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07/13/2016

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John Altmann

Shelley, I tried to find a way to contact you personally but because I could not acquire such information, this form will have to suffice. I noted the exact same problem you did about the under-representation of Disabled Philosophers and a lack of discourse concerning the intersection between disability and philosophy in The Stone. I penned a piece titled "The Toxicity of Sympathy" which was a heavily philosophical look at Disability but it was rejected. To be fair, many of my pieces for The Stone and furthermore, they offered space for my piece in the exact series that you speak of though I have yet to hear back from him on actual edits that he said would need to be made.I gladly accepted the space, because I think with how marginalized we are any pocket that we can be afforded to vocalize we need to seize. That said, I wholeheartedly stand with you in your cause in promoting not just disabled Philosophers, but the intersection between Philosophy and Disability. Disability Studies needs to be made more widely known and more scholarship needs to be produced. As an independent scholar in Philosophy for six years who is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, I would love to aide you any way I can with your efforts.

Shelley Tremain

Hi John,

Thanks so much for your comment, which is greatly appreciated. I am very sorry that your work has been rejected by The Stone, apparently for the sole reason that it addresses philosophy and disability, their intersection, and the situation of disabled people. Thank you for alerting readers of this blog to these events. I hope that the NY Times editor contacts you soon about the progress on your piece in the forthcoming column. I think that we need to use a variety of strategies and tactics, in a variety of venues, in order to dismantle the ableism in philosophy and the broader social milieu.

This blog and the Facebook group associated with it work to expose the insidious nature of ableism in the discipline, its tradition, and the profession of philosophy itself, as well as in society at large. I encourage you (and others) to join the Facebook group. Among other things, the group enables disabled philosophers to meet each other and discuss a range of issues, and has begun to forge a community of engaged scholars from diverse sectors of the population and profession. To join the group, just click on the words “Our Facebook Group” at the top right of your screen.

Yours in struggle,
Shelley

Melody

This is truly a shame. I enjoy The Stone and the work it produces a lot, but this is disappointing. Philosophy of disability is relevant and important, and it seems ignorant for The Stone to not acknowledge the importance of exploring philosophical issues framed by a discussion on disability. Perhaps, as has already been alluded to, we can use your exchanges with The Stone to fuel more interest within the wider philosophical community, and get the philosophy of disability more exposure. It sounds like The Stone is attempting to be understanding and enlightened in this area, but are misguided in their efforts. Would additional letters to The Stone from others help do you think? Or some kind of petition philosophers and others might sign protesting The Stone's decision in general? Let me know what I can do to help.

Shelley Tremain

Melody,

thanks very much for your comment. I have also enjoyed many of the articles and interviews in the column; however, I have found it increasingly difficult to enjoy the contents of the column given that work in philosophy of disability has been ignored. To find out that the work (and the issues it covers) is intentionally excluded from the column makes it even more difficult to enjoy reading the column.

I think you certainly are correct that the efforts of The Stone are misguided. The description of the prospective, alternative column is also disappointing, e.g. the stipulation that submissions should not focus "on overt advocacy."

Thank you very much for asking what you might do to change the situation. If you are on facebook or have access to other social media that reaches philosophers or others who read The Stone, you could consider sharing this post there, encouraging people to write to the editor of The Stone. And of course, you could write to the editor yourself.

If anyone else reading this discussion has suggestions of how the philosophical community should respond to this situation, they are encouraged to let others know here.

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