Sunday, November 30, 2008

Going Back to the Roots: Plain Persons asking Questions about the Human Good and the Nature of Things, School of Philosophy, UC Dublin, March 9, 2009.

The third Annual Conference of the International Society for MacIntyrean Enquiry will take place in Dublin to coincide with a major international conference to mark the 80th birthday of Alasdair MacIntyre (See We invite papers that engage critically with themes in MacIntyre’s work. Proposals for papers engaging with other thinkers in MacIntyre’s tradition (e.g. Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Karl Marx, and Edith Stein) are also welcome. The registration fee is 25 euros. Applicants are invited to submit a paper proposal in Word or PDF format, including paper title and an abstract of between 150 and 250 words to: The deadline for proposing a paper is 1st January, 2009. Confirmation with respect to acceptance will be delivered by 12th January. Written papers in Word or PDF format must be submitted via email only, no later than 15th February. Papers will be forwarded to all registered participants. The presentation of each paper is limited to 20 minutes, and will be followed by a discussion based on the assumption that participants have read the papers. Visit the conference homepage here:

Mark McWatt Presents the Edward Baugh 2008 Lecture.

The Department of Literatures in English of the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies hosted the second lecture in the Edward Baugh Distinguished Lecture Series on Sunday, October 12, 2008 at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, UWI, Mona. The guest speaker was Professor Emeritus Mark McWatt, an award-winning author. He has published two collections of poetry, the second of which, The Language of Eldorado (1994), was awarded the Guyana Prize. His first work of prose fiction, Suspended Sentences (2005), was the winner of a Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2006. For a filmed version of the online lecture, visit UWI TV:

Fearn, Hannah. "The Great Divide." TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION November 20, 2008.

The discipline of anthropology has split firmly into two factions - social anthropologists and evolutionary anthropologists. Renowned anthropologist Eric Wolf once described his discipline as "the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences." Perhaps he was attempting to capture the uniqueness of a subject that can talk to both academic camps but, by the time he died in 1999, his words articulated the growing split within the discipline. Today, anthropology is at war with itself. The discipline has divided into two schools of thought - the social anthropologists and the evolutionary anthropologists. The schism between the two is simple but deeply ingrained. Academics in the subject clearly align themselves with one side or the other; once that choice is made it defines their career. The division lies in the question of whether or not anthropology is a science, and if it accepts that Darwinian evolutionary theory guides research into human behaviour and the development of societies. On one side are the evolutionary anthropologists. "(They believe) our behaviour is based on things that we did to find mates in our years of evolution," says Alex Bentley, a lecturer in anthropology at Durham University. "Then we have the social anthropologists. Some of them really strongly reject this kind of thinking. They consider it reductionist. They are focused on the specifics of culture." Put crudely, social anthropologists describe and compare the development of human cultures and societies, while evolutionary anthropologists seek to explain it by reference to our biological evolution. The two sides of the one discipline are struggling to unite. "They just do not see eye to eye. They don't see anything the same way," says Bentley. "It can be very difficult. In some departments they hardly speak. Professionally there is almost no overlap. One is more descriptive and the other is more analytical. It's a very clear dividing line in many departments. It often causes a lot of acrimony." Read the rest here:

Erlanger, Steven. "100th Birthday Tributes Pour in for Levi-Strauss." NEW YORK TIMES November 28, 2008.

Claude Lévi-Strauss, who altered the way Westerners look at other civilizations, turned 100 on Friday, and France celebrated with films, lectures and free admission to the museum he inspired, the Musée du Quai Branly. Mr. Lévi-Strauss is cherished in France, and is an additional reminder of the nation’s cultural significance in the year when another Frenchman, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mr. Lévi-Strauss shot to prominence early, but with his 1955 book, Tristes Tropiques, a sort of anthropological meditation based on his travels in Brazil and elsewhere in the 1930s, he became a national treasure of a specially French kind. The jury of the Prix Goncourt, France’s most famous literary award, said that it would have given the prize to Tristes Tropiques had it been fiction. Mr. Lévi-Strauss, a Brussels-born and Paris-bred Jew, fled France after its capitulation to the Nazis in 1940. He spent the next eight years based in the United States, where he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York and was influenced by noted anthropologists like Franz Boas, who taught at Columbia. On Friday, the culmination of several days of celebration, there were no false notes. At the Quai Branly, 100 scholars and writers read from or lectured on the work of Mr. Lévi-Strauss, while documentaries about him were screened, and guided visits were provided to the collections, which include some of his own favorite artifacts. . . . Read the rest here: See also:

Wieder, Laurance. "Happy Birthday Milton: the Poet-Prophet Turns 500." WEEKLY STANDARD December 1, 2008.

