Ableist Language and the Politics of Peer Review in Philosophy

The CPA, APA, CSWIP, and other philosophy associations, as well as Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, Hypatia, and most other philosophy journals, do not use the ableist metaphor blind review in their CFPs due to my critiques of ableist language in posts at various philosophy blogs, in articles (here, for example), on Facebook, and elsewhere over the past several years. Nor do most other philosophy conference CFPS include the use of this ableist metaphor. The currently preferred term in these and other philosophy venues is anonymous review (or some variation thereof). I elaborate my critique of the ableist term blind review and of ableist language more generally in chapter 1 of Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability.

Critical re-evaluation of the political and social implications and effects of this token of ableist language has in addition become more prominent in fields outside of philosophy. For example, the American Anthropological Association recently announced that it would no longer use blind review in its CFPs and other materials and would adopt the term anonymous review for these purposes.

Earlier in the summer, I was asked to address the issue of ableist language and the politics of peer review for CSE S.P.E.A.K., a podcast produced by the Council of Science Editors. You can find this segment of the CSE S.P.E.A.K. podcast, entitled “Politics in Peer Review with Brit Stamey and Dr. Shelley Tremain,” here. A transcript for the episode and links to additional resources on the subject of ableist language are provided.

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