Philosophy Talk Wins NEH Grant for "Wise Women" Series

 The sixteen-episode series will celebrate the unsung heroines of philosophy.

 [SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2023] — Philosophy Talk, the award-winning, nationally syndicated radio program “that questions everything—except your intelligence,” has been awarded a media production grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create “Wise Women,” a series about female philosophers through the ages. 

 The sixteen-episode series, which starts the week of July 23, 2023, with an episode on the late antiquity scholar Hypatia of Alexandria, will be divided into two seasons, the first focusing on historical figures from the 5th century to the 19th century, the second on contemporary figures who lived during the 20th century. Each episode will spotlight a different philosopher and will feature a guest scholar in conversation with the program’s hosts, Stanford professors Ray Briggs and Josh Landy. 

 While listeners may have heard of some of the philosophers featured in these episodes, many names will be unfamiliar; but this is part of the story the series will tell. It will be a celebration of philosophy’s unsung heroines, and an opportunity to bring public attention to these women’s often overlooked and underrated contributions to philosophy and beyond.

 “Women in philosophy have not been projected or represented as much as they deserve,” says Kathryn Sophia Belle, featured scholar for the episode on writer, educator, and civil rights activist Anna Julia Cooper. “I know this well from nearly two decades of experience as a philosophy professor and fifteen years of experience as the Founding Director of Collegium of Black Women Philosophers. This series on women philosophers will bring new light to a wider audience.”

Lisa Shapiro, featured expert on the work of 17th-century philosopher Elisabeth of Bohemia, adds, “While scholarship on women philosophers has gained momentum over the past two decades, awareness of a general audience about this recovery of important figures in our intellectual heritage has lagged behind. Introducing a selection of women philosophers of the past to a wide audience will not only educate that audience about thinkers who might well be new to them, it will also encourage listeners to find out more about other thinkers neglected in our intellectual histories and to reflect on the many forms that philosophy takes and can take.”

 “This Philosophy Talk series is both important and likely to generate increased interest in a neglected component of philosophy’s past,” says Christina Van Dyke, featured scholar for the episode on 12th-century polymath Hildegard von Bingen, “namely, the contribution of women to the ideologies that shape cultures and set the standard for what people think about who they are, what they know, and how to live. The series’ focus on both European and non-European figures is a particularly important component. The role women played in European philosophical contexts has been increasingly recognized in the past few decades, but the role women played in non-European contexts has been as neglected as those contexts themselves. Placing these women in their larger contexts and making their contributions accessible to a larger audience will be a wonderful step forward in demonstrating how philosophy is not just a field of study but a way of life.”

 “Wise Women” will be broadcast as part of Philosophy Talk’s regular hour-long weekly program, which airs on KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area and in over 130 regions across the country. It is also available as a podcast on the Philosophy Talk website and via numerous audio apps.


 For more information about Philosophy Talk’s Wise Women series and to listen to future episodes, see: