Hypatia transracialism controversy

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transracialism controversy
Hypatia associate editors' apology, 1 May 2017.jpg
Hypatia's associate editors posted an unauthorized apology on Facebook, on 1 May 2017, for the publication of one of the journal's peer-reviewed articles.[1]

April–May 2017

Event Academic dispute
Field Philosophy, feminist philosophy
Disputed article Rebecca Tuvel (2017). "In Defense of Transracialism" (PDF). Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. 32 (2): 263–278. doi:10.1111/hypa.12327Freely accessible. 
Publisher Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, John Wiley & Sons
Request for retraction
  • 29 April: Open letter requests retraction[2]
  • 30 April: Apology from Hypatia's board of associate editors[3][4]
  • 2 May: Hypatia's editor-in-chief receives letter with 830 signatories.[5]
Journal response
  • 5 May: Editor-in-chief stands by article.[6]
  • 18 May: Directors decline retraction request.[5]
  • 20 July: Editor-in-chief resigns; directors suspend associate editors[7]
Journal website Hypatia website
Wiley's Hypatia page

The feminist philosophy journal Hypatia became involved in a dispute in April 2017 that led to the online shaming of one of its authors, Rebecca Tuvel, an untenured assistant professor of philosophy at Rhodes College in Memphis.[4][8][9] The journal had published a peer-reviewed article by Tuvel in which she compared the situation of Caitlyn Jenner, a trans woman, to that of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies as black.[10] When the article was criticized on social media as a source of "epistemic violence", scholars associated with Hypatia joined in the criticism and urged the journal to retract it.[4][9] The controversy exposed a rift within the journal's editorial team and more broadly within feminism and academic philosophy.[6]

In the article—"In Defense of Transracialism," published in Hypatia's spring 2017 edition on 25 April—Tuvel argued that "[s]ince we should accept transgender individuals' decisions to change sexes, we should also accept transracial individuals' decisions to change races."[11] Three days later, a small group on Facebook and Twitter began criticizing the article and attacking Tuvel. From 29 April an open letter circulated online, naming Alexis Shotwell of Hypatia's editorial board as its point of contact, urging that the article be retracted. The article's publication had sent a message, the open letter said, that "white cis scholars may engage in speculative discussion of these themes" without engaging "theorists whose lives are most directly affected by transphobia and racism."[2][4][12]

On 30 April on the journal's Facebook page, Cressida Heyes, a Hypatia associate editor, apologized for the article's publication on behalf of "a majority" of the associate editors.[3][4] By 2 May the open letter had 830 signatories,[5] including scholars associated with Hypatia and two members of Tuvel's dissertation committee. Hypatia's editor-in-chief, Sally Scholz, responded that she stood by the article and that, in having apologized, the associate editors had acted independently.[6] Hypatia Inc.'s board of directors confirmed that the article would not be retracted.[5][13] When Scholz resigned in July 2017, the directors suspended the associate editors, thereby removing their authority to appoint the next editor.[7][14]

The academic community, including Tuvel's own philosophy department, responded with support for Tuvel.[8][9][15][16] Jesse Singal of New York magazine and Glenn Greenwald called the episode a "massive internet witch-hunt" and "hideous smear campaign" respectively.[4][17] The philosopher of law Brian Leiter, author of a popular philosophy blog, wrote that he had "never seen anything like this in academic philosophy".[4]



Miriam Solomon, president of Hypatia, Inc.'s, board of directors 2016–2018.[6]

Founded in 1986 and published by John Wiley & Sons, Hypatia is owned by a non-profit corporation, Hypatia, Inc.[6][18] Miriam Solomon, professor of philosophy at Temple University, was president of the non-profit's board of directors from 2016,[19] until February 2018.[20] The journal's editors-in-chief serve five-year terms. Sally Scholz, professor of philosophy at Villanova University, began her term in 2013 but resigned in July 2017 because of the controversy, along with Shelley Wilcox, the online-reviews editor.[21][7] In addition to the directors and editorial staff, there was a 25-strong editorial board as of May 2017, as well as 10 members of an advisory board, 12 local editorial advisors, and a board of 10 associate editors; the role of the latter at the time of the dispute included appointing the editors-in-chief and advising on editorial policy.[12][a]