I wouldn't recommend John Milton's sacred epics, or even his short poems, to a newcomer to the English language. The poetry of Andrew Marvell, John Donne, William Blake, and Emily Dickinson share his themes, is good to learn by heart, and can enter through many gates. It is written in the vernacular, maybe encrusted by the fashions of their times, but still alluring. Adamantine, hard from the start, Milton's English poetry aspires to biblical Hebrew and, for good or ill, succeeds. John Milton (1608-1674) is read mostly in university courses (that's by the priestly caste) and by novelists and poets. Unlike the Bible, or Blake, or Dickinson, Paradise Lost is not amenable to paraphrase. There's no graphic novelization, no stage or movie treatment even of his life, much less of the (relatively) simple Paradise Regain'd. The greatness of his art is its difficulty, its intransigence, its irreducible material. All Milton's settings and actions occur in the mind. Even Samson Agonistes, patterned on Greek tragedy, was not intended for performance. Whatever the virtues of the Handel oratorio based on Milton's text, it is something other (and less) than the original. Paradise Lost, Paradise Regain'd, and Samson Agonistes were dictated by a blind poet; they were not written. When Milton says "Sing," he's invoking more than literary convention. He couldn't proof his last works, never saw the books in print or read them to himself. Unless the epics are read aloud, it's impossible to hear them, no matter how developed the inward ear. This presents a daunting task for a generation taught to read to itself without moving the lips. But it's the basic requirement for a reader (or at least for me) to discover what one thought one knew but does not know. . . . Read the rest here:


  • "Introduction: Rethinking the One and the Many with Badiou" by ANTONIO CALCAGNO 3
  • "Qui est Alain Badiou?" by ALAIN BEAULIEU 6
  • Comments on Simon Critchley’s Infinitely Demanding by ALAIN BADIOU, with an introduction by SIMON CRITCHLEY 9
  • "Emblems and Cuts: Philosophy in and against History" by ALBERTO TOSCANO 18
  • "'Living with an Idea': Ethics and Politics in Badiou’s Logiques des mondes" by GABRIEL RIERA 36
  • "From Universality to Inequality: Badiou’s Critique of Rancière" by JEFF LOVE AND TODD MAY 51
  • "The Consistency of Inconsistency: Alain Badiou and the Limits of Mathematical Ontology" by TZUCHIEN THO 70
  • "The Scintillation of the Event: On Badiou’s Phenomenology" by GERT-JAN VAN DER HEIDEN 93
  • "What is to be Done? Alain Badiou and the Pre-Evental" by NICK SRNICEK 110
Book Panel/Table Ronde:
  • Jay Lampert’s Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of History ALAIN BEAULIEU, FADI ABOU-RIHAN, EUGENE HOLLAND, JAY LAMPERT 147
Student Essay Prize/Prix-étudiant:
  • "The Body as Measurant of All: Dis-covering the World" by FLORENTIEN VERHAGE 166
Comptes rendus/Book Reviews 183 Further information may be found here:

Pub: PARRHESIA 5 (2008).

Features: Essays:


Visit the journal homepage here:

Moran, Caitlin. "Duke U. Professor Receives $900,000 Holberg Prize." CHRONICLE November 26, 2008.

Fredric R. Jameson, a professor of literature at Duke University, was awarded the 2008 Holberg International Memorial Prize at a ceremony in Norway earlier today. The prize, established in 2003 by the Norwegian Parliament and worth about $900,000 this year, is awarded annually to an outstanding scholar in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, theology, or law. Mr. Jameson is known for developing a theoretical framework capable of mapping the relations between aesthetic form and social context. He has written a number of books, including Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991). He was recognized by the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund for his contributions to literary and cultural studies. Read the rest here:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Problem-Spaces: the Work of David Scott," 3rd Workshop on Caribbean Theory, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, November 26, 2008.

Professor David Scott, a Jamaican by birth, is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University where he specializes in the study of Caribbean and South Asian culture and Postcolonial thought more broadly. The editor of Small Axe , he has published several seminal works of Caribbean thought, including Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (U of Minnesota P, 1994), Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (Princeton UP, 1999) and, more recently, Conscripts of Modernity: the Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Duke UP, 2004). Schedule:
  • Public lecture entitled “Norms of Self-Determination”, Tuesday, November 25, from 8 pm (Room ALT)
  • 3rd Workshop on Caribbean Theory devoted to his work, Wednesday, November 26, 2-5 pm (Dean’s Meeting Room)
For further information, visit:

McEwan, Ian. "A Parallel Tradition." GUARDIAN April 1, 2006.

Those who love literature rather take for granted the idea of a literary tradition. In part, it is a temporal map, a means of negotiating the centuries and the connections between writers. It helps to know that Shakespeare preceded Keats who preceded Wilfred Owen because lines of influence might be traced. And in part, a tradition implies a hierarchy, a canon; most conventionally, it has Shakespeare dominant, like a lonely figurine on top of a wedding cake, and all the other writers arranged on descending tiers. In recent years, the canon has been attacked for being too male, too middle class, too Euro-centric; what remains untouched is the value of a canon itself: clearly, if it did not exist, it could not be challenged. But above all, a literary tradition implies an active historical sense of the past, living in and shaping the present. And reciprocally, a work of literature produced now infinitesimally shifts our understanding of what has gone before. You cannot value a poet alone, T. S. Eliot argued in his famous essay, "Tradition and the Individual Talent", "you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead." Eliot did not find it preposterous "that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past." We might discern the ghost of Auden in the lines of a poem by James Fenton, or hear echoes of Wordsworth in Seamus Heaney, or Donne in Craig Raine. Ideally, having read our contemporaries, we return to re-read the dead poets with a fresh understanding. In a living artistic tradition, the dead never quite lie down. Can science and science writing, a vast and half forgotten accumulation over the centuries, offer us a parallel living tradition? If it can, how do we begin to describe it? The problems of choice are equalled only by those of criteria. Literature does not improve; it simply changes. Science, on the other hand, as an intricate, self-correcting thought system, advances and refines its understanding of the thousands of objects of its study. This is how it derives it power and status. Science prefers to forget much of its past - it is constitutionally bound to a form of selective amnesia. Is accuracy, being on the right track, or some approximation of it, the most important criterion for selection? Or is style the final arbiter? . . . Read the rest here:

Eagleton, Terry. "Palace of Pain: Review of THE HOUSE OF WITTGENSTEIN by Alexander Waugh." GUARDIAN November 8, 2008.

