Iliana Cuellar to Present at Feminism and Critical Theory Conference
Iliana Cuellar will be presenting at the Feminism and Critical Theory Conference! The conference will be held at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom this summer. Iliana will be presenting her paper titled “Freedom and Resistance: the Critical Theory of Angela Davis.” When asked to tell us more about her paper, she states “Little to no attention is paid to Angela Davis' philosophy especially in reference to her time at the Frankfurt School. She left early to participate in the Black liberation struggle back in the U.S. This is indicative of her critical theory which centers on a philosophical concept of freedom but is deeply imbedded with direct action and practice. I hope to remedy the exclusion of Davis in discussions of Critical Theory and the Institute for Social Research (ISR) as well as stimulating more discussions around women in philosophy.”
Much like Davis, Iliana believes in a philosophy centered around theory and practice. She is involved with the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) on campus which is currently mobilizing an ongoing Queer & Trans* equity campaign focused on safety and visibility for queer and trans* folks on campus from gender neutral/all gender restrooms to more hires for our WGSS department. More recently, she has been involved with INCITE!, a national organization of women and trans* people of color, whose Los Angeles chapter is just beginning to regenerate after a few years of dormancy. She also cofounded a Queer & Trans* people of color (QTPOC) Open Mic held at the Here and Now in El Sereno with Lysandro Valenzuela and Andy Gonzales, fellow WGSS minors and Cal State LA students.
Iliana Cuellar is a second year philosophy major with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her philosophical interests are social-political philosophy, feminist philosophy, and queer theory.
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Iliana!
Sheila Price: 50 Years of Dedication Through Teaching
Our very own Sheila Price will be honored at the Philosophy Department’s Spring Quarter Party for her dedication to Cal State LA over 50 years of teaching. Price graduated from UCLA in 1964 with a master’s degree in Philosophy and in addition to receiving a second master’s degree in folklore and mythology. She began teaching at Cal State LA immediately after and has been with us ever since!
Sheila Price was hired into the philosophy department at a time when women philosophers were not met with much kindness, let alone economic opportunities. Despite this fact, Sheila overcame the obstacles she faced when entering academia and went on to thrive and became an invaluable asset to the Cal State LA Philosophy Department! Social justice has always been a salient component of Sheila's teaching. She recalls being at Cal State LA during the Vietnam war when political tensions and campus mobilization were both boiling over. She states "There was tremendous excitement on the campuses during the Vietnam War. We had all kinds of protests. CSULA wasn't any different than any of the other campuses in that respect."
Sheila was awarded the very first Outstanding Lecturer Award in 2010. Sheila is known for her engaging and interesting lectures and for never turning down a student who wanted to add one of her classes! Sheila officially retired in 2004 but continues to teach part-time for most of the year. Her philosophical interests are vast and range from philosophy of religion to ancient philosophy to nineteenth century philosophy. Sheila's future plans include staying right here at Cal State LA and continuing to be an avid reader and lover of knowledge!
Sheila will be recognized for her loving dedication this Saturday, May 23rd, at the Philosophy Department's Spring Quarter Party.
For more information about the party, please contact the Philosophy Department at (323) 343-4180.
Dr. Joseph Prabhu Awarded Mayor Garcetti's Certificate of Appreciaition
Our very own Joseph Prabhu was awarded an official Certificate of Appreciation by Mayor Eric Garcetti for his work as Co-Chair of the Southern California Parliament of the World’s Religions for fostering dialogue and interfaith understanding among the religious communities of Southern California. Dr. Prabhu has organized a number of interfaith events around the city on such topics as: commemorating Gandhi and Jalaludin Rumi; the relation of inner and outer peace; science, meditation, and the engaged life; honoring water, the source of life; religions and the environmental crisis; and Islam in dialogue with modernity.
Dr. Prahbu had been teaching at Cal State LA since 1978, and his teaching reflects his broader interests in metaphysics, 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, Indian and comparative philosophy, philosophy of religion, and social and political philosophy. For thirty-seven years he has taught an introduction to philosophy course concentrating on human values and views about reality and knowledge. His goals in teaching are threefold: 1. to actually do philosophy in the classroom, so that students learn how to think for themselves, 2. to provide students with both worldviews and detailed arguments, so that they are exposed to the excitement and rigor of the subject, and 3. to show the practical relevance of such thinking to their personal lives and the world at large. As a philosopher he tries to get his students to believe what is true, to do what is right, and to love what is beautiful. Most of his courses involve a service component.For his efforts he received the Outstanding Professor Award of CSULA, 2004-2005. He has also been a visiting professor at the Universities of California, Berkeley and Santa Barbara, the University of Chicago, Harvard Divinity School, and the Institute of Advanced Studies at Shimla, India. In Fall 2015, he will be visiting professor at Oxford University.
