Project Vox: Training a New Generation of Collaborative Scholars (2021-2022)

Background

The standard canon in philosophy is exclusively male. For instance, the 2018 Norton Introduction to Philosophy contains nothing written by women between Plato and the 1950s, and the 2019 Modern Philosophy anthology, while including short snippets from women, subordinates them to male writers. These two sources feature a single essay by a philosopher outside of the European tradition. Such neglect hampers introduction of marginalized figures into undergraduate curricula, since few instructors have time to conduct original research just to expand a syllabus.

Under-representation of marginalized figures in philosophy’s canon is not merely a problem of historical inaccuracy. Philosophy ranks lower than other humanities and social science disciplines, and even some sciences, in its ability to attract women to the field. Studies exploring the origins of this gender gap have found that women's abandonment of the field is most profound in the period between participating in an introductory philosophy course and selecting philosophy as one’s major. In essence, women are at the greatest risk of opting against philosophy as a field of study when they are being introduced to its canonical thinkers – none of whom represent them.

In response, Project Vox provides instructors, students and scholars with open-access, peer-reviewed guides to early modern women philosophers. Through cross-institutional, international collaborations and an interdisciplinary team of students, scholars and libraries staff, Project Vox has researched and published biographical, bibliographical and pedagogical content on seven philosophers to date. 

Project Description

Building on the work of previous teams, the 2021-2022 team will focus on expanding the network of scholars committed to supporting the work of Project Vox. To train more remote collaborators, the team will create short video guides on key phases of research, communication flows, roles and responsibilities and collaborative practices. These will be shared with researchers interested in working with Project Vox and reviewed as part of structured workshops.

The team will also develop a new philosopher entry on Tullia D’Aragona and complete initial research for new philosopher entries. Key areas of work include: 

  • Primary and secondary research: Conduct basic research such as developing rudimentary biographies and bibliographies from existing scholarship, synthesize findings and interpret primary sources
  • Image research: Locate historically accurate depictions of the person and era, provide relevant metadata, identify permissions necessary for using an image, acquire images and permissions,
  • Outreach and assessment: Run social media campaigns, gather analytics data, conduct assessments, run the blog, liaise with community partners.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.

Anticipated Outputs

New Project Vox course; publication of a philosopher entry on Tullia D’Aragona; feasibility studies and initial research for two new philosopher entries; training model for collaborators

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this project team will be comprised of 3 graduate students and 4 undergraduate students from a wide range of disciplines. The team will benefit from a diverse group of students with expertise and interests that align with some of the activities outlined in the project description. Familiarity with Twitter, Canva, Mailchimp, Qualtrics and WordPress are skills that can be learned or applied.

Students will gain an immersive education in researching, publishing and promoting scholarly works for a global public audience. From gathering and synthesizing information to assessing audience engagement, students will build translatable skills (e.g., managing a project, digital publishing, developing research processes) while extending their existing skills. Remote collaboration with philosophy scholars gives students ad hoc mentorship and greater exposure to research practices. Graduate students can play leadership roles such as project manager and outreach and assessment coordinator. 

Students will report on their work at weekly team meetings, in subteam meetings and asynchronously. There will be active and regular mentorship of student team members, in the form of weekly or biweekly check-ins with a project director and a subteam leader. 

The optional summer component in 2021 will involve remote work from undergraduate students for 5 hours/week for 8 weeks (roughly June 1 - July 26).

A graduate student will be selected to serve as project manager.  

Timing

Summer 2021 – Summer 2022

  • Summer 2021 (optional): Continue research for D’Aragona entry; review and finalize course plans; begin research for new philosopher entry; identify next philosopher for feasibility study
  • Fall 2021: Launch Project Vox research course; finish researching and writing D’Aragona entry and submit for review; continue feasibility studies and research; create short tutorials and guides; outline workshops; recruit external researchers
  • Spring 2022: Publish and promote D’Aragona entry; continue research and writing; select next philosophers for feasibility; conduct training workshops with external researchers; recruit new research teams
  • Summer 2022 (optional): Continue research and writing for new philosopher entries; begin remote collaboration with new research teams

This Team in the News

Making the Most of Duke, Summer 2021

Crediting

Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding available

See earlier related team, Project Vox: Recovering the World of Women Philosophers in Early Modern Europe (2020-2021).

 

Image: The Ladies Library frontispiece, by L. Du Guernier, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute digital collections; public domain

The Ladies Library frontispiece.

Team Leaders

  • Andrew Janiak, Arts & Sciences-Philosophy
  • Elizabeth Milewicz, Duke Libraries

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • William Shaw, Duke Libraries
  • Cheryl Thomas, Duke Libraries

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Project Vox's Advisory Board