[SydPhil] Notification: Holly Lawford-Smith (Melbourne)**Please note change of ti... @ Wed 27 Feb 2019 15:30 - 17:30 (AEDT) (Seminars)

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Thu Feb 21 15:30:02 AEDT 2019

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Title: Holly Lawford-Smith (Melbourne)**Please note change of time*
Women-only spaces and the right to exclude
The ‘right to exclude’ is much-discussed in the political philosophy  
literature on immigration. Theorists argue that a nation has the right to  
self-determination, and that a significant part of self-determination is  
the freedom to associate (and to not associate) at will. Thus, it is up to  
nations whether and to what extend they admit would-be migrants. In pushing  
back against this claim, opponents tend to draw distinctions between groups  
of different kinds, from intimate associations like marriages, through  
expressive associations like religions, to political associations like  
nations. Intimate and expressive associations, they concede, may have the  
right to self-determination and so a right to exclude; but political  
associations do not. I draw on this discussion over immigration to assess  
two different claims made by gender critical feminists, first, that female  
people are entitled to female-only spaces (to the exclusion of all male  
people, regardless of gender identity), and second, that lesbians are  
entitled to lesbian-only spaces (to the exclusion of all male people,  
regardless of gender identity). I include under the broad category of  
‘spaces’ both identity terms like ‘woman’, ‘female’, and ‘lesbian’, and  
also categories like women’s sports and women-only shortlists. The right to  
exclude premised upon national self-determination is undermined by a  
difficulty in specifying what the ‘self’ in ‘self-determination’ is  
supposed to be, but this difficult does not cross over to the category of  
‘women’ or the category of ‘lesbian’, even though both terms are  
politically contested at present. I argue that for the same reasons some  
people think you cannot be racist against dominant racial groups, we should  
also think there is no problem in excluding members of dominant groups.  
Nations’ right to exclude is at its most controversial precisely because of  
the vulnerability of would-be migrants (e.g. refugees, ecological migrants,  
and economic migrants). But transwomen are not made vulnerable by exclusion  
from female-only spaces, in particular when there are third spaces  
available. So the two cases are not parallel. Women, and lesbians, have the  
right to exclude.
NB: Tea starts at 3pm
When: Wed 27 Feb 2019 15:30 – 17:30 Eastern Australia Time - Sydney
Where: Muniment Room, University of Sydney
Calendar: Seminars
     * Luara Ferracioli- creator

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