Adelaide Fowle ’19 and Grace Marshall ’19 each presented their own papers at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Undergraduate Philosophy Conference this spring.
“It was a great opportunity to share and get feedback on my work outside of HWS,” says Marshall, whose paper “Strategic Ignorance in the Trans Advocacy Movement” explored the removal of agency from oppressed groups. “Not only was I able talk about a topic I am very passionate about, but I was able to hear about the passions and works of other undergraduates from other institutions.”
Fowle also explored power dynamics in her paper “Ignorance and Knowledge: A Social Epistemologist Account of Epistemic Inferiority,” a study of how bias in knowledge have historically marginalized women and people of color.
“For me, the most rewarding part of the conference was the audience’s response to my presentation,” says Fowle, a philosophy major and Teaching Fellow on campus. “It was awesome to see people respond so positively and to be so engaged with the theories that I presented, and to ask questions about the ways in which they could apply these theories of epistemology and ignorance to their own lives.”
For Marshall, her experiences conducting research for Associate Professor of Biology Bradley Cosentino and Professor of Biology David Droney, as well as competing with the HWS Debate Team equipped her with the public speaking skills and worldview necessary for the conference. The biology and philosophy double major cites her philosophy classes as deepening her framework for inquiry.
“Associate Professor of Philosophy Karen Frost-Arnold has deconstructed and reconstructed the entire way I approach finding the truth and what I accept as true. Her class was monumental in encouraging me to take a critical eye not only to claims, but the ways in which people engage with truth and testimony,” says Marshall, who will continue her lab work this summer as she prepares to apply to graduate doctorate programs in ecology.
For Fowle, the HWS Philosophy Department has expanded her interest in the field “by showing how diverse and compelling studying philosophy can be.” Through policy or non-profits, Fowle hopes to use philosophical theory to find intersectional solutions to contemporary issues in women’s studies, like feminist health.
This summer, Fowle is interning at Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, an organization that provides services to promote consent, safety and wellness. On campus, Fowle organizes the William Smith club soccer team and is a member of the HWS IX Coordinating Committee.