As an undergraduate in Philosophy at Mt. Allison University I discovered, much to my surprise, that philosophical issues were being hotly debated in archaeology. I worked on historic period sites for Parks Canada in the 1970s and early 1980s at a time when the New Archaeologists, vocal advocates of scientific practice, were explicitly drawing inspiration from positivist models of explanation and confirmation. Courses in history and philosophy of science offered by Paul Bogaard helped me make the connections, and encouraged me to look for a graduate program that would allow me to explore more systematically the underlying epistemic issues.

I found an ideal venue for doing this in the short-lived Program for the History and Philosophy of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (HPSBS) offered by the Philosophy Department at the State University of Binghamton. HPSBS encouraged practice-grounded philosophical analysis and required students to undertake M.A. training in whatever social science they intended to study as philosophers. So, in addition to working with the HPSBS faculty, including a number of visitors to the program (Rom Harré, Dick Boyd), I studied with a group of archaeologists in the Binghamton Anthropology Department who had particularly strong theoretical, philosophical interests; they included Meg Conkey, John Fritz, and Chuck Redman. The HPSBS program also made it possible for me to spend a semester working with Merrilee and Wes Salmon at the University of Arizona, and two terms at Oxford with my thesis supervisor, Rom Harré, at the point when I began writing my dissertation. I describe this background in more detail in the preface to Thinking From Things and in my 2017 Dewey Lecture; see also recent Interviews.

B.A. Honours (with distinction): Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick (1972-1976) Departments of Philosophy and Sociology

Ph.D. and M.A.: State University of New York at Binghamton (1976-1981) Departments of Philosophy and Anthropology

  • M.A. in Anthropology (May 1979). Thesis: Analogical Reasoning in Archaeology. Advisor: Merrilee Salmon.
  • Ph.D. in Philosophy (January 1982). Dissertation: Positivism and the New Archaeology. Director: Rom Harré, Oxford University.

When I began my PhD in the late 1970s the APA had a practice of circulating a letter to new graduate students warning us that there were no jobs to be had in philosophy. I was fortunate to secure a series of postdoctoral fellowships when I completed my degree, first at the University of Calgary and then at Washington University in St. Louis. In both contexts I worked with colleagues who were playing a pivotal role drawing attention to philosophical issues in archaeology: Marsha Hanen (Philosophy) and Jane Kelly (Archaeology) in Calgary, and Patty Jo Watson (Archaeology) and Red Watson (Philosophy) in St. Louis.

In 1985 I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University) where I taught for thirteen years. I moved to the U.S. in 1998 where I have held positions at Washington University in St. Louis, Barnard College/Columbia University in New York, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. I held a one-third position in Philosophy at Durham University in the U.K. from 2013 to 2017 and continue to be affiliated with the Centers for Ethics of Cultural Heritage and Humanities Engaging Science and Society. In 2017 I took a position in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and in 2018 was awarded a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Philosophy of the Social and Historical Sciences.

I have held a number of research positions and visitorships. Most recently, I was a Visiting Fellow at ANU (2013, 2014 and 2019); I spent a term at the Durham Institute for Advanced Study during the year when their focal theme was “Time” (2012), and I held a six-month Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at Reading University in 2010. Earlier appointments include research fellowships at Stanford at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research (2005-2006) and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1995-1996), the Leo Block Visiting Professorship at Denver University (1995), several stints as a Visiting Scholar and Teaching Fellow in the Archaeology Research Facility at UC-Berkeley (1989, 1990-1992), and with the Philosophy of Science group at Wuhan University (1988).

Teaching Positions

  • University of British Columbia, Department of Philosophy (appointed 2017)
  • Durham University, Department of Philosophy: one-third appointment (Michelmas terms, 2013-2017)
  • University of Washington: Professor, Department of Philosophy, cross-appointed in the Department of Anthropology; Adjunct Professor of Women Studies (2005-2017)
  • Barnard College, Columbia University: Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, Barnard College; Department of Philosophy, Columbia University (2003-2005)
  • Washington University: Professor of Philosophy, cross-appointed in the Program for Social Thought and Analysis, and affiliated with the Department of Anthropology (1998-2003)
  • University of Western Ontario: Professor of Philosophy (1993-1998); Associate Professor (1989-1993); Assistant Professor (1985-1989); Honorary Professor in the Department of Anthropology (1995-1998)
  • University of California-Berkeley: Visiting Professor, Department of Anthropology (Spring semester 1989)
  • University of Calgary: Instructor, Department of Philosophy (1981-1983, 1984-1985)

