CFP: Outsiders Within: Reflections on Being a Low-Income and/or First-Generation Philosopher, Philadelphia, PA, Jan. 8-11, 2020 (deadline: Sept. 30, 2019)

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) of the APA is now accepting abstracts for a panel discussion on navigating academic philosophy as a first-generation and/or low-income graduate student at the Eastern Division.

Many philosophers have highlighted the lack of diversity amongst professional philosophers, and there are several active initiatives aimed at encouraging greater diversity, a great portion of which are aimed at supporting diverse undergraduates students on their route to graduate study. One dimension of diversity that often gets overlooked in these efforts—and which overlaps and intersects with other axes of oppression in important ways—is working-class, low-income, and first-generation status.  This session aims to provide voice to the experiences of philosophers who come from poverty, identify as low-income, or are a first-generation university student.

Abstracts addressing the following questions are of particular interest: How do philosophers who are the first in their families to attend university learn to navigate the academic lifestyle? Does impostor syndrome ever go away, or at least get better? How do low-income and first-generation philosophers deal with the sense of double-alienation, both in academic spaces and when they return to their families or first homes? How does class intersect with other underrepresented identities to further marginalize certain philosophers in the field? Have class and socioeconomic status been adequately theorized by philosophers?   Are low-income and/or first-generation students encouraged to pursue philosophy (by their families? Mentors? Professors?) and adequately supported if they decide to do so? What unique challenges arise for graduate students from low income and/or first-generation backgrounds? 

This session seeks to explore some of these questions and others, and to provide a space for discussion and community building among those philosophers who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage along their route to graduate study and/or professional philosophy. 

Topics of discussion may include (but are not limited to) the following:


-Stereotype Threat

-Impostor Syndrome 

-Overcoming Stereotypes 

-Returning Home and Cultural Code Switching 

-Researching SES/Class 

-Intersectionality & Class Struggle 

-Deciding to Pursue Philosophy While Poor 

-Class Bias 

-Race & Class, Gender & Class, Sexual Orientation & Class

-The intersection of immigration status and first-generation status and/or class struggle

-Obstacles to Pursuing Graduate Study 

-Moving for Graduate Study as a Low-Income Person

-Conferences as Exclusionary for Low-Income People 

-Navigating Academia’s Elitism as a Low-Income Person 

-Learning the Norms 

-Hidden Curriculum, Social Expectations, and Navigating Academic Spaces 

-Mentoring Low-Income/First-generation Students 

– Cultivating Support Systems and Community Building 

Submissions: Abstracts for talks of 15-20 minutes prepared for anonymous review should be sent to both: Arianna Falbo ( and Heather Stewart ( In the body of the email, please include your name, institutional affiliation (if any), position (if any), and contact information. Please attach an anonymized abstract of up to 500 words describing the primary focus of your presentation and what you hope for the audience to take away from it. The organizing committee hopes to select panel participants from various stages of the procession, including graduate students, post-docs, as well as junior and senior faculty. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any funding for selected speakers. 

Deadline for Submissions: September 30th, 2019 

Selection of Presenters: Early October

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Arianna Falbo at or Heather Stewart at  

For more information about the Graduate Student Council of the APA please visit our webpage:,

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