Waugh, Alexander. The House of Wittgenstein: a Family at War. Bloomsbury, 2008. The Wittgensteins, ensconced in their grand Winter Palace in fin-de-siècle Vienna, were hardly a model family. The father, Karl , was a brutal autocrat as well as a high-class crook. He was an engineer by vocation, and his son Ludwig would later do some original work in aeronautics at Manchester University. A fabulously wealthy steel magnate, Karl rigged prices, bleeding his workers dry and doing much the same to his timorous wife Leopoldine. She once lay awake all night, agonised by an ugly wound in her foot but terrified of moving an inch in case she disturbed her irascible husband. She was an emotionally frigid mother and a neurotically dutiful wife, from whom all traces of individual personality had been violently erased. The family was a seething cauldron of psychosomatic disorders. Leopoldine was afflicted by terrible leg pains and eventually went blind. Her children had their problems too. Helene was plagued by stomach cramps; Gretl was beset by heart palpitations and sought advice from Sigmund Freud about her sexual frigidity; Hermine and Jerome both had dodgy fingers; Paul suffered from bouts of madness; and little Ludwig was scarcely the most well balanced of souls. Almost all the males of the family were seized from time to time by bouts of uncontrollable fury that bordered on insanity. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: Inaugural Meeting, Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists, Ramapo College of New Jersey, May 8-9, 2009.

Interdisciplinary research is more called for than done (doing it well is not easy), but building connections with colleagues in other disciplines can lead beyond talking the talk to walking the walk. In addition, colleagues in many fields increasingly report conference organizers telling them that more worthy phenomenological papers are submitted than can be accepted. Thus, there is need for a new organization. Finally, while there are regional phenomenological organizations for Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, the Euro-Mediterranean region, and Latin America, there is not one yet for North America. Hence, the effort is being made to found ICNAP. Further information may be found here:

Lapaque, Sebastien. "Jean-Luc Marion élu à l'Académie Française." LE FIGARO November 11, 2008.

Spécialiste reconnu de la philosophie cartésienne en Allemagne, en Italie et aux États-Unis, l'auteur de Dieu sans l'être - maître livre dans lequel il s'est attaché à dépasser la métaphysique en réentendant le mot «Dieu» - témoigne du prestige intellectuel que conservent les purs produits de l'Université française dans le monde.Jean-Luc Marion est entré rue d'Ulm en 1967, avec Rémi ­Brague, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Pierre Manent et Alain Renaut. Élève de Ferdinand Alquié (qu'il peut imiter des heures avec drôlerie) ou de Jean Beaufret, il a été reçu à l'agrégation de philosophie en 1971, il a soutenu un doctorat d'État à la Sorbonne en 1980 : ce parcours rigoureux de brillant sujet fait peut-être sourire ceux qui tiennent La Princesse de Clèves pour une vieille chose morte, mais il tient lieu de lettres de noblesse aux États-Unis. Marion a été élu à l'Académie française par 11 voix sur 22 présents. Depuis la mort d'Étienne Gilson et d'Henri Gouhier, la philosophie est représentée Quai de Conti par René Girard et Michel Serres. Le nouvel élu devra faire l'éloge du cardinal Lustiger qu'il a bien connu jadis, dans l'entourage du recteur de Montmartre, Mgr Charles. Ils se fréquentèrent notamment dans le cadre de la revue théologique Communio, grâce à laquelle Marion côtoya les plus grands théologiens, dont Joseph Ratzinger (futur pape Benoît XVI). Durant des années, Jean-Luc Marion fut un conseiller discret de celui qui était devenu archevêque de Paris et lui servit de tête de pont avec les milieux intellectuels. . . . More here:

Cfp: "Nietzsche on Mind and Nature," Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, September 11-13, 2009.

17th International Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Plenary Speakers: Prof. Günter Abel, Faculty of Philosophy, TU Berlin, Germany. Prof. Brian Leiter, Faculty of Law, University of Chicago, USA. Prof. Graham Parkes, Faculty of Philosophy, Cork, Ireland. Prof. Peter Poellner, Faculty of Philosophy, Warwick University, UK. Prof. Bernard Reginster, Faculty of Philosophy, Brown University, USA. Prof. John Richardson, Faculty of Philosophy, NYU, USA. Prof. Galen Strawson, Department of Philosophy, Reading, UK. Call for Papers: This conference seeks for the first time to consider Nietzsche’s philosophy of mind in relation to his philosophical naturalism. We hope to consider papers by Nietzsche experts with a background in analytical or continental philosophy as well as from those working in the fields of philosophy of mind and naturalism with a strong interest in Nietzsche. Potential Topics: Nietzsche’s theory of subjectivity; Nietzsche and the body; Intentionality; Memory and self; Consciousness and self-consciousness; Nietzsche and biology; Epiphenomenalism; Nietzsche and psychology; Mind-body problem; Awareness, emotion, cognition; Unconsciousness; Perspectivism and the self; Self and otherness; Self-awareness and self-knowledge; Mind as emergent phenomenon; Nietzsche and neuroscience; Nietzsche’s naturalism; Agency and freedom; Mind, world, brain; Intersubjectivity and value. We invite submissions for 30-minute papers on the above or related topics. Please send an abstract of a maximum of 400 words and a short CV (no longer than one page) via email by 1 February 2009 to fnsox /at/ Notification of acceptance will be sent no later than 1 March 2009. Visit the conference homepage here:

"Nietzsche's Transvaluation of Values," Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge University, November 21, 2008.

