Shocking ableism from the Sunday Times


Feminist Philosophers

The Sunday Times printed an editorial by UCL psychology professor Adrian Furnham that’s so shocking in the blatant ableism it endorses that I’m really at a loss for words. Here’s the conclusion:

Psychiatrists have grouped those with personality disorders into three similar clusters: dramatic, emotional and erratic types; odd and eccentric types; and anxious and fearful types.

There are three important questions. The first is how you spot these people at selection so you can reject them. This is easier with some disorders than others. It is virtually impossible to spot the psychopath or the obsessive-compulsive person at an interview. Clearly, you need to question those who have worked with them in the past to get some sense of their pathology, which many are skilled at hiding.

The second is, given that they have already been appointed, how to manage them. There is, alas, no simple method that converts the antagonist…

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Third Biennial Mentoring Project for Pre-Tenure Women

Feminist Philosophers

The 3rd Biennial Workshop of Mentoring Project for Pre-tenure Women Faculty in Philosophy, co-directed by Louise Antony and Ann Cudd, will begin accepting applications this fall, and take place June 2015.

Mentees will be assigned a networking group consisting of a mentor and four fellow mentees working in similar fields. Each mentor will be responsible for providing written feedback on the workshop papers of each of her mentees, and for participating in discussion at the workshop. Mentees will take responsibility for providing written feedback on the papers of their group members, and will serve as discussion leader and first reader for one paper and second reader for another. In the long term, group members will actively monitor the progress of each others’ careers, offering philosophical feedback and, in the case of the mentors, advice about professional development along the way.

Visit the site, here, for more information.

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American Horror Story: Asylum

minor spoilers…

This television series set in the 70s highlights the unexpected twists and interactions–the sheer contingency of factors–that can land someone at Briarcliff, the titular asylum. It’s a thin line between normal and abnormal in this horror story. Unfortunately, in showcasing how easy it can be to be “committed” in a patriarchal, homophobic, and racist society, the series creates a bubble for the story’s protagonists–they are not *really* mentally ill; they do not belong at Briarcliff. But that implies that someone does belong there, and the show does more than just suggest this. Those who “belong” at Briarcliff are the visual backdrop for nearly every scene – they are abused, pushed, ignored, and left nameless and voiceless (except when contributing to the screams, groans, and audible mayhem of the atmosphere of Briarcliff).

That said, “Asylum” had a surprisingly strong feminist message. The series’ “last girl” – Lana – is queer and strong, while Jude, who once acted as handmaiden of the  patriarchy, ends her life with a special message for Kit’s daughter — essentially, never rely on a man to set and accomplish goals for you the way St. Jude relied on the Monsignor.

But can the disability rights issues presented by “Asylum” be resolved with a simple revolt against the patriarchy? The true horrors revealed by Lana’s eventual exposure of Briarcliff–neglect and abuse among those held there–suggests not.