Thurday 14 January 2021 - via Zoom
The Philospher Queens - from concept to publication
with Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting
Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting will be talking about their innovative new book and its journey to publication and an international launch in September 2020,
The Philosopher Queens - setting the record straight about philosophy through the ages and written in accessible language.
The Philosopher Queens is a book about women philosophers by women philosophers. The book includes essays on twenty women philosophers, written by twenty women working in philosophy today. It challenges the dominant narrative of the history of philosophy as a history of white men, pontificating from their armchairs. Instead, this book shows that women have been doing philosophy since the founding of the discipline itself.
The book covers women from Diotima – a woman who appeared in Plato’s dialogue, The Symposium – to Azizah al-Hibri, a contemporary woman philosopher working at the intersections of feminism and Islamic jurisprudence. Others included are Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley, Sophie Oluwole, and Angela Davis. Each chapter includes a discussion of the philosopher’s life and how her philosophy has impacted the world.
The book began with a crowdfunding campaign with our publisher Unbound, which involved asking people to pre-order a hardback special edition of the book and other special pledge levels (years before it would exist) to show that there was interest in the idea. We were told to expect this process to take up to six months. We were lucky enough to crowdfund the total amount and get around 700 pre-orders within 27 days.
Editing the book involved several challenges: selecting the women to be included in the book, making the language accessible to a general audience without a background in philosophy, and trying to make the book attractive to young women interested in learning more about the subject. The process of writing and editing the book took around a year, with great help from the editing team at Unbound.
After crowdfunding the book with Unbound in late 2018, The Philosopher Queens was published on September 17th 2020. You can find pieces on the book in The Guardian, The Irish Times, and Times Red Box.
Review of Meeting
Rebecca and Lisa have been friends since they were at Davison High School, Worthing, and both of them studied philosophy at universitiy. They were disappinted by the lack of representation of women in their studies, it turned out to be hard to find women philosphers represented in books, on the radio, in podcasts, via internet searches .., . If philosophy is ‘concerned with questioning the world around us and interrogating our beliefs, assumptions and world view’, as Lisa and Rebecca contend, then it is ridiculous to omit the points of view of half of humanity. They decided that one way to start to right the balance was to publish a book about twenty women philosophers, twenty chapters written by twenty women, most of whom are engaged professionally in philosophy.
Their accoiunt of how they compiled, crowd funded and published their book made for a fascinating talk.
The Philosopher Queens: The lives and legacies of philosophy's unsung women by Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting is available from all good bookshops, in paperback and Kindle versions.