Inclusivity in the classroom

Panel Discussion “Inclusivity in the classroom

Daten: 12.02.2015

Ort: HU Berlin

PANELISTS: Helen Beebee (Manchester), Christine Bratu (LMU München), Aline Dammel (FU Berlin) The panel language will be English. It will be followed by a small reception at the HU Berlin Main-building (R 3042B) and is free and open to all participants. The event is organised under the auspices of Prof. Dr. Mari Mikkola’s Feminist Philosophy Colloquium and in cooperation with the Society for Women in Philosophy Germany e.V.   

A recent survey conducted at Georgia State University (USA) by Eddy Nahmias, professor of philosophy, and his graduate students, Toni Adleberg and Morgan Thompson, showed that while male and female students enroll in introductory philosophy seminars in similar numbers, women drop out of the discipline in much greater numbers. The Georgia State survey found that female and male participants (700 in total) experienced the ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ course very differently. Female students generally found the course less enjoyable and the material less interesting and relevant to their lives than their male counterparts. In addition, they reported having less in common with their philosophy instructors and teachers, and they reported feeling less able and likely to succeed in philosophy.

This study is not alone in documenting that women and members of groups underrepresented in academic philosophy feel somehow ‘unwelcomed’ in philosophy classes, that these groups of students find it hard to communicate freely and without anxiety in a group situation, and that they feel being ignored or not taken seriously even when they try to participate.

A number of hypotheses have been put forward to explain this, none of which to date have provided a definitive analysis of what can make philosophy classrooms inhospitable to members of structurally marginalised groups. Nevertheless, professional philosophers are increasingly discussing what we can do to make our classrooms more hospitable, open and inclusive for the benefit of everyone. This panel will discuss precisely such concrete suggestions: which practices should we adopt to foster open and inclusive philosophy learning? How can we (teachers and students alike) deal with difficult situations in a classroom setting? And what can be done to foster a respectful atmosphere that encourages participation?

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dorotheenstrasse 24, R 1.506 17:00-18:30 (followed by a reception)