'Transvaluating all Values.' Do you understand this phrase? The alchemist is in fact the most praiseworthy man there is: I mean he who transforms scoria, detritus, into something precious, even into gold. Only he enriches: the others contend themselves with trading. My task is rather curious this time round: I asked myself what has been until now the most hated, feared, despised by humanity: and it is precisely that which I have made my 'gold.' (Letter to Georg Brandes, 23 May 1888) Nietzsche’s project of Umwerthung has been discredited by his sister and Peter Gast’s spurious editions of The Will to Power. This conference will re-examine both Nietzsche’s literary and philosophical re-evaluative project which he pursued for the last five years of his intellectually active life, to draw out its consequences for philosophy, Christianity, morality, politics, translation and, ultimately, Nietzsche’s madness. Confirmed Speakers: Hugo Drochon (Cambridge) Duncan Large (Swansea) Thomas Brobjer (Uppsala) Manuel Dries (Oxford) Tracy Strong (UCSD) Yannis Constantinides (Paris XI) Discussants: Christa Davis Acampora, Keith Ansell-Pearson, Babette Babich, Ken Gemes, Simon May, Aaron Ridley, Simon Robertson, Peter Sedgwick, Andreas Urs Sommer. More information may be found here:


American Philosophical Association Conference Papers:
Submitted Essays:
Review Essay:
Book Reviews:
Visit the journal homepage here:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cfp: "Visual Reasoning and Knowledge," KNOWLEDGE ENGINEERING REVIEW.

The Knowledge Engineering Review (a journal dedicated to the development of the field of artificial intelligence) plans a special issue on visual reasoning and knowledge. The topic is to be understood broadly. We welcome papers covering pictures, diagrams, thought experiments, etc. that connect to some form of reasoning (as opposed to mere illustration). And we welcome a broad range of approaches: philosophical, historical, anthropological, psychological, computational, and so on. Papers should be of interest and intelligible to a broad audience, including: working scientists and mathematicians, philosophers and historians of science, anthropologists, sociologists, and cognitive scientists. Please send your submission electronically in Word or PDF format to one of the three editors of the special issue of KER. We strongly recommended contacting one of the editors to check the suitability of the planned submission. James Robert Brown (Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto): Mélanie Frappier (History of Science and Technology, King's College): Letitia Meynell (Department of Philosophy, Dalhousie University): Deadline for submission: February 28, 2009. The journal homepage is here:

Cfp: "Science and Values: the Politicisation of Science," Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University, May 25-30, 2009.

A general worry in this field is that the inclusion of sociopolitical values in the confirmation practice of science tends to undercut the objectivity of science. For instance, in the field of expertise, science-based advice for political decision-mak­­ing is in constant danger of becoming identified with one of the warring political factions. By tying its judgments too intimately to certain sociopolitical values, science runs the risk of losing its credibility. On the one hand, including such values in the assessment procedure is mandatory for a responsible science. On the other hand, a social bias of science tends to undercut the overarching authority of science which derives from its factual basis. A science tied too intimately with social values might lose the capacity of “speaking truth to power.” As a result, the increasing politicization of science might undermine its credibility. To the extent that science enters the social arena and becomes part of political power play, the scientific claims to objectivity and trustworthiness tend to be sapped. The conference page is here:

CFP: 43rd Annual Meeting, Heidegger Circle, Department of Philosophy, Xavier University, Cincinnati, May 8-10, 2009.

Update: The conference homepage is here: Original Post (August 30, 2008): Convenor: Richard Polt, Papers on any aspect of Heidegger's thought will be considered. Some preference will be given to papers that discuss volumes of the Gesamtausgabe published within the last decade and papers that extend or challenge Heidegger's philosophy. Papers should be limited to a reading time of 30 minutes (about 4000 words). They should be submitted electronically in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to the convenor, Richard Polt, at If necessary, they may submitted on paper to Richard Polt, Dept. of Philosophy, Xavier University, 3800 Victory Pky., Cincinnati, OH 45207, USA. The convenor will prepare papers for blind review by a panel of experienced scholars. All accepted papers will be assigned a commentator. Volunteers to serve as commentator or moderator are welcome. Deadline for papers: February 1, 2009.

Pub: Pawlett, William. "Hate / Code." KRITIKOS 5 (2008).

This paper examines Jean Baudrillard’s concept of the Code and applies it, briefly, to the urgent issues of hatred and violence. Baudrillard’s little-known notion of the “the hate” is explored in detail and the psychoanalytic terminology re-deployed in his work on hatred is clarified. Though Baudrillard never explicitly linked his notion of the Code to hatred, an argument is made that these concepts are closely related and that, placed in conjunction, they offer new and compelling ways of thinking about both hatred and its alternatives. This paper provides the theoretical groundwork to such an analysis; subsequent work will attempt a ‘radical empiricist’ exploration of hatred through case studies. Finally the figure of the Other and radical alterity, frequently evoked by Baudrillard, is central to my closing suggestion that radical alterity provides an alternative to, or protection from, the hate. The article may be downloaded here:

Cfp: "Totalitarian Laughter: Cultures of the Comic under Socialism," Princeton University, May 8-9, 2009.

