Presidential Address to the APA Eastern, 2012

“Philosophy’s Civil Wars”


Presidential Address, Eastern APA, Atlanta, 2012


A Call for Climate Change for Women in Philosophy


A Call for Climate Change for Women in Philosophy


Linda Martín Alcoff, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center

Reclaiming Truth

Catherine Elgin has usefully diagnosed a "bipolar disorder" that continues to incapacitate philosophy and much of contemporary social theory and that inflicts its unwitting sufferers with a perpetual oscillation between equally unhappy alternatives. As she puts it:

Unless answers to philosophical questions are absolute, they are arbitrary. Unless a position is grounded in agent-neutral, determinate facts, it is right only relative to a perspective that cannot in the end be justified.2

The Problem of Speaking For Others

Consider the following true stories:
1. Anne Cameron, a very gifted white Canadian author, writes several first person accounts of the lives of Native Canadian women. At the 1988 International Feminist Book Fair in Montreal, a group of Native Canadian writers ask Cameron to, in their words, "move over" on the grounds that her writings are disempowering for Native authors. She agrees.2

Survivor Discourse: Transgression or Recuperation?

Michel Foucault argued that speech is not a medium or tool through which power struggles occur but an important site and object of conflict itself.2 He also claimed that bringing things into the realm of discourse, as the confessional structures brought bodily pleasures into discourse and thus "created" sexuality, is not always or even generally a progressive or liberatory strategy, and can contribute to the containment and domination of embodied subjectivities.

Who’s Afraid of Identity Politics?

This volume is an act of talking back, of talking heresy. To reclaim the term “realism,” to maintain the epistemic significance of identity, to defend any version of identity politics today is to swim upstream of strong academic currents in feminist theory, literary theory, and cultural studies. It is to risk, even to invite, a dismissal as naive, uninformed, theoretically unsophisticated. And it is a risk taken here by people already at risk in the academy, already assumed more often than not to be uninformed and undereducated precisely because of their real identities.

Feminism and the Left: An Interview with Linda Martín Alcoff

In this book many of the authors have fruitfully incorporated gender issues into their visions for leftist coalition-building. However, those of us who engage in feminist theory and political activist work on behalf of women have too often seen discourses about gender eclipsed by other leftist political agendas. Frequently gender becomes an afterthought, an add-on to the central issues, something that can be trotted out when it is especially convenient or suits other political aims.

Foucault’s Philosophy of Science: Structures of Truth/Structures of Power

Michel Foucault’s formative years included the study not only of history and philosophy but also of psychology: two years after he took a license in philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1948, he took another in psychology, and then obtained, in 1952, a Diplôme de Psycho-Pathologie.

The Whiteness Question

White identity poses almost unique problems for an account of social identity. Given its simultaneous invisibility and universality, whiteness has until recently enjoyed the unchallenged hegemony that any invisible contender in a ring full of visible bodies would experience. But is bringing whiteness into visibility the solution to this problem? Hasn’t the racist right done just that, whether it is the White Aryan Councils or theorists like Samuel Huntington who credit Anglo-Protestantism with the creation of universal values like freedom and democracy?

Syndicate content