The Public Humanist

The Public Humanist contributor: Sally Haslanger

Sally HaslangerSally Haslanger is a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. She has published on topics in metaphysics, epistemology and feminist theory, with a recent emphasis on accounts of the social construction of race and gender. In metaphysics, her work has focused on theories of substance, especially on the problem of persistence through change and on Aristotle's view that substances are composites of matter and form. Her work in feminist theory takes up issues in feminist epistemology and metaphysics, with a special interest in the distinction between natural and social kinds. She has co-edited Adoption Matters: Philosophical and Feminist Essays (Cornell University Press, 2005) with Charlotte Witt, Theorizing Feminisms (Oxford University Press, 2005) with Elizabeth Hackett, and Persistence (MIT Press, 2006) with Roxanne Marie Kurtz. She regularly teaches courses cross-listed with Women's Studies. Before coming to MIT, she taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of California-Irvine.

Adoption, Race, Culture: A Recent History

It’s funny how a photograph can stick in your mind. Maybe the stillness of the image gives it time to sink in, like dye, and become part of you. One image that sticks in my mind is of a White woman, perhaps a little older than I am now, with graying hair, standing in front of a sink. A tall young Black man is standing next to her. They are washing dishes and light enters from a window in front of them. They aren’t facing the camera.