While some philosophy departments nationwide are wracked with scandal and gender issues, UNC is working to ensure inclusivity.
More than 650 people have signed a petition to the American Philosophical Association requesting a code of conduct for philosophy professors, following a string of sexual harassment accusations against professors at universities such as Northwestern University and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“Twenty years ago this stuff would have been swept under the rug,” said UNC graduate student Jennifer Kling. “There is a cultural problem in the department — but it’s in the process of changing.”
The field faces a longstanding problem of gender representation, and philosophers want to understand why.
“Philosophy has historically been the domain of middle-upper class white men,” Kling said. “We have very few women and few persons of color in the profession.”
About 23 percent of tenure-track faculty in philosophy departments nationwide are women, according to the association’s Committee on the Status of Women. UNC has more female philosophy professors and an equal number of men and women pursuing graduate degrees.
“No other department in the top 30 or 40 has anything remotely like that,” said philosophy chairman Marc Lange.