The apology for Tuvel's article was published by Cressida Heyes on behalf of "a majority" of the associate editors.[3] At the time of the controversy these were:[6][18]


Rebecca Tuvel was born in Toronto, Canada, to a Jewish family, her mother a pharmacist and her father a dentist. The family lost many members on both sides during the Holocaust; both her grandfathers, one from Krzepice, Poland, were survivors. She attributes her interest in justice to this background.[23] Also interested in feminist philosophy, the philosophy of race, and animal ethics, she completed her BA at McGill University in 2007, and obtained her PhD in 2014 from Vanderbilt University for a thesis entitled Epistemic Injustice Expanded: A Feminist, Animal Studies Approach.[24][25] In the fall of 2014 she joined Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, as an assistant professor of philosophy.[26]

"In Defense of Transracialism"[edit]

Jenner and Dolezal[edit]

Tuvel began writing the article after noticing the contrast, in 2015, between the reception given to Caitlyn Jenner's coming out as a trans woman in April and that given in June to Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies and had been passing as black. Jenner became one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year and appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, while Dolezal lost her position as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter in Spokane, Washington, and became, in her view, unemployable.[27][28] Tuvel was not interested in the details of the cases but in their structure. She set about writing an argument in support of the position: "Since we should accept transgender individuals' decisions to change sexes, we should also accept transracial individuals' decisions to change races."[11]


Caitlyn Jenner
Rachel Dolezal

Tuvel suggests that "[g]enerally, we treat people wrongly when we block them from assuming the personal identity they wish to assume."[11] She offers conversion to Judaism as an example. Assuming there is no reason to block the conversion, such as the rabbi not believing that the commitment is a serious one, transition to the new identity will be accepted. Self-identification and social recognition of the new identity are the two components needed for a successful change.[11]

Tuvel then argues for "an account of race that allows for racial membership on the basis of social treatment and ... self-identification".[11] She maintains that race is a malleable social construct and that, while ancestry—a feature external to the body—is a highly valued determinant of race in America, its value varies elsewhere. In Brazil, for example, Tuvel suggests that Dolezal's exposure to black culture, self-identification as black, and living as someone society had accepted as black would be enough to deem her black. From a genetic standpoint, there is no matter of fact, no truth, no "real race", Tuvel writes.[29]

Four objections to transracialism are addressed and rejected. The first is that a claim to be black cannot be accepted without the experience of having grown up with anti-black racism and the suffering it causes; Tuvel quotes the journalist Touré, who called that the "one thing that binds black people".[30] That trans women are not raised with the suffering caused by sexism is not reason enough, Tuvel argues, to reject their identification as women. Following this argument, Dolezal's experience of racism while living as a black woman would be sufficient exposure.[31]

The second objection holds that Dolezal cannot identify as black because of the importance placed on ancestry (in America, at least). No matter the genetic facts, there is intersubjective agreement that ancestry matters; it is crucial because it is regarded as crucial. Tuvel argues that this position—espoused by Cressida Heyes, one of the associate editors who apologized for Tuvel's article—holds the possibility of change "hostage to the status quo". How racial categorization does operate is not necessarily how it should operate.[32]

Third, there is an objection that the black community is harmed when a white individual seeks to enter that category; several commentators compared Dolezal's passing as black to the harmful practice of blackface. Tuvel distinguishes between what she characterizes as problematic and unproblematic identification. Dolezal's self-identification is not based on a change in physical appearance alone; there is nothing obviously insulting about it; her change does not appear to be temporary; there are no questionable ends; and there is no reinforcement of harmful stereotypes. It is therefore an example of unproblematic identification, Tuvel argues.[33]

A fourth objection holds that Dolezal is engaged in a "wrongful exercise of white privilege". This argument holds that a white person can restore their white privilege whenever they need it; a black person is denied this ease of movement.[34] Tuvel quotes the writer Tamara Winfrey Harris: "I will accept Ms. Dolezal as black like me only when society can accept me as white like her."[35] Tuvel writes that the same argument applies to trans women, especially before surgery. That someone could return to male privilege should not preclude their transition, she argues. She argues further than the exercise of privilege is a separate issue. That more men than women get jobs as philosophy professors does not mean we should get rid of philosophy professors; instead, we should address the inequality. Similarly, if society comes to accept transracialism, it could be made easier for all races to transition. Tuvel adds that it is hard to see how Dolezal could be accused of exercising white privilege by choosing to give it up.[36]

