@Helenreflects once posed a question about American Pragmatism that I've been pondering for a bit. Essentially it boils down to if American Pragmatism should be counted as a less commonly taught philosophy. My initial answer, as is normally the case, was "yes but..."
I don't think "American Pragmatism" as a sub-field is a less commonly taught philosophy, at least not in the same way that non-western, feminist, and other marginalized philosophies are treated as less commonly taught. American Pragmatism crops up in a variety of places.
For example, most "Philosophy of Education" courses engage Dewey at some point, and Dewey is a long time resident in many education syllabi in education departments. Specifically, Dewey's work on education and culture is often circulated as a grounding text on pedagogy.
Most philosophy departments have an "American Philosophy" course which is where pragmatism goes to die, if I'm being cynical about it. That said, if we get down into the weeds about it, the question becomes which pragmatists are being taught within American Pragmatism.
This is also a question of how "American Pragmatism" and "American Philosophy" are conflated within the discipline and who counts as either an "American Philosopher" or an "American Pragmatist." This is, naturally, an ongoing and bloody fight within the discipline.
This, I think, reframes the question. In my experience, the majority of the instruction in pragmatism that I've encountered is usually Peirce, Royce, Rorty, Putnam. Sometimes Brandom, Whitehead, Santayana end up taught within "American Philosophy" or "American Pragmatism."
I've also seen a more common relegation of James and Dewey to historical thinkers in Pragmatism, to draw a line from Peirce to contemporary and neopragmatists (which I think is a mistake), and the relegation of Addams to feminism or special topics courses (also a mistake.)
Putting that aside, the reason I'm pointing this out is because what is being taught under the auspices of "American Pragmatism" structures the perception of the field. That is, this is a question about American Pragmatism's identity as it emerges through instruction.
To be clear, there is a robust amount of contemporary pragmatist scholarship from a variety of pragmatist traditions; however, it is rare that this work is actually TAUGHT. This is an important distinction as what is researched may not be what is taught in classes.
Put another way, while there are a wide variety of contemporary deployments of pragmatism (e.x. Mark Johnson, neuropragmatism), these contemporary advances in pragmatism may not find their way into the classroom. Given the question is about teaching, I would change my answer.
Specifically, I would say some pragmatism falls under the LCT banner, e.x. Addams, DuBois, Dewey's Aesthetics, Whitehead and Emerson (as American Philosophers), and many contemporary pragmatists, while some pragmatism is fairly common place. I would also say this is intentional.
Further, there are few departments left where you could get a thorough training in Dewey, James, and Addams, and even fewer that engage DuBois as a pragmatist, and still fewer who engage contemporary pragmatism at the undergraduate level or not as a "special topics" course.
That said, I'd have to do a more thorough examination of how and what is being taught as "American Pragmatism" to shore up this claim, but from my anecdotal estimation, "strong" American departments are in the minority, much less departments with a Deweyan or Jamesian.
Maybe I could compel the APA or bribe someone to pay me to do a survey of "American Philosophy" and "American Pragmatism" courses within departments to get a phenomenological account of how American Pragmatism comes to "appear" in departments and the field.
Then again, that last bit is my own cynical approach: if we want to know "what" philosophy is, and what it might be, we might look at what we're teaching. Remember, the collective conduct of a community, even a sub-discipline, determines the shape of the community.
And, insofar as the "collective conduct" of philosophy is teaching and research, how and what we teach shapes the community of philosophers and what they research.

I could also be wrong.

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More from @shengokai

5 Jun
My thread on the Singer paper has apparently upset some folks with my characterization of its conclusions and how I associated it with a larger trend of using academic freedom to defend bigotry and marginalization.

I'd like to begin my response with the following: Image
Having said that, I'm actually going to respond seriously.

I will not be tagging some folks I'm referencing in this thread because they, and their work, do not deserve to be collateral damage in whatever twitter shitstorm emerges from the "partisan language" in this response.
That said, many of the responses are concerned about how the thread "shuts down inquiry" or uses the language of religion to essentially do what Singer and company predicted would be done in their section on "partisan language" and "polarization." This is not a problem for me.
Read 27 tweets
5 Jun
Actually, let me go a little further about this since I'm good and mad. I warned people that the logical consequence of these "academic freedom" fights would be the creation of a field where people can pass off bigotry as scholarship unchecked.
Now, "Can 'eugenics' be defended" doesn't function in the same way as the GC's circulation of bigotry as scholarship, but it is operating in the same rhetorical sphere where inquiry must be defended at all costs, regardless of the harm it does to the subjects of that inquiry.
And, make no mistake, this article isn't calling for a reasoned conversation about the nature of "genetic enhancement" or any of the other euphemisms used by the authors: it is looking to evade the responsibility of considering the impact of this scholarship on disabled people.
Read 8 tweets
5 Jun
I read that fucking Singer eugenics paper and rarely have I been more disgusted with the state of this cursed field.
Bold of them to make this claim when the majority of these folks, and the discipline at large, refuses to engage with work by disabled philosophers, much less philosophical work that puts these "problems" in a larger social and cultural context, a context this piece ignores. Image
I'm suddenly reminded of Audre Lorde, of Frederick Douglass, who pointed out the hypocrisy of asking us to engage in dialogue when no such olive branch has been extended. We need only look at the citations on this paper for confirmation of this point.
Read 7 tweets
4 Jun
Get to work figuring out the broader institutional structure. What does "head of Universal Pictures" mean, and what are the limits of my authority?

That would take about a month Then, I'd collect my first paycheck, and pay off some of my debt.
Oh, you meant what else I would do? Start an educational division focused on providing students with practical, hands on experience in each of Universal's subsidiary units.

I'd focus the division's outreach at public 4 year, regional, minority serving, and community colleges.
By "practical, hands on experience," I don't just mean the actor/director/writer's craft, I mean everything from information technology, to set forepersons, to catering and transportation services, all of it.
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
Left my office for a minute to get some water and found my cat snoozing on the chapter I was editing. I think that's a sign for me to stop.

In other news, I've managed to drink water, follow up with my cat's vet, and almost completely revised an entire chapter on my manuscript.
Honestly though, the revisions weren't that bad: I spent way too much time talking about Butler, when I really should've been focusing on the meat of Sullivan's argument and supplementing it with Shusterman.
Unfortunately, this means I need to add the Shusterman stuff in, but that's maybe a day and a half worth of work from start to finish. The real challenge is going to be a whole chapter on kata, katachi, and dramatic form towards the end. And a conclusion.
Read 5 tweets
3 Jun
The most cutting refutation of the institutional obession with optics I've ever read was in Sara Ahmed's "On Being Included:" Image
To be clear, every time I've attempted to do diversity work, accessibility work, or any other work that could be enfolded into the broader class of "image work" in ways that moved beyond changing perceptions, institutions have fought tooth and nail to avoid committing.
Moreover, it is my position that every "institutional metric" used in institutional work is aimed at either refuting an "image" of the institution or revealing the "true image" of the institution. Either way, you're dealing with perception.
Read 7 tweets

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