Alison Bailey Illinois State University
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  • Faculty, Illinois State University
  • PhD, University of Cincinnati, 1993.

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About me
Alison Bailey is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Illinois State University. My scholarship engages broadly with questions in feminist ethics, with an applied focus on social justice issues related to race and gender privilege, intersectionality, reproductive justice, and epistemologies of ignorance. In particular I’m interested in understanding how race and gender privilege confine both our theoretical understandings of moral concepts, and their application to contemporary social issues.
My works
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  1. Alison Bailey (forthcoming). 'White Talk' as a Barrier to Understanding Whiteness. In George Yancy (ed.), What's It Like to Be a White Problem? Lexington Books.
    My project is to explain why the question ‘How does it feel to be a white problem?’ cannot be answered in the fluttering grammar of white talk. The whiteness of white talk lies not only in its having emerged from white mouths, but also in its evasiveness—in its attempt to suppress fear and anxiety, and its consequential [if unintended] reinscription and legitimation of racist oppression. I White talk is designed, indeed scripted, for the purposes of evading, rejecting, and remaining ignorant (...)
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  2. Alison Bailey (2011). On White Shame and Vulnerabiltiy. South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):472-483.
    In this paper I address a tension in Samantha Vice’s claim that humility and silence offer effective moral responses to white shame in the wake of South African apartheid. Vice describes these twin virtues using inward-turning language of moral self-repair, but she also acknowledges that this ‘personal, inward directed project’ has relational dimensions. Her failure to explore the relational strand, however, leaves her description of white shame sounding solitary and penitent. -/- My response develops the missing relational dimensions of white (...)
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  3. Alison Bailey (2011). Reconceiving Surrogacy: Toward a Reproductive Justice Account of Indian Surrogacy. Hypatia 26 (4):715-741.
    My project here is to argue for situating moral judgments about Indian surrogacy in the context of Reproductive Justice. I begin by crafting the best picture of Indian surrogacy available to me while marking some worries I have about discursive colonialism and epistemic honesty. Western feminists' responses to contract pregnancy fall loosely into two interrelated moments: post-Baby M discussions that focus on the morality of surrogacy work in Western contexts, and feminist biomedical ethnographies that focus on the lived dimensions of (...)
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  4. Alison Bailey (2010). On Intersectionality and the Whiteness of Feminist Philosophy. In George Yancy (ed.), THE CENTER MUST NOT HOLD: WHITE WOMEN PHILOSOPHERS ON THE WHITENESS OF PHILOSOPHY. Lexington Books.
    In this paper I explore some possible reasons why white feminists philosophers have failed to engage the radical work being done by non-Western women, U.S. women of color and scholars of color outside of the discipline. -/- Feminism and academic philosophy have had lots to say to one another. Yet part of what marks feminist philosophy as philosophy is our engagement with the intellectual traditions of the white forefathers. I’m not uncomfortable with these projects: Aristotle, Foucault, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Quine, Austin, (...)
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  5. Alison Bailey (2008). On Intersectionality, Empathy, and Feminist Solidarity. Peace and Justice Studies 18 (2):14-36.
    Naomi Zack's Inclusive Feminism: A Third Wave Theory of Women's Commonality (2005) begins with an original reading of the paradigm shift that ended U.S. second wave feminism. According to Zack there has been a crisis in academic and professional feminism since the late 1970s. It grew out of the anxieties about essentialism in the wake of white feminist's realization that our understandings of "sisterhood" and "women" excluded women of color and poor women. This realization eventually lead to the movement's foundational (...)
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  6. Alison Bailey & Chris Cuomo (2008). The Feminist Philosophy Reader. McGraw Hill.
    The most comprehensive anthology of feminist philosophy available, this first edition reader brings together over 55 of the most influential and time-tested works to have been published in the field of feminist philosophy. Featuring perspectives from across the philosophical spectrum, and from an array of different cultural vantage points, it displays the incredible range, diversity, and depth of feminist writing on fundamental issues, from the early second wave to the present.
