Singing in the Fire: Stories of Women in Philosophy / Edition 192

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Overview

Ask most people to imagine a philosopher and they probably think of someone like Socrates—absent-minded, perhaps, but with a sharp intellect and a thirst for the truth. A woman juggling car pools and housework is not the first image that springs to mind, but women have taken huge steps in the philosophy profession over the past 50 years. Still, to this day, well-established women philosophers continue to face sexism from colleagues and students. Singing in the Fire is a unique, groundbreaking collection of autobiographical essays by leading women in philosophy. It mines the experience of the generation that witnessed, and helped create, the remarkable advances now evident for women in the field. These women are leaders and innovators, looking back on how they have been treated, how they might have done things differently, and how we might make progress in future generations.
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Editorial Reviews

Mary Mothersill
Sexist and racist prejudice are as virulent in the academy as elsewhere. The statistics are familiar but the point is brought home by this collection of autobiographical essays by women philosophers. The contributors are among those who have made it, have found a relatively secure niche in their chosen profession. What they describe is the obstacles they encountered along the way. These range from discriminatory practices that are technically illegal to embarrassing little sexist jokes. What enabled these women to survive is their passion for philosophy and for teaching together with the support of at least one sympathetic soul—colleague, friend, or spouse. Their stories—detailed, circumstantial, and even-tempered—are both informative and moving. (Think of those women, perhaps equally talented, who are less indefatigable or less lucky and who have been left behind!)
Eva Kittay
These twelve war stories need to be read by young women entering philosophy and veterans alike. We can laugh (at the absurdities of venerable scholars acting as proverbial sexist fools), cry (with the authors as they face painful affronts to their dignity and self-esteem), and celebrate the immense courage of the generation of women who have worked to transform a particularly intransigent segment of academia, and open more doors for women in philosophy. The book is full of both fire and song. It is a book we need today.
Sandra Harding
I couldn't put down this moving, informative, and often witty collection of essays. They reveal important sources of feminist philosophy in the life experiences of women philosophers, not to mention glimpses of the normal, everyday misogyny that, alas, is still detectable in philosophy departments today, some three decades after the episodes reported here. These essays should be required reading for every graduate student in philosophy, male or female, and for the rest of the profession.
George Yancy
This superb volume reveals how misogyny and patriarchal normative structures and practices, within the alleged 'ethereal' and abstract field of philosophy, operate to denigrate and sexualize women as objects, rendering their bodies, identities, and concerns incompatible with the demands of the life of the mind. Singing in the Fire is an apt and effective metaphor for this collection of honest personal narratives by prominent women philosophers who forged their philosophical identities with courage, vision, and tenacity.
Chronicle of Higher Education - Carlin Romano
In various less spectacular ways than documented by tales of the arrogance and oafishness woman philosophers face, these essays drive home the impact of the autobiographical on the philosophical. When philosophers share the details of their lives, the impact extends to the reader.
Metapsychology Online Reviews
Reading Singing in the Fire: Stories of Women in Philosophy is like attending a great dinner party, where every guest is smart and fascinating, an you stay too late, knowing you'll regret it at work the next day but you don't care, because you want to talk, really talk, to everyone there.
Dialogue
Singing in the Fire is able to bring women from all across the field of philosophy with completely different life stories together so that more can be learned of them as a whole, while their individual experiences allow the reader to have a greater understanding of who they are and where they come from. It is a great book with so many aspects of the field represented and many useful applications that it is a must for the shelves of all women philosophers, present as well as up and coming.
The Chronicle Of Higher Education
In various less spectacular ways than documented by tales of the arrogance and oafishness woman philosophers face, these essays drive home the impact of the autobiographical on the philosophical. When philosophers share the details of their lives, the impact extends to the reader.
— Carlin Romano
Library Journal
In this collection, a dozen contemporary American and British women present autobiographical pieces on their careers in philosophy. Claudia Card and Andrea Nye may be familiar to lay readers as well as scholars; others less known to the public include Alison Jaggar, Uma Narayan, Martha Nussbaum, and Ofelia Schutte. Each approaches the project of talking about herself in relation to academic philosophy with an independent angle so that readers may learn about her birth family, her involvement with founding organizations, and even her personal epiphanies. In spite of the book's brevity and the essays' relative concision, the spheres of ethnicity and sexual orientation, as well as of analytical and continental philosophy, are represented and discussed. Gender politics in academia, tenure struggles, experiences with sexual harassment, and the evolution of feminist studies also receive attention. To boot, managing life in high school and graduate school, with parents and with children, respectively, are examined, making this good company for a thinking woman in any of those circumstances. Each piece is well written, and the editing retains each woman's voice. An excellent addition to public as well as academic collections.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Metapsychology
Reading Singing in the Fire: Stories of Women in Philosophy is like attending a great dinner party, where every guest is smart and fascinating, an you stay too late, knowing you'll regret it at work the next day but you don't care, because you want to talk, really talk, to everyone there.
Chronicle of Higher Education
In various less spectacular ways than documented by tales of the arrogance and oafishness woman philosophers face, these essays drive home the impact of the autobiographical on the philosophical. When philosophers share the details of their lives, the impact extends to the reader.
— Carlin Romano
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742513839
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 192
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Mart'n Alcoff is professor of philosophy, political science, and women's studies at Syracuse University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A Life Sentence in Bohemia Chapter 2 How not to make the right career moves Chapter 3 Finding my voice: reminiscence of an outlaw Chapter 4 Taking oneself seriously, but not too Chapter 5 Freethinking? Chapter 6 Etc. Chapter 7 What's a brown girl like you doing in the ivory tower? or, How I became a feminist philosopher Chapter 8 'Don't smile so much': Philosophy and women in the 1970's Chapter 9 At the feet of Mrs. Ramsey Chapter 10 Autobiography of a whistle-blower Chapter 11 Philosophy and life: A singular case of their interconnection Chapter 12 Getting here from there
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