Finally, Tuvel asks whether, if we accept her position, we are obliged to accept any and all self-identification, such as individuals who identify as nonhuman. She repeats that two components are necessary for a successful change: self-identification and social acceptance of the new identity. It is reasonable to ask that social acceptance depend on it being possible for individuals to imagine what it is like to exist and be treated as a member of the category they seek to join. Without that, there is "too little commonality to make the group designation meaningful".[37]


The paper thanks J. Baird Callicott, Andrew Forcehimes and David Gray for having read earlier drafts and Rhodes College for having given Tuvel a grant to fund the research.[38] Before the controversy Tuvel had intended to write a book about the ethics of changing race.[39]

Tuvel submitted the article to Hypatia on 12 February 2016.[40] On 26 February she presented it to a conference at the University of Waterloo.[41] The manuscript was revised on 24 September and accepted for publication on 10 October 2016,[40] after the standard double-anonymous peer review by at least two reviewers.[6][b] On 4 January 2017, Tuvel presented the paper to a meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) Eastern Division, during a discussion chaired by Verena Erlenbusch (University of Memphis),[43] who later signed the open letter.[2] Scheduled commentators at the APA meeting were Kris Sealey (Fairfield University)—one of Hypatia's reviewers in 2016[44][45]—and Tina Fernandes Botts, who in the end did not attend.[6][45][c] Hypatia made the article available online on 29 March 2017 and published it in their spring issue on 25 April.[40]

Social-media response[edit]


On Friday, 28 April 2017, Tuvel and the article came under attack on Facebook and Twitter. Tuvel was called transphobic, racist, crazy and stupid, and accused of engaging in "epistemic violence".[9] Several feminists referred to her as a "Becky", a pejorative sexist term.[23] The article was called violent, crap and "wack shit".[9][48] Kelly Oliver, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, made an effort on Facebook to defend Tuvel by asking for arguments rather than insults, and suggested that Hypatia invite critical responses. She was told her comments were "unforgivable", and that her suggestions were "doing violence" and triggering PTSD.[9]

According to Oliver, who chaired Tuvel's dissertation committee in 2014,[25] several people associated with Hypatia joined in the criticism and apologized individually for the article. A friend of Oliver's described one of the Facebook apologies as "like something ISIS makes its captors read in a hostage video before beheading them". Dissenters were shut down or afraid to speak up. Several people who wrote sympathetically to Tuvel in private attacked her in public. Others who posted criticism acknowledged privately that they had not read the article. A "senior feminist philosopher" telephoned Tuvel to remind her that she had to appeal to the "right people" to get tenure. Oliver writes: "Through every medium imaginable, senior feminist scholars were pressuring, even threatening, Tuvel that she wouldn't get tenure and her career would be ruined if she didn’t retract her article."[9] Tuvel said that people were "absolutely vicious" toward her.[23]

Nora Berenstain, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, wrote on Facebook on 29 April that the paper contained "egregious levels of liberal white ignorance and discursive transmisogynistic violence".[6][d] Criticizing Tuvel for failing to cite women-of-color philosophers or black trans women, Berenstain objected to Tuvel's parenthetical reference to Jenner's former name (deadnaming), and her use of the terms "transgenderism", "biological sex" and "male genitalia". The paper's references to surgery, Berenstain wrote, objectified trans bodies, and its reference to "a male-to-female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege" promoted "the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege".[4]

Open letter[edit]

Signatories and allegations[edit]

Alexis Shotwell, at the time a member of Hypatia's editorial board, was the open letter's point of contact.[2][4]

An open letter began to circulate on 29 April 2017. Addressed to "Hypatia Editor, Sally Scholz, and the broader Hypatia community", the letter's point of contact was Alexis Shotwell, a member of Hypatia's 25-strong editorial board.[2][4][12] It had 130 signatories by 9 am on 1 May,[15] 520 later that day,[2] and 830 by the afternoon of 2 May.[49] It was delivered that evening to Hypatia's editor-in-chief, board of associate editors, and advisory board.[5] On 3 May, the day after an article in New York magazine criticized the letter, the signatories' names were removed.[4]

