Directory of Philosophers from Underrepresented Groups


The UPDirectory is a new website that provides a directory of philosophers from traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy. From the site:

The purpose of the directory is to provide an easy-to-use resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the work of philosophers who belong to underrepresented groups within the discipline.

The directory includes information about philosophers who belong to traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy and who (1) write philosophy in English and (2) have a position researching or teaching philosophy, or (3) have previously held a position in philosophy and are still active in philosophy, or (4) have published an article in a philosophy journal or a book on a philosophy list, or (5) either hold or are working towards a PhD. or M.A. in philosophy and conduct research in philosophy.

For the purposes of the UPDirectory, traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy include women philosophers, black philosophers, Asian philosophers, Latina/o and Hispanic Philosophers, Indigenous/Native philosophers, LGBTQ philosophers, and philosophers with a disability, among others.

The site is a work-in-progress. Philosophers are still being added and there is a form on the site for philosophers who wish to be included. (Thanks to Ruth Chang for this information.)

UPDATE: New thread for discussions of issues related to philosophy and having grown up in poverty here.

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Tim O'Keefe
6 years ago

How about adding first-generation college students to the pool of underrepresented groups? I don’t have data at hand, but I’d be really shocked if that isn’t a relatively underrepresented group among academic philosophers.Report

Zara
Zara
6 years ago

Though social-economic class is hard to pin down, I suspect that low SE class is one of the greatest barriers to entry into the profession. How many philosophers grew up in poverty? How many philosopers had no parent attend post-secondary education? How many philosophers’ parents were factory workers?Report

Anon Grad Student
Anon Grad Student
6 years ago

Want to second this. Coming from a low SE class, working in philosophy has felt very isolating. I’m not sure of one other person with a similar background. Its never discussed.Report

another anon grad
another anon grad
6 years ago

Just want to add that I also come from a very low SE class. I also feel totally isolated by philosophy. Hell, I feel isolated by academia in general.Report

another anon grad
another anon grad
6 years ago

While we’re on this topic, let me throw in an anecdata point: I’ve seen a couple of very bright grad students get passed over for funding, teaching, etc., because they come from lower SE backgrounds. (They were also kind, hard-working, collegial, etc.)Report

Ligurio
Ligurio
6 years ago

It strikes me that the categories of “traditionally underrepresented groups” listed by the UPDirectory is emblematic of the Left’s disastrous substitution of identity-politics for class-politics over the last half-century. The end result of this substitution, however well-intentioned its proponents are, is the recent celebration of Walmart for elevating a black woman to the position of Vice President (or some similar high-managerial position), and of union-busting, farmer-crushing Starbucks for supporting gay marriage. But perhaps I am being too cynical.Report

anony2
anony2
6 years ago

Except for what I learned from reading a bit of Marx when I first began University, I didn’t really understand what class was for a long time. In retrospect I think it explains many of my social experiences and frequent sense of alienation in academic philosophy. Money was not an issue, but my parents would not have considered spending it on education. Lucky for me, high quality public education with low tuition costs was available in my state at that time in history. Neither my parents, nor cousins or aunts or uncles, had any post-secondary education till after I did. I was the first one in my family to go to university, let alone graduate school. My parents still have a pretty vague idea about what a PhD is, or why someone might move around the world in pursuit of academic posts. On the other hand, perhaps because I was already going against the grain with respect to class expectations, I suspect (though there is no way to measure this obviously) that it did not feel as difficult for me to go against the grain with respect to gender expectations as it might feel for some other women. Or maybe it was difficult but I was already used to being an outsider, so it seemed familiar, expected.Report

Kenny
6 years ago

There seems to be a coding error in the database somewhere. The category for “Philosophy of Law” seems to list all the people who have “Philosophy of Logic” as an area. (I discovered this the old-fashioned way, by searching for myself. All the other lists I showed up on are accurate.)Report

notatheist
notatheist
6 years ago

There are fewer theists in philosophy (about 15%) than there are women (about 25%). Are theists an underrepresented group?Report

Kenny
6 years ago

It might be more relevant to ask not about current religious beliefs, but about what religious beliefs current philosophers had before they entered university. Lots of people change their views during their educational process, but far fewer people change their gender. (Of course, even if people who grew up theists are not underrepresented, one might find it problematic that the discipline seems to strongly encourage these people to change their religious views in order to continue. But it’s at least arguable that this is part of what one does as a philosopher – change one’s views about metaphysical/epistemic/normative issues.)Report

karl
karl
6 years ago

Is this getting a bit ridiculous? Look. If there is one class of people who can demonstrate that they victims of discrimination it is political conservatives. Also, I have had quite a few friends who were raised (and some continue to be) devout members of their respective faiths, they too feel like outsiders in most mainstream areas of philosophy. I have heard this myself from religious Lutherans and Mormons. Jews certainly have a funny relationship with academia too. One certainly does not see many Orthodox Jewish philosophers around. They have been historically discriminated against by virtually all universities on the planet, though the secular among them seem well enough represented at this point. In the US, military veterans have been discriminated against in general and certainly by academia. I know some Arabs feel marginalized by US society and American and European academic life too. People whose native language is not English have been grumbling lately. Add in females, homsexuals, non-cis people, the transgendered, individuals who are clearly identifiable as members of a racial minority (blacks, hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, etc), disabled people, immigrants, illegal immigrants, stateless people, the poor (who I suspect feel more marginalized in the UK than the US) and miscellaneous disenfranchised people and assorted victims, and we now have a whole lot of lists.

Why not just ask philosophers to put their names on a spreadsheet together with a list of things they believe they have been marginalized for? This way we can have it all in one place and you never know, we might discover that some of us feel excluded for reasons no one ever expected.Report

fred cc
fred cc
6 years ago

I don’t see the main purpose of the directory to compile a list of marginalized philosophers. I see it as a tool to help philosophers solve a national crisis. The educational/income/health etc. gap between people of color and whites is vast. Since this country will soon be mostly people of color, we have a major national problem in our hands. What are some things we can do to help? We can try to end structural or implicit racism. This can be done by making the educational system more diverse. This means, at the very least, not having all white philosophy departments, teachers, text books, colloquia speakers etc. This is especially urgent for departments that serve large minority communities. Such departments are basically communicating this to the community they serve: “sorry, we couldn’t find anyone like you that’s good enough”.Report