Every semester I begin courses by asking students to close their eyes and imagine a philosopher doing philosophy.
When I ask students to share what they imagined, I get classic stereotypes. “An old guy” says one. “With a beard,” adds another. “Yeah, in a toga!” yells someone in the back. […]byrdnick.com/teaching#teachingstatement
This is unsurprising. In the United States, few students are exposed to philosophy prior to college. So students’ are more likely to rely on stereotypical representations of philosophers—e.g., the Epic Rap Battles of History videos that people continue to send me.
To overcome these stereotypical representations, many instructors have called for a more representative set of philosophers in their courses. Of course, we tend to default to the status quo (e.g., the less representative syllabi that have been circulating for years). So some scholars have done us a favor by creating lists of texts and scholars that are traditionally underrepresented. Below are the lists that I have found so far.
- Diversity Reading List in Philosophy: https://diversityreadinglist.org
- Diversity and Inclusiveness Syllabus Collection: https://www.apaonline.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=110430&id=380970
- Female-Authors-Only Philosophy of Science Syllabus: https://psawomen.tumblr.com/post/134274029292/female-authors-only-philosophy-of-science-syllabus
- Women in Early(ish) 20th Century Analytic Philosophy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BS0fbQSx39Hm41YswEaNvHlYXJV2WtDrNelm4PZuaXg/mobilebasic
- 35 Brilliant Women from the History of Philosophy: https://medium.com/@callmesipo/35-brilliant-women-from-the-history-of-philosophy-894c2191f776
- Ten Black Philosophers That Should Be Taught In Schools: https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/ten-black-philosophers-that-should-be-taught-in-schools-118c1d5939f0
- Members Of Underrepresented Groups In Philosophy Of Neuroscience: https://philneurounderrepresented.weebly.com
If you are aware of more or better ways to include traditionally underrepresented scholarship in our courses, please feel free to let me know.
And, of course, simply diversifying a reading list doesn’t solve all problems. However, this relatively small amount of progress doesn’t preclude additional progress. So no one associated with these lists is proposing that we give up on additional progress.