The top five signatories were Elise Springer, associate professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University; Alexis Shotwell, associate professor in Carleton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Dilek Huseyinzadegan, assistant professor of philosophy at Emory University; Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan and co-editor of Hypatia from 2008 to 2013; and Shannon Winnubst, professor in the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Ohio State University.[e] Lisa Guenther, associate professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University, also acknowledged signing it.[50] Gruen and Guenther were members of Tuvel's dissertation committee in 2014.[25] The letter said:

We believe that this article falls short of scholarly standards in various areas:

1. It uses vocabulary and frameworks not recognized, accepted, or adopted by the conventions of the relevant subfields; for example, the author uses the language of “transgenderism” and engages in deadnaming a trans woman;

2. It mischaracterizes various theories and practices relating to religious identity and conversion; for example, the author gives an off-hand example about conversion to Judaism;

3. It misrepresents leading accounts of belonging to a racial group; for example, the author incorrectly cites Charles Mills as a defender of voluntary racial identification;

4. It fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color) in its discussion of “transracialism”. We endorse Hypatia's stated commitment to "actively reflect and engage the diversity within feminism, the diverse experiences and situations of women, and the diverse forms that gender takes around the globe," and we find that this submission was published without being held to that commitment.[2][4]

The letter urged Hypatia to retract the article; avoid deadnaming; open its editorial procedures to scrutiny; release a statement about how it plans to improve its review process; and undertake to involve in future "people targeted by transphobia and racism and scholars who specialize in the related relevant subfields of philosophy".[2] The final paragraph, added when the letter had 520 signatories, said that the writers "acknowledge that this statement should have named anti-Blackness directly", and thanked one of the social-media users who had first commented on Facebook for "pointing out the dangerous erasure of anti-Blackness and the erasure of the Black labor on which the rhetoric of our own letter is built".[f]


According to Justin Weinberg, associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina, and Jesse Singal of New York magazine, the letter's claims were false or arguable.[4][15] Regarding criticism of the term transgenderism, the term is used by transgender writers too, although some groups, including GLAAD, argue that it reduces people to a condition. The deadnaming criticized by the open letter consisted of Tuvel including Jenner's previous name in parentheses, a name that Jenner herself refers to.[g] There was nothing misleading or offhand about the example of conversion to Judaism; it consisted of a paragraph explaining that, barring (for example) objections from the rabbi that the prospective convert is not committed to Judaism, those who wish to become Jews can do so.[11] And Tuvel did not identify Charles Mills as a "defender of voluntary racial identification".[h]

The argument that Tuvel did not cite enough women of color may be a fair point, according to Singal, but hardly sufficient to demand a retraction.[4] Weinberg writes that Tuvel's critics failed to point out a particular work that was both omitted and directly relevant.[15]

Associate editors' apology[edit]

On 30 April 2017—two days before the open letter was delivered to HypatiaCressida Heyes, then one of Hypatia's 10 associate editors,[12] posted a 1,000-word apology on her Facebook page from "We, the members of Hypatia's Board of Associate Editors". The post was later removed or made private. On 1 May it was reposted to Hypatia's Facebook page, this time ending with "Sincerely, A Majority of the Hypatia's Board of Associated Editors".[3][4] Heyes is one of the philosophers whose position Tuvel argues against in her paper.[9][i]

The apology stated: "We, the members of Hypatia's Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused":

To compare ethically the lived experience of trans people (from a distinctly external perspective) primarily to a single example of a white person claiming to have adopted a black identity creates an equivalency that fails to recognize the history of racial appropriation, while also associating trans people with racial appropriation. We recognize and mourn that these harms will disproportionately fall upon those members of our community who continue to experience marginalization and discrimination due to racism and cisnormativity.[4]

It continued that "clearly, the article should not have been published", and blamed the review process, which had exposed Tuvel to criticism that was "both predictable and justifiable". The associate editors had been asked to name the anonymous reviewers, the post said, but they declined to do so, because "mistakes in particular instances should not compromise the commitment to anonymous peer review in scholarship."[4]

