Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) UK is the UK arm of a worldwide network of philosophy students, academic staff and non-academic philosophers aiming to change philosophy and its public perception for the better. Founded in 2014 by our first UK Director Filippo Contesi, MAP UK now has local chapters in universities across the country, and we're continually expanding. Unifying our chapters, the national team and the wider global network are three guiding principles. Diversity. Equality. Philosophy.
...is the first aim of our organisation, and in this we mean two things. First, we aim to increase the representation of historically under-represented groups (e.g., BAME, LGBTQ+, women, people with disabilities etc.) in the academic discipline of philosophy. Second, we aim to challenge the dominant LEMM*-centric 'core' of the discipline, and develop a more pluralistic, inclusive canon that draws from all groups and all traditions. These steps are important, but diversity alone is not enough.
...is our second aim. Here, we mean providing real equal opportunities to all that result in more equal outcomes. This recognises that if we present the same bar to jump for all those interested in philosophy, it will be those for whom jumping the bar is easiest that are more likely to succeed, and that this is not a pure measure of competence or skill - some have a financial, social or personal 'leg up'. As such, our work in this area is focused on removing structural barriers to wider participation that exist at all levels, whether in application processes, in attending events, or wherever they might be..
...is the focal point of our work. There is important work to be done inside philosophy departments to foreground the voices of those marginalised people already here, whether by writing more inclusive syllabi, creating support networks or giving them a platform to speak. But it is also important to understand that philosophy is not, and should not be, insular. Rather, it is situated within a broader social context, an academic system in which there are ingrained inequalities we must deal with, and a society which we must reach out to. Our actions must reflect these facts. That an outcome requires a broader coalition than ourselves to succeed is not an excuse for inaction. It is a rallying cry to move beyond the department, the academy, to demolish the ivory tower and speak to the public at large.
Once we have achieved these aims, our organisation will no longer be needed, our values will be integral to philosophy as a discipline and practice. Until then, we will continue to make philosophy a better place for all to study, work and participate.