Putting together a database of work by women

May 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’d like to draw attention to a really wonderful resource put together by the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Standing Committee for Women in the Profession. This data base, Women’s Works (http://women.aap.org.au/papers/index.html), is a resource for anyone teaching undergraduate courses (or indeed, graduate ones!) who wants to include more works by women on their syllabus. Papers are all authored by women and can be searched by title, author, or – fantastically! – philosophical area, so that it’s easy to get a gender-balanced reading list.

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§ One Response to Putting together a database of work by women

  • While I sympathize with the motivation, and generally applaud the idea, I think the database as it now stands may be of limited value. Maybe some areas are better represented than others — I’ve only examined a couple — but representation seems to be extremely thin. The ‘epistemology’ section, for instance, includes only four papers, one of which (Zagzebski’s) is an overview, and one of which (Gendler’s) is only tenuously related to epistemology. (Both of these authors have excellent unlisted work in epistemology that is both relevant and representative of their own research.) Unless it were more comprehensive — frankly, by orders of magnitude — I just don’t see this helping someone who is putting together a syllabus. It may even contribute to the impression that women have little to contribute, if someone came to this database expecting it to provide an accurate representation of the important work done by women. This is of course not correct — there’s lots of good mainstream epistemology done by women. (A few obvious names that come to mind are Jessica Brown, Carrie Jenkins, Jennifer Lackey, Miranda Fricker, Jennifer Nagel, and Sally Haslanger.) I see that one can suggest additions to the database, but the scope of the deficit is a bit daunting.

    I wonder whether it might be worth inquiring into integrating a procedure for searching for publications by women in an extant, more comprehensive database, like PhilPapers?

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