Congratulations on your recognition, Dr. Prabhu!
Cal State LA Philosophy Department's "Only," Student Journal, Philosophy in Practice
A unique feature of the Cal State LA Philosophy Department's curriculum is the student journal, Philosophy in Practice. Philosophy in Practice is an optional, two quarter commitment that allows students to simulate the process of writing and reviewing for an academic journal. Michael Shim, Cal State LA Philosophy Department's Director of Graduate Studies, has been leading the journal since 2008. When asked what the benefits for students participating in the journal, he stated:
There are numerous benefits to writing for the journal. And the way we conduct our business may, in fact, be unique in the country. Not only do the students get to write for publication but, because the journal is paired with a writing course, it is probably the single most advanced writing class on campus. In addition to in-class or in-meeting instruction, each student's paper will be vetted by at least four sets of eyes: the faculty mentor's, those of another student participant, a set from one of the student editor's then, finally, the advisor's. Because of this thorough vetting system, the course allows the student multiple opportunities to revise her work.
The journal-course also provides a "close to real life" simulation of what it's like to be a working researcher in the field of philosophy. In addition to composing a journal-style article, the student must "referee" the paper of another student, correct the paper for grammar and style; and generate a referee report that evaluates the submission along a pre-determined set of criteria.
Finally, the journal provides students interested in applying to PhD programs the opportunity to hone a crisp 15-20 page writing sample, which is one of the two most important factors in gaining admission into a PhD program. Our philosophy department's exceptional track-record in placing our students into excellent PhD programs in philosophy is, in part, due to the success of our journal program.
Given the benefits of journal, when asked what the importance of the journal was for students, Shim stated:
No other program on campus that I'm aware of offers a course this focused on the development of a single paper. By contributing to the journal, the student has therefore an exceptional opportunity for advancing her writing skills to a near-professional level. By having to both correct and write a detailed report of someone else's submission, the student also has the opportunity to exercise all of her philosophical skills in evaluating and providing constructive criticism of another philosopher's arguments and views.
As already mentioned, for students applying to PhD programs, the course has been invaluable in helping them hone their writing samples. In the past ten years, competition for a slot in any PhD program in philosophy has increased dramatically. With such intensity in competition, it's important that our students stand out. While most candidates from other institutions simply submit a paper they have written for some philosophy course, with our journal we provide our applicants the opportunity to submit a published article. Since 2009, when the journal was revived, all but two of our successful admissions to PhD programs have published in the journal.
The student participants are currently in their first quarter of the journal. Philosophy in Practice Volume 9 will be published this Spring.
Associate Professor Michael Shim has been at Cal State LA for the past eight years. His philosophic specializations are Husserl, phenomenology, Continental philosophy, philosophy of mind, and history of philosophy.
Cal State LA Philosophy Department's "Best," Mark Balaguer
Cal State LA Philosophy Department’s very own Mark Balaguer has been a prolific asset for the department since 1992. Balaguer specializes in metaphysics, free will, philosophy of mathematics, and metaethics and incorporates a metaphysical approach to each of these various subject areas.
One of Balaguer’s most notable works is his book titled Free Will (2014). The accessibility of this book widens the potential audience to both philosophers and non-philosophers. When asked about his project, he stated:
I think this particular project is important because there are all sorts of stories in the media about how scientists (most notably, psychologists and neuroscientists) have proven that human beings don’t have free will. These arguments are pretty bad, but people in the public don’t know this and think that we have good scientific reason to disbelieve in free will. Given this, I think it’s important that there’s an informed voice that the public can go to to get the other side of the story. In my book, I go through all the relevant scientific studies and argue that, at present, there’s no good reason to doubt that we have free will. In short, on my view, it’s still an open question whether we have free will. I agree that the question is best thought of as a question for neuroscience, but I argue that we don’t currently have any good neuroscientific reason for denying that human beings have free will.
In conjunction with his theoretical work, Mark is a salient component of the Cal State LA Philosophy Department's Masters Program. He states, "Our MA program is currently one of the best MA programs in the country. It’s a great stepping stone to PhD programs. I think that any student who wants to get into a top-notch PhD program would increase his or her odds by coming to study at Cal State LA."
Balaguer has two forthcoming essays “Anti-Metaphysicalism, Necessity, and Temporal Ontology,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and “Determinism and its Relevance to the Free Will Question,” in Handbook of Neuroethics, Springer.