Author's statement[edit]

Tuvel issued a statement on 1 May 2017, after the associate editors' apology had been posted:

I wrote this piece from a place of support for those with non-normative identities, and frustration about the ways individuals who inhabit them are so often excoriated, body-shamed, and silenced. When the case of Rachel Dolezal surfaced, I perceived a transphobic logic that lay at the heart of the constant attacks against her. My article is an effort to extend our thinking alongside transgender theories to other non-normative possibilities.[15][48]

Citing scholars who have taken sympathetic positions on transracialism, including Adolph L. Reed Jr. and Melissa Harris-Perry, she argued that failing to examine the issues would "reinforce gender and racial essentialism". She apologized for the parenthetical reference to Jenner's previous name, which was removed from the article at her request on 4 May.[15][10] She also expressed concern about the personal attacks and hate mail she had received, including from commentators who had not read the article. Commentators had warned her, she said, that failing to retract the article would "be devastating for ... [her] personally, professionally, and morally". She wrote that "critical thought is in danger", and that "the last place one expects to find such calls for censorship rather than discussion is amongst philosophers".[15][48]

Response from Hypatia[edit]

Editor-in-chief, president of board[edit]

Sally Scholz, the journal's editor-in-chief, issued a statement on 6 May 2017 in support of Tuvel, writing that "it is utterly inappropriate for editors to repudiate an article they have accepted for publication (barring issues of plagiarism or falsification of data)." The board of associate editors was a policy board with no role in the journal's management, she wrote, and it had acted independently in drafting and posting the letter.[j] Scholz was supported by Miriam Solomon, president of Hypatia Inc.'s board of directors, who said the associate editors had been "speaking for themselves." Hypatia Inc. and the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, referred the matter to the Committee on Publication Ethics.[6]

Hypatia, Inc. board of directors[edit]

On 18 May 2017 Hypatia, Inc.'s board of directors issued a statement with a mixed message.[54] Signed by Elizabeth Anderson, Leslie Francis (treasurer), Heidi Grasswick (secretary), Miriam Solomon (president), and Lisa Tessman (chair), the statement acknowledged the "intensity of experience and convictions around matters of intersectionality", and the "egregious history of treatment of women of color feminists and feminists from other marginalized social positions" within academic philosophy. It dismissed the view that the objections to the article were too minor to have triggered such a strong response; such a view from "outsiders" reflects "ignorance of the cumulative history of marginalization, disrespect, and misrepresentation of oppressed groups". The statement affirmed Hypatia's commitment to pluralist inquiry.[5]

The statement continued that the associate editors had issued their apology without adequate consultation with the editor-in-chief, and had written on their own behalf only. The directors said they stood behind the judgment of the editor-in-chief concerning the paper's publication, and that the article would not be retracted "barring discovery of misconduct or plagiarism". They condemned the personal attacks against Tuvel.[5] The associate editors' apology remained on Hypatia's Facebook page, although on 25 May 2017 it was updated to say: "The statement below, written by the Associate Editorial Board of Hypatia, does not represent the views of the journal's Editor or Board of Directors."[3][5]

COPE report, new editorial team[edit]

Sally Haslanger

According to Miriam Solomon, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) reported in July 2017 that the associate editors' apology had been inappropriate. Their report suggested that, when responding to an external complaint about a journal article, an internal inquiry should be conducted before there is a public response. The associate editors apparently refused to accept the COPE report's conclusions.[7] On 20 July 2017 Hypatia announced that Sally Scholz, the editor-in-chief, and Shelley Wilcox, editor of Hypatia Reviews Online, had resigned, and that the directors had suspended the authority of the associate editors to choose the next editor.[7][55] The directors created a task force, led by Sally Haslanger, Serene Khader and Yannik Thiem, to restructure Hypatia's governance, and appointed Ann Garry, Serene Khader, and Alison Stone as interim editors.[56]


