Diversity and Your Department

Resources for addressing diversity and inclusion


Antony, L. (2012). Different voices or perfect storm: Why are there so few women in philosophy? Journal of Social Philosophy, 43(3), 227-255. (PDF)

In this essay, Antony examines two different models that could be used to describe why there is a stark lack of women in philosophy. She argues against the "Different Voices" model, which proposes that there are less women in the field because it is a male-driven field and most of the ethical and moral concerns of philosophy derive from that worldview, a worldview that women find fundamentally incompatible with themselves. Instead, Antony advocates for a "Perfect Storm" model, which holds that a unique combination of specific and general gender discriminations come together in philosophy to shut women out. This article offers a sophisticated examination of the discrimination problem still present in the field.


Burns, K. A. (2014). Minimizing and Managing Microaggressions in the Philosophy Classroom. Teaching Philosophy, 37(2), 131-152. (PDF)

This essay offers a working definition of the term 'microaggression,' and shows how they can make their way into the classroom. From there, Burns illustrates the impact of microaggressions and gives tips on how to minimize their appearance. This is essential reading for professors that need to familiarize themselves with the concept and improve their classroom environment.

Crouch, M. A. (2012). Implicit Bias and Gender (and Other Sorts of) Diversity in Philosophy and the Academy in the Context of the Corporatized University. Journal of Social Philosophy, 43(3), 212-226. (PDF)

This piece traces the development of a neoliberal ethos in the collegiate system, and how neoliberalism has worked to convert "affirmative action," which recognizes systematic inequality and injustice, to "diversity," which only acknowledges difference. Crouch thoroughly investigates the outcomes of this change, and provides an informative piece that applies both to the field of philosophy and the college at large.

Dotson, K. (2011). Concrete Flowers: Contemplating the Profession of Philosophy. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 26(2), 403-409. (PDF)

In this essay, Dotson finds that philosophy silences diverse voices, by which they mean any voice that goes against the "monochromatic" nature of academic philosophy. To combat this, Dotson argues that we should push against the adversarial/critical methodology as the only suitable methodology of philosophy, and refocus around an inclusive pluralism. The essay also tackles the idea of "academic passing," in which a philosopher must expend an unnecessary amount of energy on making sure their projects fit within the parameters of mainstream philosophy. Overall, this essay is a good place to start thinking about the ways that the field may be exclusionary.

Marcous, C. M. (2014). How to Solve the Diversity Problem. American Philosophical Association Newsletters: Feminism and Philosophy, 13(2), 22-27. (PDF)

In this article, Marcous advocates for an empowerment-based approach in philosophy. This approach would actively work to be inclusive of philosophies powered by underrepresented groups, like Feminist Theory and Critical Race Theory.

Norlock, K. J. (2012). Gender perception as a habit of moral perception: Implications for philosophical methodology and introductory curriculum. Journal of Social Philosophy, 43, 347-362. (PDF)

Norlock ponders why so many female-gendered people drop out of philosophy courses after introductory courses, as opposed to farther down the pipeline. One common reason that inclusivity activists cite is that there is a lack of women on the syllabus for these intro courses. Norlock is remarkably even-handed in her analysis of these issues, humanizing both the advocates for inclusivity and their opponents. This is recommended for intro course instructors.

Olberding, A., Irvin, S., & Ellis, S. (2014). Best Practices for Fostering Diversity in Tenure-Track Searches. American Philosophical Association Newsletters: Feminism and Philosophy, 13(2), 27-36. (PDF)

In this essay, Olberding et al. methodically work through the entire job-search process and give instruction at every step to increase inclusivity and reduce biases. There are tips in this study that pretty much every department could incorporate into their hiring process.

Paxton, M., Figdor, C., & Tiberius, V. (2012). Quantifying the gender gap: An empirical study of the underrepresentation of women in philosophy. Hypatia, 27, 949–957. (PDF)

The goal of this study is to provide purely empirical data on the gender breakdown of philosophy departments, based on surveys sent to U.S. institutions. In their findings, we see that there is a steady drop in female philosophers from intro courses to faculty positions. They also find a positive correlation between number of female faculty members and retention of female students in these departments. This is a good article to refer to if you need straight facts and data.