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  7. Alison Bailey (2007). Strategic Ignorance. In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. 77--94.
    I want to explore strategic expressions of ignorance against the background of Charles W. Mills's account of epistemologies of ignorance in The Racial Contract (1997). My project has two interrelated goals. I want to show how Mills's discussion is restricted by his decision to frame ignorance within the language and logic of social contract theory. And, I want to explain why Maria Lugones's work on purity is useful in reframing ignorance in ways that both expand our understandings of ignorance and (...)
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  8. Alison Bailey & Jacquelyn N. Zita (2007). The Reproduction of Whiteness: Race and the Regulation of the Gendered Body. Hypatia 22 (2).
    Historically critical reflection on whiteness in the United States has been a long-standing practice in slave folklore and in Mexican resistance to colonialism, Asian American struggles against exploitation and containment, and Native American stories of contact with European colonizers. Drawing from this legacy and from the disturbing silence on "whiteness" in postsecondary institutions, critical whiteness scholarship has emerged in the past two decades in U.S. academies in a variety of disciplines. A small number of philosophers, critical race theorists, postcolonial theorists, (...)
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  9. Alison Bailey (2005). Book Review: Chris Cuomo. The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003. [REVIEW] Hypatia 20 (3):218-221.
    The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge. By Chris Cuomo. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003. The Philosopher Queen is a powerful illustration of what Cherríe Moraga calls a "theory in the flesh." That is, theorizing from a place where "physical realities of our lives—our skin color, the land or concrete we grow up on, our sexual longings—all fuse to create a politic [and, I would add, an ethics, spirituality, and epistemology] born out of necessity" (...)
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  10. Alison Bailey (2005). Book Review: Naomi Zack.Women of Color and Philosophy. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. [REVIEW] Hypatia 20 (1):220-225.
    Naomi Zack’s unique and important collection, Women of Color and Philosophy, brings together for the first time the voices of twelve philosophers who are women of color. She begins with the premise that the work of women of color who do philosophy in academe, but who do not write exclusively on issues of race, ethnicity, and gender, merits a collection of its own. It’s rare that women of color pursue philosophy in academic contexts; Zack counts at most thirty among the (...)
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  11. Alison Bailey (2005). The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge (Review). Hypatia 20 (3):218-221.
  12. Alison Bailey (2005). Women of Color and Philosophy (Review). Hypatia 20 (1):220-225.
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  13. Alison Bailey (2003). Designer Food: Mutant Harvest or Breadbasket of the World? Ethics 113 (4):927.
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  14. Alison Bailey, Jan M. Boxill, Emmett L. Bradbury, Maudemarie Clark, Samir J. Haddad & Colin M. Patrick (2003). Book Notes. [REVIEW] Ethics 113 (4):923-928.
    It's surprising that contemporary moral philosophers have not thought more about food. The rapidly expanding industrialized landscape of modern western agribusiness raises moral concerns about large-scale livestock production, the increased usage of genetically modified crops, and the effects these now common practices may have on long-term environmental and human health. Here Pence argues that biotechnology is more helpful than harmful, on the ground that it will abate world hunger. Positioning himself as an "impartialbioethicist" he sets about the task of sorting (...)
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  15. Alison Bailey (2001). Taking Responsibility for Community Violence. In Peggy DesAutels & JoAnne Waugh (eds.), FEMINISTS DOING ETHICS.
    This article examines the responses of two communities to hate crimes in their cities. In particular it explores how community understandings of responsibility shape collective responses to hate crimes. I use the case of Bridesberg, Pennsylvania to explore how anti-racist work is restricted by backward-looking conceptions of moral responsibility (e.g. being responsible). Using recent writings in feminist ethics.(1) I argue for a forward-looking notion that advocates an active view: taking responsibility for attitudes and behaviors that foster climates in which hate (...)
