A Non-Defensive Defense of Our Anthology

A regular criticism of our anthology – nicely articulated in an upcoming NDPR review – is that there are almost no women in it. We’ve acknowledged this criticism before and lament the paucity of women ourselves. I have even taken the criticism further by pointing out the absence of indigenous voices, Marxists, neo-Thomists, and neo-Kantians (who, incidentally, might have formed the dominant school of philosophy in Mexico in the 1930s).

In our non-defensive defense, we’ve said that, given the aims and parameters of the book, we’re not sure whom we might have included. Of course there is Sor Juana, who belongs in any anthology on Mexican philosophy. But the majority of her work has already been translated into English, and part of our aim was to offer as many original translations as possible. And, as Fanny del Rio has pointed out, it’s true that women began to study philosophy and produce original work by 1950, but almost none that we (and our colleagues in Mexico and the US who consulted us) are aware of were working specifically on la filosofía de lo mexicano by 1960. In general, we wanted to introduce philosophers in the US to a coherent tradition of Mexican philosophy – one unified by a dialogue and set of themes and questions – that took Mexico and Mexican identity as its central theme and that, in its difference, represented a critical challenge to Western philosophy, broadly construed. For that reason, we decided to anthologize one dimension of philosophy in Mexico that emerged from the rubble of the Mexican Revolution (1910) and that began to wane, as a live conversation, somewhere around 1960.

Nevertheless, the lack of representation not only perpetuates a long history of epistemic injustice, as others have correctly and forcefully pointed out, but it also contradicts the fundamental aim of our anthology: diversity and inclusion in philosophy. So even if it’s true that there are no women or indigenous voices we might have included, given the aims and parameters of the first anthology, it’s also true that we can and should broaden those aims and parameters for future anthologies.

For these and other reasons, Carlos and I have decided to edit another anthology of underrepresented Mexican voices in Mexico. We will broaden our time frame to include philosophy after the first Mexican Revolution (1810) up to 2010, and will include would-be canonical texts that speak to a variety of philosophical themes and issues (as opposed to focusing specifically on lo mexicano).

In truth, this is something we always planned to do, as we suggested in our introduction. But now that the pain of translating the first anthology is wearing off, and the criticisms of it are rolling in, we feel the same sense of urgency that carried us through round one.

Please feel free to share with us whom you think must be included, and let us know if you’d like to translate. As was the case with our first anthology, there’s no way we can (or should try to) do this on our own.


One response to “A Non-Defensive Defense of Our Anthology

  1. Great idea! You may consider looking through the indigenously authored poems, prose and plays collected in the three volume anthology, Palabras de los seres verdaderos edited by Montemayor & Firschman (U Texas Press). All entries appear in native language, Spanish and English. Ildefonso Maya’s (Nahuatl-speaker) play, “The Learned Ones”, might work. Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s