Climate Committee

The UConn Philosophy Department has made a commitment to maintaining an environment in which all members of its community – faculty, students, staff, and visitors – can feel safe, respected, and supported, regardless of their racial, national, socioeconomic or ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  We regard this commitment as fully compatible with the freedom to adopt and defend any philosophical position and to subject each other’s arguments to rigorous evaluation.

Priorities and Initiatives

  1. to determine the extent to which we have been successful so far in fostering the climate we wish to have in our Department
  2. to identify and provide resources for members of our community who have suffered incidents of disrespect of any sort
  3. to find ways to minimize such incidents in the future, and
  4. to educate members of the department about general and particular ways to improve our climate

Current Committee Chair

Nelson Maldonado-Torres

Understanding and Addressing Climate Issues

The materials provided here include analyses of climate issues in philosophy and resources for teaching, including sample syllabi and diversified bibliographies in multiple areas of philosophy.

Philosophers on Climate Issues in Philosophy and Resources

Climate Advice,” The Pluralist Guide to Philosophy:
Includes: notes on climate surveys, guidance for individuals experiencing difficult times, guidance for departments. You can also navigate the Pluralist Guide to Philosophy website. Also relevant in this context are Linda Martín Alcoff’s “The Climate of Climate Studies,” in the old page of the Pluralist Guide, and Alcoff’s related reflection where she underlines the challenges and risks in climate studies, and emphasizes the importance for departments to engage in pro-active action. She asserts that “What these might be may include changing hiring priorities, addressing gender and pluralism issues in pro-seminars, having some recent work in social psychology (Claude Steele’s research is great), and so on.” See also Alcoff’s “A Call for Climate Change,” which appears in a 2011 issue of the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy. The issue also includes related relevant articles.

Resources on Diversity and Inclusiveness,” American Philosophical Association.
Includes: sample syllabi, APA membership demographics, advice for undergraduates from underrepresented groups, diversity in philosophy bibliography, best practices for preventing and addressing sexual harassment, anti-racist teaching resources for philosophers, links to relevant groups and organizations, among many other resources.

Women in Philosophy, The Stone, New York Times
Five opinion pieces: Sally Haslanger, “Women in Philosophy? Do the Math”; Linda Martin Alcoff, “What’s Wrong with Philosophy?”; Rae Langton, “The Disappearing Women,” Louise Antony, “Academia’s Fog of Male Anxiety,” and Peg O’Connor’s “The Double Bind.”

Decolonizing Philosophy

Decolonizing philosophy is a long-standing project with contemporary relevance that challenges certain limits and presuppositions in discourses that are centered on diversity and inclusion. It is a framework that contributes to the understanding of the coloniality of knowledge, epistemic racism, the coloniality of gender, reparations, the continued practical and theoretical relevance of abolition, philosophical pluralism, and epistemic justice among other themes that are relevant to issues of climate in philosophy and to both, philosophy and decolonization at large.

Selected bibliography:

  • Burkhart, Brian. Indigenizing Philosophy through the Land: A Trickster Methodology for Decolonizing Environmental Ethics and Indigenous Futures. Michigan State University Press, 2019.
  • Copeland, Huey, Hal Foster, David Joselit, and Pamela M. Lee, et. al. “A Questionnaire on Decolonization: 35 Responses.” October 174 (2020): 3-125.
  • Espinosa-Miñoso, Yuderkys, María Lugones, and Nelson Maldonado-Torres, eds. Decolonial Feminism in Abya Yala: Caribbean, Meso, and South American Contributions and Challenges. Rowman and Littlefield, 2022.
  • Gordon, Lewis R. “Decolonizing Philosophy,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 57 (2019): 16-36.
  •                 . “What Does it Mean to Colonise and Decolonise Philosophy?” Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements. 93 (2023): 117-135.
  • Lugones, María. “Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia 25.4 (2010): 742-759.
  • Kim, Ruthanne. “Decolonizing Philosophy: The Contributions of Françoise Vergès.” Blog of the APA. September 6, 2023.
  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “Notes on Decolonizing Philosophy: Against Epistemic Extractivism and Toward the Abolition of the Canon.” APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy. 21.1 (Fall 2021): 11-15.
  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson, Rafael Vizcaíno, Jasmine Wallace, and Jeong Eun Annabel We, “Decolonising Philosophy,” in Decolonising the University, ed. Gurminder K. Bhambra, Delia Gebrial, and Kerem Nişancioğlu. Pluto Press, 2018.
  • McCall, Corey, and Phillip McReynolds, Decolonizing American Philosophy. SUNY Press, 2021.
  • “Philosophy and Coloniality.” Special issue. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 41.1 (2020): 75-232. (Selected papers from the 2018 Hannah Arendt and Reiner Shürmann Annual Symposium in Political Philosophy, Philosophy Department, New School, New York City)
  • Rosenlee, L.-H. L., A.K Donahue, D. Kim, N. Maldonado-Torres, and K. Sealey. “Symposium: Why Historicize the Canon?Journal of World Philosophies 5.1 (2020): 121-176.

Diversifying Philosophy Syllabi and Bibliographies

While there are resources for diversifying philosophy syllabi and bibliographies under all the headings on section of the webpage, these sites focus on both of those themes.

Sample syllabi, American Philosophical Association.

Best Practices for the Inclusive Philosophy Classroom
“The website offers methods for increasing inclusiveness in the classroom and for decreasing the effects of biases more generally. It includes the results of research about minority groups in philosophy. It also lists resources for teachers of philosophy who are committed to including in their syllabi readings about issues often overlooked in philosophy classrooms and readings written by philosophers belonging to groups that are typically under-represented in professional philosophy.”

Diversity Reading List in Philosophy
Includes: thematic lists in philosophy with bibliographic resources with the goal of “helping you include authors from under-represented groups in your teaching.”

Relevant Organizations

These are some of the relevant organizations in which our faculty and students have been or continue to be involved.

Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP)

Minorities in Philosophy (MAP)
List of Resources

Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA)

Confidentiality FAQs

    What kinds of information is the Climate Committee required to report to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE)?

    All information concerning sexual assault; intimate partner violence; and stalking in which a student is involved must be reported to OIE immediately. Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Supervisors are required to report any information about discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, to OIE.

    What happens if the Climate Committee receives anonymous information about sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking?

    The Committee must report the information that we have to OIE. OIE will review the information to determine an appropriate response.

        Does reporting information to OIE automatically trigger an investigation?

        No. When OIE receives information that someone has been the victim of an assault or harassment, that individual will receive outreach from the University (typically from the Associate Dean of Students for Victim Support Services) advising them of their options for reporting the matter to the University and/or to law enforcement and notifying them of available support resources. If the victim chooses not to initiate an investigation, that decision will be respected to the extent possible, consistent with the University’s obligations to protect the safety of the University community.