Tuesday, June 01, 2021

New Data on the Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity of Philosophy Students and Faculty in the United States

Just out at The Philosophers' Magazine!

This is part of an special issue on diversity in philosophy at TPM, also with contributions by Simon Fokt, Helen Beebee, Zahra Thani, Shen-li Liao, Ian James Kidd, and Rochelle Duford.

In our contribution to the issue, Liam Kofi Bright, Carolyn Dicey Jennings, Morgan Thompson, Eric Winsberg, and I looked systematically at data on racial/ethnic and gender diversity throughout the academic "pipeline" into philosophy in the U.S., from first-year intention to major through entry into the professoriate and beyond, drawing on large databases from the Higher Education Research Institute, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Science Foundation, and the Academic Data and Placement Analysis project, plus other sources.

For those of us who would like to see increasing diversity in philosophy, it's mixed news.

Good news:

* Racial and ethnic diversity in philosophy has been steadily increasing among philosophy students at all levels since the year 2000.

* The percentage of undergraduate women philosophy majors has also recently been increasing.

Before we get to the bad news, let's savor the good just a little first. Yay! {*confetti*}

Okay, done savoring? The bad news:

* American Indian / Native Alaskan people are highly underrepresented in philosophy, with only 11 philosophy PhDs recorded in NSF's Survey of Earned Doctorates in the entire 19-year period from 2001-2019.

* Black people are also highly underrepresented in philosophy, receiving only 3% of recent philosophy PhDs, though the numbers appear to be increasing, especially at the undergraduate level.

* Although Asian and Hispanic people are now represented in philosophy at the undergraduate level approximately proportionately to their representation among undergraduates overall, they remain substantially underrepresented among philosophy PhD recipients (4% and 6%, respectively).

* Despite recent increases at the undergraduate level, women remain substantially underrepresented in philosophy compared to their representation in the population as a whole (36% of recent philosophy bachelor's recipients and 30% of recent philosophy PhDs).

* There appears to be a leaky pipeline into philosophy, with men and non-Hispanic White students disproportionately more likely to continue philosophy education than women and people from other racial/ethnic groups.

One figure from our paper:

[click to enlarge and clarify]

Full paper here.

[Thanks to James Garvey at TPM for soliciting and encouraging this paper.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow...what a great topic! I do have one question...Do, "women and people from other racial/ethnic groups.," want to study philosophy? Is it possible they may not be interested in the field?