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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Feminist Philosophy at Mainstream Journals

One commenter at the SWIP listserve noted that as an editor of a mainstream journal she didn't receive any submissions on feminism. Surprising? Well, as Feminist Philosophers point out, many feminist philosophers who have no trouble getting non-feminist work published in mainstream journals find it exceedingly hard to get their feminist work published in the same journals. Eventually they give up and send their work elsewhere.

Of course, there is something of a vicious circle here, which needs to be broken. One commenter notes that she thinks feminist philosophers should keep trying. Why? Because it will help to mainstream feminist philosophy:

those of us with secure jobs have something of an obligation to keep trying the mainstream journals (as long as this remains compatible with our sanity!). Getting papers in them will help to mainstream feminist philosophy, which really needs doing.
There is definitely the issue of mainstreaming feminist philosophy. There is also a different issue which wasn't mentioned in the post. Mainstream journals tend to send submitted articles to former journal contributors for refereeing. If few feminist philosophers publish in mainstream journal, one might suspect that even if submitted work on feminism is sent to very experienced and perhaps even sympathetic referees, such work may not always be refereed by the most qualified people working in the area.

4 comments:

CK said...

Brit,
When you say "mainstream journals" are you talking analytic philosophy, or a wider circle (continental or lit-crit sorts of journals)?

I was looking for some work on gender recently and came up pretty short, unless it was through non-analytic journals. Do you think that feminist philosophy is considered to be postmodern, or not suitable for mainstream journals?

(Oh, and self-serving question--do you know any analytic philosophers dealing with topics related to gender/self? -- I've been reading Judith Halberstam and Judith Butler and they're, especially Butler, pretty far afield from what I am looking for...)

Brit Brogaard said...

Hi Colleen
When I say "mainstream journals" I am talking about a rather narrow list of 20 journals or so. Some of them publish only analytic philosophy (e.g. Analysis) but the majority of journals are willing to consider both continental and analytic (e.g. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research).

Personally I think feminist philosophy is suitable for all of the mainstream journals. Some probably don’t think it is. But that would be a mistake. Feminist philosophy is philosophy that deals with certain gender issues. And one can deal with such issues in an analytic fashion. Of course, there is a respectable tradition in which one would need to place oneself when writing on these issues. But I don't think that there is any philosophical problem which cannot be dealt with analytically (which is not to say that all problems are best dealt with analytically).

Having said that it should be said that some philosophers think the analytic method reflects a way of thinking typically associated with males. Maybe that is right to some extent. But the very claim that analytic philosophy is male-style philosophy is problematic. At some level, saying that analytic philosophy is male-style philosophy is like saying that cars, water-guns, and dinosaurs are boy toys whereas dolls, play-doh and teddy bears are girl toys. Toy labeling perpetuates certain gender schemas which arose at a time when society was preparing boys for the three w's (work, war and wild-life) and girls for the three b’s (breeding, baking and bed-making). Likewise, method labeling perpetuates certain gender schemas which arose at a time when women were not considered thinking creatures.

As for literature relating to gender/self, see e.g. Hypatia's special issue on de Beauvior's philosophy, which was edited by my former colleague Peg Simons (volume 14, 1999). As for more analytic literature on the self, you might want to check out some of the online bibliographies, for instance, this one. However, the list doesn't include much gender-related literature.

Jender said...

You might want to try the Stanford Encyclopedia's Feminist Perspectives on the Self article: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-self/.

CK said...

Thanks!