This conference is hosted by the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. Throughout its history, socialist mass culture actively relied on satire, humor, and comedy to foster emotional bonds with its audience. Orchestrated by the state cultural industry, public laughter released social and political tension, while leaving intact or buttressing mechanisms of repression and institutions of power. In turn, late Soviet irony or the aesthetic of grotesque, developed from below, became instrumental in solidifying a cultural distance from the values promoted by the socialist state. Varied in their impact and scope, these cultures of the comic nonetheless constantly pointed to the irrationality and ludicrousness of the socialist way of life. Whether officially approved or censored, totalitarian laughter relativized existing practices and norms, suggesting different models of understanding and embodying really existing socialism. Regardless of their content, these jokes of repression shared the same quality: they were made, not found. It is precisely this active production of totalitarian laughter from above and from below that this conference aims to explore. How did state socialism transform traditional genres and categories of the comic? How crucial was state censorship in producing (or suppressing) totalitarian laughter? Through what forms of displacement and condensation did official and non-official cultures achieve their comic effect? How did these practices of the comic correspond and interact with each other? What kinds of communities were formed in the process of producing jokes of repression? What were the mechanisms and paths of circulation through which laughable versions of socialism became available to larger audiences? Finally, what kinds of pleasure did totalitarian laughter promise, if not deliver? We seek to address these questions by bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in reconstructing the peculiar relationship between repression and laughter under state socialism. We invite papers that explore forms of socialist grotesque in the Soviet Union and central and eastern Europe in such diverse fields as politics, history, literature, arts, music, theater, television, and film, among others. Please send an abstract (300 words) of the paper you would like to present at this conference, along with your CV, by February 10, 2009 to We may be able to offer a limited number of travel subsidies for foreign presenters. Those selected to give presentations at the conference will be contacted at the end of February 2009. Final papers will be due no later than April 20, and they will be posted on the conference’s website. Program committee: Serguei Oushakine (Princeton), Petre Petrov (Princeton), Seth Graham (UCL), Kevin M.F. Platt (Penn) Nancy Ries (Colgate). Further information may be found here:

Cfp: "The Politics of Space and Place," Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, University of Brighton, September 16-18, 2009.

In a world where inequality and poverty are growing remorselessly, where you are, and where you happen to have been born, continue to determine, how, and in indeed whether, you live. From the urbanization of the human species and the burgeoning of slums to the rise of the modern gated community; from 'Fortress Europe' and the Israeli 'security wall' to land reform in South Africa; questions of space and place are central to some of today¹s most bitterly contested political issues.
  • What might an analysis of politics which focuses on the operation of power through space and place, and on the spatial structuring of inequality, tell us about the world we make for ourselves and others?
  • How is power structured and brought to bear on people through spaceand place?
  • How does power operate locally, nationally and globally and in both its soft and hard forms
  • How does it operate through urban planning, architecture, housing policy, immigration policy and national borders?
  • How does it work to discipline and exclude some, while insulating others from the excesses of inequality and degradation?
  • How are space and place utilised as a means of dividing people into 'us' and 'them'?·
  • How and in whose interests do these divisions function as they pit against each other not only people who live in different parts of the world but also those who live just a few metres apart?
  • What might an analysis of politics through questions of space and place indicate about how power, injustice and inequality could be better understood and more effectively contested?

We anticipate that these and related issues will be of interest to people working in, among others, philosophy, ethics, political theory, politics, sociology, social policy, globalisation, international relations, cultural studies, history, architecture, photography, geography, planning, refugee studies, migration studies, urban studies and area studies. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to Nicola Clewer:

Pub: HISTORY AND THEORY (October 2008).

