Why Choose PIKSI Boston?

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Addressing a dilemma head on

Members of underrepresented groups in philosophy face a dilemma.  On the one hand, if their primary interests lie in “traditional” or “mainstream” philosophy, they are likely to be in a tiny minority in their classes and will find that the literature covered is written by members of the majority group.  As a result, they will have to deal with the effects of stereotype threat, solo status, and marginalization.  On the other hand, if their primary interests lie in critical race theory, feminism, queer studies, disability studies, and other oppositional work, they will likely be in the majority in their classes and will find the material they study is written by others who are members of underrepresented groups.  However, the issues and figures they study will often be undervalued in the dominant paradigm and their options for graduate school may be more limited.

The PIKSI Boston organizers believe that this dilemma should be addressed head-on in the summer institute.  As a result, we will not assume that the undergraduates are or should be primarily interested in critical studies, but may also be interested in “mainstream” contemporary analytic philosophy.  We are pluralist and committed to affirming diverse methods and styles of contemporary philosophy.  The goal is to provide fellows a broad exposure to philosophers and philosophical work and to increase their sense of the options available to them.  The complex set of choices will be addressed both in the instructional and in the professional development sessions.  Moreover, the faculty and graduate students invited to participate in the institute will represent a broad range of specializations.  The instructors will include philosophers from underrepresented groups who do formal work, e.g., logic, and to build the students’ confidence that they can do formal philosophy if they so choose.

Alain Locke Fellows

In honor of the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance”, PIKSI Boston alumni will receive the title of “Alain Locke Fellow.” Alain Locke (1885-1954) was an African American philosopher who receive his PhD in philosophy from Harvard University and taught at Howard University for most of his illustrious career.


Mentoring, Community & Support

PIKSI Boston aims to show students from underrepresented groups that they have a place in philosophy. To help counter the effects of stereotype threat and solo status, we will provide a structure for integrating undergraduates into the Boston-area philosophy community. Each student will be assigned a graduate student mentor who lives locally and will provide substantial long-term support.



Transportation, Room, Board & Accessibility

Transportation to and from the Institute, room and board, and a small stipend will be provided for participants. PIKSI-Boston also encourages disabled persons to apply. This year, PIKSI will be held at MIT, which fully funds accessibility requirements and supports full participation.



PIKSI Boston is a collaboration between faculty and graduate students at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This year, the summer institute will take place at MIT over the course of six days.



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