Hypatia’s statement

The Board of Directors of Hypatia has issued a statement which is published at Daily Nous.

The Board of Directors of Hypatia would like to clarify the nature of the controversy, since there are misrepresentations in the press and on social media. Further, we would like to articulate the principles we are committed to as we move forward beyond this controversy.

1. The Board acknowledges the intensity of experience and convictions around matters of intersectionality, especially in the world of academic philosophy, which has an egregious history of treatment of women of color feminists and feminists from other marginalized social positions. To those unfamiliar with the issues, outrage about a particular academic publication is often dismissed as nothing more than the censoriousness of hypersensitive groups. The objectionable features of the particular case, considered in isolation, seem too minor to outsiders to warrant the degree of outrage focused upon it. Such dismissal reflects ignorance of the cumulative history of marginalization, disrespect, and misrepresentation of oppressed groups. Usually, objections to a particular academic publication reflect the objectors’ knowledge of a history of grievances of which outsiders are unaware. It is difficult to assess how much of the outrage is properly directed at Hypatia, and how much at other public, academic, or philosophical institutions. Nevertheless, the Board would like to take this opportunity to learn from the expressed outrage. Hypatia has always held itself to a higher standard of inclusion than most other philosophy journals. During the years in which Sally Scholz has served as editor, it has continued to develop these commitments to diversity (including organizing a major conference on diversifying philosophy, the solicitation of special issues and clusters specifically focused on diversity, and the creation of podcasts and video interviews to make Hypatia articles more widely accessible). Going forward, with consultation amongst those who perform various roles for our organization, Hypatia will review its governance structure, procedures, and policies, aiming to continue to improve its inclusiveness and respect for marginalized voices in a manner consistent with the continuation of Hypatia as a scholarly enterprise committed to feminist values.

I’m sorry but no. That gives too much credit to “the expressed outrage” without probing to ask whether the outrage was at all justified, whether it was worked up, whether it was a contagion, whether it was exaggerated, whether it was properly directed, and so on. Not all outrage is justified. The cause can be bad, or the outrage can be misdirected, or both. White supremacists express outrage. Trump expresses outrage. Theocrats express outrage. MRAs express outrage. The mere fact that outrage was expressed is not automatically a reason to “learn from” said outrage.

Also, that part suggests that Tuvel really did do something wrong that set off this outrage. The Board should not be suggesting that.

Ok but people will say you’re not trans so you can’t judge. True, but I’m also not a white supremacist, and yet I judge. The “lived experience” thing is not a conversation-ender.

Eventually they do tepidly defend the publication of Tuvel’s article.

6. The Board stands behind the judgment of Hypatia’sEditor, Sally Scholz, concerning the publication of Professor Tuvel’s paper. On May 6, 2017, Professor Scholz released a statement to the Chronicle of Higher Education affirming that Professor Tuvel’s paper went through the usual double-masked peer review process and was accepted by the reviewers and by the Editor. We endorse her assessment that, barring discovery of misconduct or plagiarism, the decision to publish stands. We also approve her willingness to refer the matter to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The Board also recognizes Professor Tuvel for her work and condemns any ad hominem and personal attacks that may have been directed against her. As a scholarly publication, Hypatia supports our authors and appreciates their contributions to advancing understanding of contemporary social issues.

That is very tepid. It is inadequate. It’s especially inadequate since they promptly all but withdraw it.

7. We regret the harms to current and prospective authors, editors, and peer reviewers of Hypatia that were created by this controversy. We are working hard to respond responsibly to this troubling and difficult controversy. We acknowledge the history and continuation of injustices around matters of intersectionality, and know that many of us have much to learn from those who have lived in and worked on intersections of marginalized racial and gender identities.

That implies that Tuvel committed an injustice around matters of intersectionality. That’s crap.

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