Brian Leiter

Parts of the academic community came out in support of Tuvel, particularly on two popular philosophy blogs, Brian Leiter's Leiter Reports and Justin Weinberg's Daily Nous.[15] Leiter wrote that he had "never seen anything like this in academic philosophy".[4] Paul Bloom called the episode "a bizarre and ugly attack".[4] There were suggestions that Tuvel sue for defamation.[57] The associate editors had insulted Tuvel and "undermine[d] the whole process of peer review and the principles of scholarly debate and engagement", in the view of Suzanna Danuta Walters, editor-in-chief of the feminist journal Signs.[16] Several commentators blamed social media's call-out culture for the speed with which the dispute unfolded.[6][9][16] Mark Newman, chair of the Rhodes College philosophy department, where Tuvel teaches, expressed the department's "complete and unconditional support" for her.[58]

Rogers Brubaker, author of Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities (2016), described as "epistemological insiderism" the idea that certain issues can be covered only by particular categories of scholar, and that as a white cisgender woman Tuvel had no standing to argue about transgender or transracial issues. For Brubaker, this position means not only that certain topics are off limits to those with the "wrong" identity, but that scholars with the "right" identity are expected to specialize in those topics.[8]

Tina Fernandes Botts

Systemic sexism within the discipline was cited. There had been tension for some time between Hypatia and women-of-color philosophers, who believed the journal did not take their work seriously, according to Tina Fernandes Botts.[6] Sally Haslanger, who joined the task force set up by the journal's directors, complained about poor working conditions—there are days she can "hardly stand the arrogance, the ignorance, the complacency, in short, the bullshit, of the profession"—and the narrow focus of mainstream philosophy journals. Of 13,000 professional philosophers in the United States in 2013, only 55 were black women and 30 percent of those were PhD students, she wrote.[59]