The Executive Editor, Brian Fay (, writes: The October 2008 issue of History and Theory contains four really interesting articles and eight review essays. Consider Susan Crane's "Choosing Not to Look: Representation, Repatriation, and Holocaust Atrocity Photography": Crane asks, "have Holocaust atrocity photographs reached the limits of their usefulness as testimony?" and she answers-against conventional wisdom and practice-that not only have they done so, but that as a result they should be removed from public view or be what she calls "repatriated." The essay is so cogently argued and gracefully written that it will at least stimulate ideas that you may well not have thought of before, or it may actually convince you and lead you to act quite differently. In either case, it is very much worth reading. To download a free copy of it, click here: But Crane's is not the only revelatory article in this issue. Anita Kasabova, in "Memory, Memorials, and Commemoration," presents what she calls a semantic account of the relation between the past and the present, and in the process shows the ways memory, memorials, and commemorations function in light of this relation. In this she offers an account at odds with the presentism of Eelco Runia and others who have presented their views on these subjects in our pages. The article is remarkably rich in the way it brings so many topics into focus and shows how they relate to one another. Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen's "Making Sense of Conceptual Change" addresses a fundamental question in intellectual history: what is it about? Some historians, such as Arthur Lovejoy of the great chain of being fame, have claimed that intellectual history is about unit-ideas, but critics have countered that there are no such units that cut across historical epochs; they propose, instead, that it is linguistic entities that are the object of study, or they wonder whether the whole notion of intellectual history isn't a non-starter because there is nothing stable enough to count as the object of such a history. To these critics Kuukkanen responds that we should accept ideas and concepts as the basis for an intelligible history of thought-so his is a return in a way to Lovejoy-but that we have to be more sophisticated than Lovejoy about what this means. He proposes that concepts and ideas are comprised of a core and a margin, and that conceiving of them in this way solves a number of problems that Lovejoy's original formulation could not. I bet most of you don't know what "Froude's disease" is. I didn't before I read Ian Hesketh's "Diagnosing Froude's Disease: Boundary Work and the Discipline of History in Late-Victorian Britain." Froude was one of the most popular historians in late nineteenth-century Britain, but he denied that history was a science, and claimed that it has more to do with art and drama. Needless to say, professional historians at the time didn't like this approach; indeed, E. A. Freeman warned the historical community that they "cannot welcome [Froude] as a partner in their labors, as a fellow-worker in the cause of historic truth," and diagnosed him as suffering from "an inborn and incurable twist" that resulted in "Froude's disease"-the inability to "make an accurate statement about any matter." Hesketh unpacks the construction of "Froude's disease," and exposes the disciplinary techniques at work in the professionalization of history, techniques that sought to exclude non-scientific modes of thought such as that offered by Froude. The result is not just an elegant revisiting of an earlier time, but a clarifying reminder of the ways disciplinary boundaries are established and enforced. The issue also includes these review essays:
  • Christopher Lloyd on William H. Sewell Jr., The Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation
  • Michael S. Roth on Richard Rorty, Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers, Volume 4
  • Jürgen Kocka on Geoff Eley, A Crooked Line: from Cultural History to the History of Society
  • Richard H. King on Jerrold Siegel, The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century
  • William H. Krieger on Peter Kosso, Knowing the Past: Philosophical Issues of History and Archaeology
  • José Carlos Bermejo-Barrera on Karl Ameriks, Kant and the Historical Turn: Philosophy as Critical Interpretation
  • Lionel Gossman on Anthony Grafton, What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe
  • Abdelmajid Hannoum on François Hartog, Régimes d'historicité: présentisme et expériences du temps
Click here to access the October issue: (subscription necessary to download articles).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography," Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex, July 4-7, 2009.

By 'American Tropics' we understand an extended Caribbean, or what Edouard Glissant calls “the estuary of the Americas,” or what earlier scholars sometimes called 'Plantation America': an area including the southern USA, the Caribbean littoral of Central America, the Caribbean islands, and northern South America. The American Tropics project at Essex seeks to understand the writing associated with this area through a study of particular places within it: cities, borders, regions, natural features. Each place is a zone of encounter, bringing together sets of writing in different languages and styles, from different literary and cultural backgrounds, all of which have in common that attention to the same place. The project therefore approaches literary history via literary geography.

We call for papers which engage with this project in a number of different ways:-

  • through attention to particular places and the writing associated within them;
  • through consideration of the cultural features of particular places or regions within the American Tropics;
  • through engagement with ideas of tropicality more generally, in America or beyond;
  • through theoretical engagement with the ideas of literary geography or area studies as they pertain to the American continent;
  • through consideration of significant circuits (personal, commercial, cultural) within and beyond the area.

Confirmed speakers include: Barbara Ladd, Richard Price, Sally Price, Susan Castillo, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Sharon Monteith, Gordon Brotherston, Neil Whitehead, Selwyn Cudjoe, Bill Schwarz, Luciana Martins, William Rowe, Margarita Zamora, María Cristina Rodríguez, Lowell Fiet, Ineke Phaf-Reinberger, Shalini Puri, Leah Rosenberg, Wendy Gaudin, Sue Thomas, Susan Gillman.

The final call for papers runs until 31 December 2008.

Colleagues are encouraged to look at the developing project at; Informal enquiries to Peter Hulme at; Formal offers of papers (title plus 300 word synopsis) to Lesley Wylie at

"Transcendental Philosophy: its History and Nature," Annual Conference, BSHP, Manchester Metropolitan University, April 14-17, 2009.

Thinking about the notion of the “transcendental” in the history of philosophy touches on a number of distinct topics that have proved of central significance. These include the understanding of the a priori, the nature of necessity claims in experience, the questions of the nature of experience itself and its possibility, and the understanding of what is essential in claims of knowledge. Whilst transcendental philosophy as a venture has tended in recent years to be identified with the Kantian project, it is not exclusively connected to it, since successors to Kant have contested the understanding and significance of the “transcendental”. Included amongst alternatives to the Kantian conception are those of the German Idealists (Fichte, Schelling and Hegel), all of whom have either described themselves or been described by others as transcendental philosophers. Similarly,the revival of interest in Kant in the late nineteenth-century, produced significant revisions in the understanding of transcendental methods and arguments. The traditions of European philosophy include significant reinventions of the concept of the transcendental in the works of Husserl, Derrida and Deleuze and the analytic tradition includes such transcendental projects as those of Wilfred Sellars and Peter Strawson and Charles Pierce provides an additional example of an arguably transcendental philosophy. By contrast, in considering the place of the concept of the transcendental in philosophy, it is also important to consider its usage prior to the work of Kant in, for example, the medieval tradition of describing the transcendentals or Plotinus’conception of the transcendental. In responding to this topic contributors might focus, inter alia, on any of the following: Transcendental philosophy: its nature and scope; Transcendental arguments; the nature of transcendental idealism; the viability of transcendental realism; transcendental phenomenology; the role of the transcendentals in medieval philosophy; transcendental empiricism; transcendental philosophy and metaphysics; the synthetic a priori; transcendental deductions; transcendental psychology; analytic philosophy and the transcendental; the intuition of essences; categorial intuition; transcendental subjectivity; science and experience; transcendental apperception; transcendental imagination; transcendental logic; the logic of experience; transcendental ontology; transcendental pragmatism; semiotics and the transcendental; transcendental dynamics; mathematics and experience; nature and the world; mind and world; transcendental aesthetics; transcendental dialectics; transcendental methods. Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words, by December 31st, to the following: Gary Banham [] and James Clarke [].

