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I'd love to hear more about the policies alluded to in this post ("policy about work by women changes", "change in editorial policy at this time"). What were these changes?

Joel Katzav

The Cornell family hired Schurman to chair philosophy at Cornell in 1885 and he becomes president of the university in 1892. Ezra Cornell, one of Cornell’s founders and the source of the money for the university, was explicit that he wanted to found a university that would eliminate discrimination. Schurman becomes president of Cornell in 1892. His commitment to ending discrimination is found in an 1888 address, ‘A People’s University’. Moreover, he supported African Americans at Cornell as well as provided scholarships for Chinese students. Schurman hires Creighton in 1889 and they found the Sage School together. And Creighton becomes, in addition to PR editor, the Dean of the Graduate School from 1914 until 1923. This background, along with the relative numbers of publications in PR and Creighton’s role in training women philosophers, is why I think it is plausible that what we see in PR in the early decades of the twentieth-century reflects a policy not to discriminate. In later decades, I think it is plausible that, at least, there was no longer an effort to pursue all the earlier ideals of the university. I do have some archival material indicating that one 1930s editor (Sabine) did not endorse these ideals when it came to women and acted accordingly.


"Schurman and Creighton were also the founders of Cornell University’s Sage School of Philosophy (Auxier 2005). A surprising proportion of Creighton’s students at the School were women. ... In addition, during this period, Cornell was the most successful philosophy department at mentoring and placing women philosophers (Rogers and Dykeman 2004). Not surprisingly, quite a few of the women philosophers writing in PR during the first half of the twentieth century were Creighton’s students."

I would think that an alternative interpretation of the above is that, during this period, a degree of nepotism was practiced in favor of Creighton's students. When he, and people closely influenced by him, were no longer involved, this nepotism no longer took place, and levels returned to a more "neutral" level that they would have been at w/o the nepotism. (Scare quotes are needed on "neutral", of course, because this means w/ the background level of bias against women, not an actually neutral field.) Maybe that's the wrong reading, but if so, why? Was this considered carefully? How, if at all, was it eliminated as a hypothesis?

Joel Katzav

The prominence of Cornell graduates in PR continues after Creighton dies in 1924. So too, Creighton’s students, including Cunningham and Sabine, continue to be editors in the 1930s and 1940s. In any case, I do not want to deny that Creighton might have given Cornell graduates preferential treatment; it would still remain the case that he played a role in determining the proportion of women among those who received preferential treatment and that it is plausible that this was due to a policy relating to discrimination at Cornell. I also wouldn’t want to exaggerate Cornell’s influence. There were many women (about 70% is my guesstimate) contributing to PR that graduated at other institutions and PR was not alone in having a surprising number of women contributors in the relevant decades.

Alison Stone

This is fascinating, Joel, thank you for investigating this. It is interesting that in the 19th century US - and into the 20th century too, it seems - Hegelianism was relatively hospitable to women (judging by Dorothy Rogers's work). But this is presumably not an intrinsic feature of Hegelianism, since with the rediscovery of Hegel in the Anglophone world since the 1970s the Hegel scholarly community came to be a bit of bastion of men-only philosophy (though it's changing now). Or is it in some way intrinsic - it seems that your thesis is that there is something about analytic philosophy, or mid-twentieth-century, that made it intrinsically exclusive? Or am I misunderstanding?

Joel Katzav

I think that there is some connection between the critical approach that characterised analytic philosophy during much of the twentieth century and analytic philosophy’s epistemic conservatism, overconfidence and relative lack of inclusivity at the time. The speculative side of American Hegelianism and pragmatism, I also think, helped them make room for, and become part of, a kind of speculative philosophy that was pluralistic about philosophical approach, and that tended to encourage greater inclusivity about who was allowed to be part of academic philosophy. It is a complex story, though.

P.S. I seem to remember talking to you about not unrelated aspects of Hegel some twenty years ago, in Cambridge.

John McCumber

It may be worth noting that in the US, the McCarthy Era (which began in 1947 and is in some respects ongoing) was distinctly hostile to women. Landon Storrs in her book "The Second Red Scare" documents the purging from American government of women who had risen to important positions during the New Deal—and also of the husbands of distinguished women, who were labelled as "effeminate" because of their wives' achievements. This was contemporaneous with the "journal capture" that Katzav documents.

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