One of the open letter's top signatories, Shannon Winnubst, editor of the feminist journal PhiloSOPHIA, wrote that the call for retraction had been part of an effort to make feminist philosophy "something other than a damaged, dutiful daughter to the deeply troubled discipline of philosophy". Citing sexual-harassment complaints and figures showing that, in 2016, 75 percent of APA members identified as male and 80 percent white, she wrote that the publication of Tuvel's article had brought "all of the systemic problems of philosophy and, more painfully, the subdiscipline of feminist philosophy to a head".[60] Oliver Traldi argued in Quillette that the dispute was partly attributable to the influence of continental as opposed to analytic philosophy, and the idea that philosophy should be a vehicle for social change, rather than an impartial search for truth.[61]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of May 2017, the editorial board included Samantha Brennan, Cheshire Calhoun, Ann Cudd, Peggy DesAutels, Miranda Fricker, Serene Khader, Kathryn Norlock, Jennifer Saul, Alexis Shotwell, Miriam Solomon, Shannon Sullivan and Charlotte Witt.[12]
  2. ^ Hypatia: "When an essay is submitted to Hypatia, the editors do an initial review to determine that it is appropriate for the journal; fewer than 10% of manuscripts are declined at this stage and only when two local board members concur. Drawing on Hypatia's extensive referee database, the editors then identify two reviewers with expertise appropriate to the essay and invite them to provide a detailed report on the manuscript and their recommendation for editorial decision. If the referees disagree in their assessment, the editors may request an additional report from a third reviewer.... We make every effort to ensure the anonymity of both authors and referees."[42]
  3. ^ Botts presented an opposing view—that transgenderism is possible, but transracialism is not, because race is a function of ancestry—in a paper, "In Black and White: A Hermeneutic Argument against Transracialism", at a meeting at Fresno State in early March,[46] and at the April 2017 Res Philosophica conference at Saint Louis University.[6][47]
  4. ^ Berenstain said that the term "violence" referred to "structural violence", which she described as "a range of systemic harms that go beyond direct interpersonal physical contact".[6]
  5. ^ Jesse Singal (New York magazine, 2 May 2017): "That letter has racked up hundreds of signatories within the academic community—the top names listed are Elise Springer of Wesleyan University, Alexis Shotwell of Carleton University (who is listed as the point of contact), Dilek Huseyinzadegan of Emory University, Lori Gruen of Wesleyan, and Shannon Winnubst of Ohio State University."[4]
  6. ^ Open letter (1 May 2017): "Note from statement writers (added 5/1, at approximately the 520th signatory): 'We acknowledge that this statement should have named anti-Blackness directly. The statement is not an exhaustive summary of the many harms caused by this article. We hope it will at least serve as a way to register that harm and issue a demand for a retraction. This is one step in the direction of seeking accountability for the harms committed by its publishing—and to begin a conversation about the larger problems with our discipline it represents. And we thank Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (and others) for pointing out the dangerous erasure of anti-Blackness and the erasure of the Black labor on which the rhetoric of our own letter is built.'"[2]
  7. ^ Caitlyn Jenner (2017): "Transgender guidelines suggest that I no longer be referred to as Bruce in any circumstance. Here are my guidelines: I will refer to the name Bruce when I think it appropriate and the name Caitlyn when I think it appropriate. Bruce existed for sixty-five years, and Caitlyn is just going on her second birthday. That's the reality."[51]
  8. ^ Tuvel (2017): "Charles Mills identifies at least five categories generally relevant to the determination of racial membership, including 'self-awareness of ancestry, public awareness of ancestry, culture, experience, and self-identification' (Mills 1998, 50). If ancestry is a less emphasized feature in some places (for example, in Brazil), then Dolezal's exposure to black culture, experience living as someone read as black, and her self-identification could be sufficient to deem she is black in those places. And because there is no fact of the matter about her 'actual' race from a genetic standpoint, these features of Dolezal's experience would be decisive for determining her race in that particular context. The crucial point here is that no 'truth' about Dolezal's 'real' race would be violated."[31]
  9. ^ When addressing the second objection to transracialism—that society's view of what race is limits the extent to which any individual can claim to have changed race—Tuvel addressed Cressida Heyes' point that "beliefs about the kind of thing race is shape the possibilities for race change. In particular ... the belief that an individual's racial identity derives from her biological ancestors undermines the possibility of changing race, in ways that contrast with sex-gender".[52] Tuvel argued that "to say 'this is how racial categorization currently operates in our society' is to provide a very poor reason to the person asking how racial categorization should operate", which "makes it difficult to see how we can make any social progress at all".[53]
  10. ^ Sally J. Scholz (6 May 2017): "As Editor of an academic journal that espouses pluralism and diversity, I believe that Hypatia should publish on a wide array of topics employing a wide array of methodologies. I believe that a community of scholars should contest concepts and engage in dialogue within the pages of the journal to advance our collective project of educating—students and ourselves. I believe that an academic journal is not a blog or a discussion board.
    "I firmly believe, and this belief will not waver, that it is utterly inappropriate for editors to repudiate an article they have accepted for publication (barring issues of plagiarism or falsification of data). In this respect, editors must stand behind the authors of accepted papers. That is where I stand. Professor Tuvel's paper went through the peer review process and was accepted by the reviewers and by me.
    "The Associate Editorial board acted independently in drafting and posting their statement. That board is a policy board and plays no role in the day to day management of the Journal.
    "Since April 30, I have been working with the publisher, Wiley, to respond responsibly and appropriately. We have consulted with the corporation which owns Hypatia and, together, we are proceeding to refer the situation to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for guidance."[6]


  1. ^ Colleen Flaherty (19 May 2017). "'Hypatia' Disavows the 'Hypatia' Disavowal", Inside Higher Ed.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Open letter to Hypatia", Google Docs. Archived 2 May 2017 at 16:46:03 and 20:28:51 UTC.
  3. ^ a b c d e Cressida Heyes (30 April 2017). "To our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy", Facebook.

    Cressida Heyes (1 May 2017). "To our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy", Facebook. Retrieved 26 May 2017.

  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Jesse Singal (2 May 2017). "This Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks Like", New York magazine.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Elizabeth Anderson, et al. (18 May 2017). "Statement From Hypatia Board Regarding Tuvel Controversy", Hypatia.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Lindsay McKenzie, Adam Harris, and Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz (6 May 2017). "A Journal Article Provoked a Schism in Philosophy. Now the Rifts Are Deepening.", The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  7. ^ a b c d e Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz (21 July 2017). "Months After 'Transracialism' Flap, Controversy Still Rages at Feminist Philosophy Journal", The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  8. ^ a b c Rogers Brubaker (18 May 2017). "The Uproar Over 'Transracialism'", The New York Times.
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Further reading[edit]