Feature: 7 things you can do with MAP (Minorities and Philosophy)
Highlighted Philosop-Her of Science: Tarja Knuuttila
What We Wish We’d Known: The Academic Job Market
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Feature: 7 things you can do with MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) By Kino Zhao Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) is a graduate student driven international organization aimed at addressing minority-related issues within philosophy. At the time of writing, MAP has 130 chapters throughout the world. For more information, see here http://www.mapforthegap.com/about.html. Despite technically being an “international organization”, the “international” portion of MAP primarily serves as a platform for idea sharing, a source of support, and a guide for chapter development. Local MAP chapters, many of them are converted from existing grassroot initiatives, hold great potential for change at the ground level. In what follows, I provide 7 ideas of things you can do with your local MAP chapter. Don’t have a local chapter yet? Consider starting one by visiting here.
Support MAP at the APA: In addition to supporting its wonderfully active chapters, MAP also maintains a presence at APA meetings through workshop and panel. Those of you who went to the Eastern APA might have seen MAP’s group session on “Skill Building and Improving the Profession”. MAP will once again host a group session on “Creating Inclusive Spaces” at the upcoming pacific APA.
Conduct a climate survey: The first step to solving a problem is identifying it. The best way to identify a problem is through assessment and evaluation. If done right, a climate survey can reveal problems, open up conversations, and help strategize plans of attack. Graduate students at Rutgers developed a great climate survey (https://www.philosophy.rutgers.edu/climate-information/133-graduate/climate/643-rutgers-climate-survey) if you are looking for inspiration. However, to achieve the best interpretability of data, it is always a good idea to tailor surveys according to the specific context of your own department.
Plan a climate training: Once a problem is identified, a training may be called for. There exist a number of diversity trainings out there, but not all of them are best suited to philosophy or to your particular department. Besides, an outside “climate trainer” who is not aware of the specific dynamics existing within a department may find it hard to grasp the underlying core issue. Sometimes the circumstance is such that an outsider is necessary. Instead of a course dedicated to “climate” in the abstract, one could also consider reading groups or seminar sessions that address aspects of the profession with impacts on climate. For example, many chapters organize trainings like inclusive pedagogy, syllabus diversification, imposter syndrome, and cultivating classroom allyship.
Start a MAP blog: The sharing of experiences can be an immensely transformative tool for both the sharer and the listener. It is especially powerful when the sharer and the listener are both there when an incident occurred, and yet had completely different perceptions. Through sharing, we (minority or not) learn to appreciate different perspectives. One way to enable sharing is by starting a departmental blog. It is worth noting that the department needs to be in good enough climate where it is at least safe for students to share negative experiences. Because of the intimacy of the community, it is nearly impossible to keep these posts anonymous. However, as Margaret Farrell, a student at UC Irvine who is in the process of starting such a blog, says, "there's something powerful in attaching one’s name to an experience and say that I am the person this happened to".
Get together and chat: If all of the above sound like work (which might be because that they are work) and you don’t feel like work, there’s always the option of getting together and chat, informally, over wine and cheese (or chips and beer, or coffee and donuts). Informal conversations are a great birth place for great ideas, as well as a “LinkedIn” for finding people who have time, energy and resources to carry out those great ideas.
Tarja Knuuttila is a philosopher of science, philosopher of economics, and philosopher of biology working on representation, modeling and inference. She is currently Professor of Philosophy of Science at University of Vienna.
Tarja wrote her dissertation on models and representation at the University of Helsinki. Following that she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and researcher at Helsinki, and an Associate Professor at University of South Carolina before taking her current position. Before becoming an academic, Tarja worked in economics and business administration, which she has a Master’s degree in.
Tarja has published extensively in top philosophy of science journals. Her most significant contributions have been to philosophy of modeling, where she has explored the explanatory role of models, especially in the economic and biological sciences. She has been awarded three large grants on the topic, funded by the Academy of Finland. Recently she has been awarded a grant from the European Research Council to study extensions of biology beyond life evolved on earth. Tarja has served the discipline as editor-in-chief of the journal Science and Technology Studies, by organizing conferences, and acting as executive board member of multiple societies.
What We Wish We'd Known
What We With We’d Known is a short opinion column that features advice from Women’s Caucus members about a particular aspect of surviving academic life. In this inaugural column, Lauren Ross, an Assistant Professor in the Logic and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of California–Irvine and former Highlighted Philosop-Her of Science, shares her experience with the academic job market. To suggest future topics or volunteer as a writer for a future column, contact Kino Zhao at email@example.com.
The Academic Job Market By Lauren Ross
Going on the academic job market can be a particularly stressful and challenging endeavor! Given what I know now, what advice would I give to someone preparing for the job market? At least four main points come to mind. First, I’d suggest (1) organizing your time such that you are working on the particular “stage” of the market that you are in. Different stages of the job market require very different types of materials and preparation. At the very least, these stages include (i) submitting application materials, (ii) skype/in-person interviews, and (iii) fly-outs.
Spend most of your time and energy on the stage that you are currently in, so that you maximize your chances of moving along in the process. For example, don’t fine-tune your job talk before finalizing your application materials – excellent applications materials are necessary to make it to the job-talk stage. Second, (2) have a plan for daily work, relaxation, and recuperation. Write down what particular work you want to accomplish each day, but also what you are going to do to unwind. Repeatedly completing particular work tasks can help you gain momentum and feel productive, but make sure to include relaxation so that you can keep it up. Third, (3) figure out exactly what activities keep you confident, motivated, and that reduce stress – do these activities every single day (sometimes multiple times a day). When you get anxious or down, what will help you feel better? Exercise? Watching a show? Calling a friend? Take the time to figure out which particular activities really make a difference to your well-being–schedule these into your daily life and implement them when things get unexpectedly difficult. Finally, (4) talk to other people who have been on the job market, and who will be honest about how unique and intense it can be. Talking to someone with this experience can help you anticipate unique challenges and get feedback on specific questions. Also, it can help to remind you that you are not alone in going through this process.
Science Visions is the quarterly newsletter of the Philosophy of Science Association Women’s Caucus. It is produced by Janella Baxter, Julia Bursten, Soazig LeBihan, and Kino Zhao.