession.

  • How to do well on the job market (with a kick-ass writing sample and job talk, sample syllabi and teaching demo, CVs and cover letters that communicate well to their intended audience, interview strategies, sartorial strategies, etc.)
  • How to not lose hope and keep body and soul together when the job market is not bountiful. Because sometimes it is not bountiful, and yet, we go on.
  • How to write (and revise) successful papers.
  • How to write a book.
  • How to propose a successful symposium session for the PSA.
  • How to get tenured and promoted. And how to deal if you don’t get tenured and/or promoted.
  • How to position yourself to do “service to the profession”, how to avoid doing too much service to the profession, and how to tell how much is too much.

Burning questions.
Sometimes your own accumulated wisdom isn’t what you need to answer a particular question that’s bugging you — whether it’s how to deal with wildly conflicting referee reports, or how to get your students to care about a particular philosophical debate, or how to grade a hundred papers by next week without losing your entire mind. Setting out your question may help you find someone who has a reasonable answer. (And, as philosophers, we know that clearly articulating what’s bugging us is often the first step to enlightenment.)

Cool and important philosophy worth sharing.

  • What new piece of philosophy should we be reading?
  • What classic piece of philosophy should we be reading?
  • What’s happening in the wider world that shines a light on a philosophical issue in an interesting way?

Sharing links to good things is worth a post (and sharing a link to your own good things is encouraged).

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to get you started! Email us something and let’s have a conversation.

— Janet Stemwedel


Why a Women’s Caucus blog? November 6, 2010

Posted by psawomenscaucusblog in "Why" questions, Administrative.

To answer that question, we need to say something about another question: Why a Women’s Caucus?

The PSA Women’s Caucus was founded in November, 2006 at the PSA meeting in Vancouver, BC. The goals of the Caucus are to informally mentor women entering the philosophy of science, to provide an opportunity for networking among the women of the PSA, to raise the visibility of women in the field, and to address any concerns about women and gender in the PSA.

These are important goals, but some of them are hard to accomplish in a breakfast meeting every two years, or by way of emails to a listserv. Some of the mentoring, networking, and support we might be seeking (or offering) might, in a perfect world, be the kind of thing we’d exchange by the water cooler or coffee machine in a lounge furnished with whiteboards and comfy chairs.

Given that we are spatially dispersed, existing in different time zones (and with different constraints on our time even when we share time zones), it’s my hope that this blog can function like a virtual lounge, furnished with cyberspace whiteboards, creating a space that offers enough comfort for the conversations that will keep us going and enough challenge to keep us honest and engaged. With your help, this will be a place where we can describe our experiences, share our advice, and ask each other for help strategizing, whether about our careers or the philosophical problems that are currently captivating us.

— Janet D. Stemwedel