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  16. Alison Bailey (1999). Despising an Identity They Taught Me to Claim. In Chris J. Cuomo & Kim Q. Hall (eds.), WHITENESS: FEMINIST PHILOSOPHICAL NARRATIVES.
    This essay is a personal philosophical reflection on particular dilemma privilege-cognizant white feminists face in thinking through how to use privilege in liberatory ways. Privilege takes on a new dimension for whites who resist common defensive or guilt-ridden responses to privilege and struggle to understand the connections between ill-gotten advantages and the genuine injustices that deny humanity to peoples of color. The temptation to despise whiteness and its accompanying privilege is a common response to white privilege awareness and it is (...)
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  17. Alison Bailey, Bat Ami Bar-On, Linda Lopez-McAlister, Lisa Tessman, Judy Scales-Trent & Naomi Zack (1999). Whiteness: Feminist Philosophical Reflections. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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  18. Alison Bailey (1998). Locating Traitorous Identities: Toward a View of Privilege-Cognizant White Character. Hypatia 13 (3):27 - 42.
    I address the problem of how to locate "traitorous" subjects, or those who belong to dominant groups yet resist the usual assumptions and practices of those groups. I argue that Sandra Harding's description of traitors as insiders, who "become marginal" is misleading. Crafting a distinction between "privilege-cognizant" and "privilege-evasive" white scripts, I offer an alternative account of race traitors as privilege-cognizant whites who refuse to animate expected whitely scripts, and who are unfaithful to worldviews whites are expected to hold.
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  19. Alison Bailey (1998). Locating Traitorous Identities: Toward a Theory of White Character Formation. Hypatia 13 (3).
    This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions and (...)
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  20. Alison Bailey (1998). Privilege: Expanding on Marilyn Frye's Oppression. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (3):104-119.
    This essay serves as both a response and embellishment of Marilyn Frye's now classic essay "Oppression." It is meant to pick up where this essay left off and to make connections between oppression, as Frye defines it, and the privileges that result from institutional structures. This essay tries to clarify one meaning of privilege that is lost in philosophical discussions of injustice. I develop a distinction between unearned privileges and earned advantages. Clarifying the meaning of privilege as unearned structural advantage (...)
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  21. A. Bailey (1997). Paul Thagard, Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science. Journal of Consciousness Studies 4:379-379.
     
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  22. A. Bailey (1997). Rocco J. Gennaro, Mind and Brain: A Dialogue on the Mind-Body Problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 4:276-276.
     
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  23. Alison Bailey (1995). Mothering, Diversity and Peace: Comments on Sara Ruddick's Feminist Maternal Peace Politics. Journal of Social Philosophy 26 (1):162-182.
    Sara Ruddick's contemporary philosophical account of mothering reconsiders the maternal arguments used in the women's peace movements of the earlier part of this century. The culmination of this project is her 1989 book, Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. Ruddick's project is ground-breaking work in both academic philosophy and feminist theory. -/- In this chapter, I first look at the relationship between the two basic components of Ruddick's argument in Maternal Thinking: the "practicalist conception of truth" (PCT) and feminist (...)
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  24. Alison Bailey (1994). Mothering, Diversity, and Peace Politics. Hypatia 9 (2):188-198.
  25. Alison Bailey (1994). Review: Mothering, Diversity, and Peace Politics. [REVIEW] Hypatia 9 (2):188 - 198.
    The most popular uniting theme in feminist peace literature grounds women's peace work in mothering. I argue if maternal arguments do not address the variety of relationships different races and classes of mothers have to institutional violence and/or the military, then the resulting peace politics can only draw incomplete conclusions about the relationships between maternal work/thinking and peace. To illustrate this I compare two models of mothering: Sara Ruddick's decription of "maternal practice" and Patricia Hill Collins's account of racial-ethnic women's (...)
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