Progress Update from the Chair
In the statement from the chairs of July 17, 2020, we pledged to work on making Philosophy at Dartmouth more inclusive, working to serve as allies in the struggle against racism.
Here, as promised, we update our progress since then.
- Given the expertise of our new visiting lecturer Esther Rosario, this year we are offering courses on The Historical Philosophy of W. E. B. DuBois (PHIL 1.13) and (for the first time ever) The Metaphysics of Race (PHIL 31.xy). We are also offering a number of other courses this academic year, relevant to issues of race, gender and social justice, including: Identity, Liberalism, and Democracy (PHIL 1.19), Philosophy and Gender (PHIL 4), Race, Justice and the Law (Phil 38.03), and Propaganda (PHIL 50.36).
- Philosophy faculty continue to work on diversifying their syllabi for other courses, both with respect to authors and content. Courses from God, Darwin and Cosmos (PHIL 1.04), to Phenomenology and Existentialism (PHIL 28), to Realism and Anti-Realism (PHIL 31.04), now include a more diverse set of authors and address issues relevant to race.
- To help continue these curricular efforts, with the help of ACLS Emerging Voices Fellow Adebayo Oluwayomi, we hosted a workshop for faculty (in philosophy and beyond) on November 12, 2021 entitled "Teaching Philosophy in a Changing World: A Workshop on Diversifying the Philosophy Curriculum," featuring guest speakers Andrew Soto, Daitso Ruwe, and Kelisha Graves. We are grateful to the Leslie Center for the Humanities for co-sponsoring this event.
- The first annual Race, Gender and Justice Workshop was held on April 30, 2021. Dr. Derrick Darby, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University, and Dr. Christian Davenport, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, conducted a live recording of their podcast "A Pod Called Quest," followed by a question-and-answer session. The topic of the podcast was the nature, practice and responsibilities of student social justice activism, considered from both a philosophical and an empirical perspective. Given the Covid restrictions at the time, the event took place over zoom. Over 40 students and faculty attended, and the discussion was lively.
- The second annual Race, Gender and Justice Workshop will be held on April 7-8, 2022, and is planned as an in-person event. Our confirmed speakers are Tina Botts (Visiting Scholar, Dartmouth College): "Is the U.S. Constitution an Anti-Racist Document?"; Catherine Clune-Taylor (Princeton University): "Covid-19 Anti-Vaxxers, White Supremacist Suicidality and Racialized 'Risk'"; Adebayo Oluwayomi (Texas A&M University ): TBA; Ayanna Spencer (University of Connecticut): "Contested Self-Defense and Criminalized Black Survivors: On Burdens-Based Epistemic Oppression." Other participants include Yarran Hominh (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow) and Esther Rosario (Lecturer). The event will include undergraduate presentations, and a panel discussion on how philosophy can make a difference to pressing issues of injustice. We are grateful to the Leslie Center for the Humanities for co-sponsoring this year's event.
- Our first in-person colloquium since Covid was held on September 27, 2021. To broaden our outreach to non-Western philosophy, the topic was "Believing in Dao" by Chad Hansen, Chair Professor of Chinese Philosophy (emeritus), University of Hong Kong. We are grateful to the Department of Religion for co-sponsoring this colloquium.
- Student Fellowships:
- We began awarding Student Social Justice Research Grants in Spring of 2021, and we have so far made nine awards. These have enabled Dartmouth undergraduates to do independent research on topics ranging from water governance on indigenous lands, to the relation between anti-discrimination law and affirmative action and reparations, to climate justice and global inequalities. For a full list of projects, please visit this site. Given the high demand and interest in this program, we hope to continue it at least through 2022.
- We hired Esther Rosario as a visiting lecturer for Academic Year 2021-22. Professor Rosario has research and teaching interests in philosophy of race and gender.
- We also have been pleased to welcome Yarran Hominh as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, whose areas of specialization include social and political philosophy and philosophy of race.
- We have advertised for and hope this year to hire our first Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy of Race, African-American Political Thought, or Africana Philosophy. We are grateful to Samuel Levey, Dean of Arts and Humanities, for the opportunity to host this postdoctoral fellow.
- During academic year 20-21 we undertook a joint search with Government for a candidate working in social and political philosophy, with particular interest in African-American political thought and philosophical issues related to race. We made an offer to an outstanding candidate, who unfortunately for us, ultimately accepted an offer at another institution.
We are grateful to all those who have helped make these changes possible, including the Leslie Center for the Humanities for co-sponsoring events, and Professors Kulvicki, Lewis, and Thomas, who have served as the department's Social Justice Committee. We know the work is far from done, but hope to be able to build on these steps to continue towards a more inclusive future for philosophy at Dartmouth, with an eye also to the impact philosophy can have on the world.