The Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics and a professor of Philosophy at Trent, Dr. Kathryn Norlock is the recipient of the prestigious Eastern Society for Women in Philosophy’s (E-SWIP) 2022 Distinguished Philosopher Award, which recognizes her work in advancing accessible and high-quality feminist philosophical scholarship.
“I'm honoured to be on this list with scholars that I admire as models for how to be a feminist philosopher in the profession,” says Professor Norlock. “While it is humbling to be recognized by friends and colleagues for my accomplishments as a scholar, receiving this honour also inspires me to continue to improve the presence and impact of women and feminist philosophers.”
Prof. Norlock is a longstanding member of the Canadian chapter of SWIP, an international organization that amplifies and supports women in philosophy. Prof. Norlock’s impact on feminist philosophical scholarship is undeniable. As one of her nominators put it, “her outstanding capacities as an educator, philosopher, and researcher have in multiple and tangible ways built the profession into what it is today.”
Among other contributions, she is the founder and co-editor of Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, an online, peer-reviewed journal that makes high-calibre feminist philosophical scholarship widely available. Prof. Norlock recently received $55,820 in funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Aid for Scholarly Journals to continue to share this publication at no cost to authors or readers.
Growing role of feminist and women-led philosophy
While Philosophy has traditionally been a male-dominated area of scholarship, Prof. Norlock emphasizes women philosophers and the field of feminist philosophy have much to contribute.
“Philosophy has a long history of men speculating as to the natures of women and gender nonconforming people,” she explains. “Yet philosophy is dedicated to justifications and arguments for perspectives, so it's important to have those who are theorised also be the theorizers and ensure justifications and arguments with diverse viewpoints.”
Prof. Norlock encourages her students to participate in and present at SWIP conferences to help contribute and capture more diverse perspectives in the field.
“It is such a lovely opportunity to see how women and feminist scholars are contributing to the discipline and adding to great conversations,” she explains. “It's a very vibrant place for a student to get her feet wet and see all the many things you can do in philosophy.”
Inspiring the next generation of philosophers
Prof. Norlock believes that philosophers and feminist philosophy have a lot to offer in modern society, particularly in relation to how we think about big questions around sex, gender, and our nature, as well as the ethics around how we talk about these topics.
“Feminist philosophy is still considered a marginalized part of the discipline, and in some ways Trent is a leader in incorporating feminism into its curriculum through courses like Philosophy, Gender and Feminism,” says Prof. Norlock.
Prof. Norlock is currently working on a book based on her research about when it’s OK to complain and is also participating in an interdisciplinary working group for a Templeton Foundation Grant project focussing on the nature and value of intellectual humility in contexts of oppression and marginalization.
Learn more about Philosophy at Trent and how it challenges you to think critically as you develop your own ideas about the world we live in.