"Thought and Action in Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition," Department of Philosophy, Marquette University, June 16-18, 2009.

This Conference is intended to provide a formal occasion and central location for philosophers and scholars of the Midwest region (and elsewhere) to present and discuss their current work on Aristotle and his interpreters in ancient and medieval philosophy. PRESENTERS: Established Scholars: send a title and tentative abstract; Graduate Students: send a title, abstract and a supporting letter from your faculty advisor or dissertation director. Send applications to: The Organizing Committee will select presenters on the basis of qualityof proposals (title and abstract) and scholarly record as the primary criteria. Presenters selected will be asked to confirm their participation by registering and paying the conference fee ($40). CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS: February 20. 2009 PROGRAM ANNOUNCED: March 1, 2009. Presented by the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and the Aquinas and the Arabs Project with the support of the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University. Further details may be found here:

Cfp: "Philosophical Futures: a Day of Φιλο-ΣοΦια (Philo-Sophia): Friendship and Philosophical Discussion," Murdoch University, December, 1 2008.

Update: The programme is now available here: Original Post (July 25, 2008): The Murdoch Philosophy Association, in conjunction with the Murdoch School of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Faculty of Arts and Education, invites abstracts of 250 words for twenty-minute papers in any field of philosophy, or related disciplines. In choosing Philosophical Futures as the theme of this year’s Colloquium, we hope to encourage contributions that consider questions relating to the connections between philosophy and the future, for example, future directions for philosophy, links between philosophical pasts and futures, the role of philosophy in shaping the future, and the relevance of philosophy for future generations of theory and practice, life and reflection.

"Empires of Norms and Laws," Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research, Lisbon, April 14-19, 2009.

Directors: Professor Michael Baurmann (University of Dusseldorf) Email: Dr Nicholas Southwood (Australian National University /Jesus College, Oxford University) Email: Call for abstracts: Politics, we are told, consists of systematic power and authority in human affairs. One important context in which such power and authority are manifest is in the formal institutions of coercive law. But there is a second highly significant context in which power and authority are also manifest, namely, in the structures we call social norms. The first has received considerable attention from political theorists. Indeed, there is even a branch of political theory – jurisprudence – that is charged specifically with the task of investigating the kind of power and authority that law possesses (analytical jurisprudence), and considering how and to what extent it helps realise, or might be made to help realise, things we have reason to want (normative jurisprudence). Norms, by contrast, have not received anything like the same kind of sustained attention, an omission that would seem to have the consequence of excluding a crucial part of the proper subject of political inquiry. The aim of this workshop will be to bring together individuals from diverse perspectives in order to try to develop a better understanding of the kinds of power and authority manifest in social norms, and in what ways, and to what extent, they might they be made to help realise things that we have reason to want. We are particularly interested in papers that can help us develop a better understanding of the relation between norms and law: the different kinds of power and authority at issue; their respective strengths and weaknesses as regulatory tools; and how they do and ought to work alongside one another. Submission deadline: 1 December, 2008 Please send a brief abstract by email to both and no later than December 1, 2008. Further information is here:


Visit the Radical Psychology homepage here:

"Genre and Interpretation," Finnish Literary Society and Finnish Graduate School of Literary Studies, Helsinki, June 10–12, 2009.

Confirmed keynote speakers for the conference include Brian McHale (Ohio State University) and Ansgar Nünning (Justus-Liebig-Universität). Two of the eight workshops focus on Bakhtinian ideas on genre. Please send your abstract (300 – 500 words) for a 20-minute paper to Tintti Klapuri,, and to Saija Isomaa,, no later than January 16th, 2009.

Monokl-Cogito International Hegel Congress, Bahçeşehir University, Beşiktaş Campus, November 14-16, 2008.

The Programme: Wolfgang Welsch "Reconsidering Hegel's Idealism" Klaus Vieweg "Hegel über die Einheit von theoretischer und praktischer Philosophie" Ralf Beuthan "Erfahrung und spekulatives Denken" Claus Arthur Scheier "Die Logik von Rousseaus zweitem Discours und Hegels ,,Wissenschaft derErfahrung des Bewusstseyns" Çetin Türkyılmaz "Hegel on the Concept of Realization" Tom Rockmore "Is Hegel's Phenomenology phenomenological?" Robert Stern "Is Hegel's Dialectic of Self-Consciousness in the Phenomenology a Refutation of Solipsism?" Kenneth R. Westphal "Hegel's Phenomenological Critique of the Content of our Categories: a Conspectus" Wolfgang Bonsiepen "Die Phänomenologie des Geistes im Kontext der Denkentwicklung Hegels in derJenaer Zeit" Dietmar Heidemann "The Method of Skepticism in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit" David Gray Carlson "The Role of Fear in Hegel's Master-Slave Dialectic" Sebastian Roedl "Hegel's concept of the Idea" Italo Testa "Spirit and Habit" Matthias Haussler "Some Implications of The Phenomenology of Spirit for Hegel's Subsequent System(s)" Klaus Brinkmann "Does Hegel's System need The Phenomenology of Spirit?" Further information may be found here:

33rd Annual Conference, Society for Caribbean Studies, University of Hull, July 1-3, 2009.

