For those of you who have not yet seen it, I'd like to encourage you to consider signing this petition, advocating for the inclusion of the Philosophy of Race as a specialty in the Philosophical Gourmet Report. There is some discussion of the petition here, at Feminist Philosophers. One note I'd add is that a number of departments that are already highly esteemed by the PGR -- including, by my count, six of the top seven programs in the overall rankings, which says something -- have people doing interesting and important work in this area, as do a number of other departments. In any event, it is a thriving, important field, which anecdotal evidence suggests has increasing interest for potential graduate students and hiring schools.
I just read a chapter about slave reparations by my colleague David
Boonin. David presents an interesting and surprisingly strong argument
in favor of reparations. (This argument apparently has been advanced
before, but this is the first time I heard it.) Here's an abstract of
how it goes:
Folks who work on oppression often distinguish oppression attributable to individuals from oppression attributable to institutions. Thus, there's a lot of discussion about institutional racism or sexism, say, as well as discussion of systematic or structural racism or sexism. Here's a quick question: anyone have any thoughts on the nature of the relation between the institutional, the systematic, and the structural? Are these terms just being used as synonyms, at least in the relevant literature? I have a vague feeling that it is possible to have non-systematic and non-structural institutions, but (since the relevant systems and structures are all social systems and structures, I presume), I'm not sure that there are any non-institutional (social) structures or (social) systems. Any thoughts?