Research Positions and Visiting Appointments

  • University of Waterloo, Department of Philosophy: Humphrey Professorship of Feminist Philosophy (January-May 2024)
  • Australian National University, College of Arts and Social Sciences: Visiting Fellow, Archaeology and Anthropology (March 2013), Philosophy (April-May 2014 and June-July 2019)
  • Durham University, Institute for Advanced Study: Visiting Fellow (Fall 2012)
  • Reading University, Department of Archaeology: Leverhulme Visiting Professor (January-July 2010)
  • Stanford University, Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research: Senior Research Fellow (2005-2006)
  • École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris): professeur invité (May-June 2003)
  • New York University, Applied Philosophy Group: Visiting Scholar (2001-2002)
  • Columbia University, Department of Anthropology: Visiting Scholar (2001-2002)
  • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford CA: Fellow (1995-1996)
  • University of Denver, Women’s Studies: Leo Block Visiting Professor (Winter/Spring 1995)
  • University of California-Berkeley, Anthropology (Archaeology Research Facility) and Beatrice Bain Research Group: Visiting Scholar (1990-1992)
  • Cambridge University, Clare Hall: Visiting Fellow (Michelmas Term 1990)
  • University of Western Ontario: Faculty of Arts Research Professor (1987-1988)
  • Washington University, Department of Philosophy: Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (1983-1984)
  • University of Calgary, Department of Philosophy: University Postdoctoral Fellow (1982-1983 and 1984-1985)
  • Calgary Institute for the Humanities: Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (1981-1982)
  • The British Academy, Corresponding Fellow (elected July 2024)
  • Royal Society of Canada, Fellow (elected July 2021, inducted November 2022)
  • Australian Academy of the Humanities, Corresponding Fellow (elected November 2019)
  • 2019 Saunders Lecturer, Australasian Association of Philosophy
  • 2017 Dewey Lecturer, Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association
  • 2016 Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecturer, Simpson Center for the Humanities, University of Washington
  • 2013 Distinguished Woman Philosopher of the Year, Society for Women in Philosophy
  • 2011-2012 President, Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association
  • 2008 Patty Jo Watson Distinguished Lecturer, Archaeology Division, American Anthropological Association
  • 1996-97 USC Teaching Honour Roll, University of Western Ontario Students’ Council
  • 1995 Presidential Award, Society for American Archaeology, for contributions to the Committee for Ethics in Archaeology

Professional Societies (recent, selected)

Editorial and Advisory Boards (current):

Philosophy of Science Association: President (2019-2020) and Governing Board member (2017-2022); Finance committee (2018-2022); Presidential Plenary (2021/2022); Committee on Sustainability (2020-present); Philosophy of Science Publisher Search Chair (2018-2020); Executive Office and Director Search (2019-2020); Public Forum Chair (2018); Nominating Committee (2010-2012); Women’s Caucus Essay Prize Selection Committee (2010-2012); Philosophy of Science Editor Search Committee (2008); Governing Board member (2002-2006); Ad Hoc Committee on Governance (2004-2005); Program Committee: member (1999-2000).

American Philosophical Association: President, Pacific Division, 2011-2012; National Executive Board member (2010-2013); Ad Hoc Committee for the Journal of the American Philosophical Association (2012-2013); Communications and Publications Task Force (2011-2012); Ad Hoc Committee on By-law Amendments, Pacific Division (2006-2007); Task Force for the Survey of the Profession (2000-2002).

Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice: Advisory Board member (since 2008)

Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable: co-founder and member of the organizing group 1999-2018


Hypatia, Journal of Feminist Philosophy: senior co-editor when the editorial office was hosted by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, University of Washington (2008-2015); member of the Hypatia Board of Associate Editors (2008-2017) and a founding board member and Treasurer of Hypatia Inc. (2008-2016).

  • Ethics, Policy and Environment: Editorial Board, appointed 2005.
  • Feminist Philosophy Quarterly: Advisory Board, 2014-2019.
  • Histories of Anthropology Annual: Editorial Board, appointed 2003.
  • International Journal of Cultural Property: Editorial Board, appointed 2004.
  • International Studies in Philosophy of Science: Editorial Board, appointed 1996.
  • Journal of the American Philosophical Association: Advisory Board, appointed 2013.