The Society invites submissions of one-page abstracts and a short CV by 15th January, 2009 for research papers on the Hispanic, Francophone, Dutch and Anglophone Caribbean, and on Caribbean Diasporas for this annual international conference. Papers are welcomed from all disciplines and can address the themes outlined below. We also welcome abstracts for papers or for full panel proposals that fall outside this list of topics. Those selected for the conference will be invited to give a 20-minutepresentation and will be offered the opportunity to publish their work as part of the Society's online series of papers. Provisional Panels: Slavery and Emancipation Caribbean geographies: place and space Crime and criminality Sexualities Sickness, health and healing Visual and material culture Cultures of resistance Caribbean Religions Civil society and political economy Environment and development Sport and recreation The Cold-War Caribbean Short stories and oral traditions Theatre and performance Remittances and the transnational economy Further information is available here:

Burrell, David. "Review of Michael Gillespie's THE THEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF MODERNITY." NDPR (November 2008).

Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2008. This massively erudite study offers an alterative genealogy of "modernity," showing it to be a sustained attempt to re-cast the created world in a new key, once the metaphysical idiom had shifted from "scholasticism" to "nominalism." Gillespie challenges the standard account, which focuses on the religious wars of the seventeenth century to trigger a set of strategies we call "modern," inaugurated as ploys to circumvent and neutralize "religion" or "faith," so as to clear a way to understand the universe more straightforwardly. His elaborately constructed case proposes to show how intractable controversies in philosophical theology helped to shape the goals of that more straightforward understanding of nature, though not the disparate paths proposed to attain that understanding. The details of the case instruct us well in the "history of ideas," allowing us to become philosophically engaged as dialectical oppositions emerge and meet. His story opens in Avignon with a brief chance encounter of William of Ockham, Francesco Petrarch, and Meister Eckhart after Sunday mass (1, 43). In different ways, these three presage the emergence of alternatives to "scholastic realism," each shaped by the novel metaphysical mode of "nominalism." But let us outline the story before scrutinizing what these abstract names portend for the author, and the ways he wishes to put them into play. The initial chapter elaborates the metaphysical thesis noted, rooting the dynamic proper to modernity in the near-total supersession of "nominalism" over "scholasticism," with the narrative then moving to "Petrarch and the invention of individuality," leading into a fulsome description of Italian humanism by way of its principal protagonists, only to shift to the Low Countries with the impressive figure of Erasmus. While frequently mentioned as a source of patronage for intellectuals, the papal court provides the cultural backdrop for the urbane Christian humanism of the Mediterranean, yet that very urbanity proved a stumbling block to the church's claim to presage the coming of the Kingdom, triggering a northern reaction of righteous reform: "Luther and the storm of faith." The ensuing chapter proves axial to the author's thesis: Erasmus and Luther locked in combat yet each somehow beholden to the "nominalist" revolution. The next two chapters focus on Descartes and Hobbes, respectively, each searching for new strategies with which to think the universe, while these are tested in a mutual encounter highlighted in the final chapter: "contradictions of the enlightenment." An epilogue liberates us from the dreary landscape of northern Europe to introduce a player ancient and new: Islam; suggesting that "the west" will prove unable to engage Islam fruitfully until we understand the real roots of our touted modernity. So what appears as an afterthought in response to recent events, traumatic for the west, becomes the point of this extensive and intensive study. The detail of the extensive study is breathtaking, with intellectual biographies of the major protagonists elaborated against the backdrop of social and political upheavals of their times. We are constantly and consistently instructed. The intensive study, however, is bedeviled with some crucial ambiguities, though these need not undermine the author's overall thesis, and may in fact elicit refinements which could prove enlightening. . . . Read the rest here:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bottum, Joseph. "Sir Vidia's Dance: Can Life and Art be Separated?" WEEKLY STANDARD November 17, 2008.

French, Patrick. The World is What It is: the Authorized Biography Of V. S. Naipaul. London: Picador, 2008. During a brief remission in his wife's cancer, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist V.S. Naipaul casually explained to a journalist that he had always been "a great prostitute man," mongering among the whores from the early days of his marriage. The publicity that followed from the remark "consumed" his wife, he later admitted to his biographer, Patrick French. "She had all the relapses and everything after that. She suffered. It could be said that I killed her. .  .  . I feel a little bit that way." Unfortunately, he didn't feel "that way" enough to think it inappropriate to move into his house, the day after he cremated his wife, his new mistress, a Pakistani journalist he'd just met (and would, in short order, marry). Even before the whoring revelations, Naipaul's first wife, a middle-class woman named Patricia Hale whom he'd met while he was a student on scholarship to England, had known about a prior mistress--but only because Naipaul himself decided one day to tell her, explaining the violent acts he enjoyed with the woman, some of them memorialized in photographs he brought along to aid the explanation. The woman's name was Margaret Gooding, and Naipaul met her in 1972 in Buenos Aires. French's new biography of Naipaul, The World Is What It Is, quotes extensively from her letters: unbearable scrawls that read like clinical case studies drawn from the pages of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. She begs, moans, despairs, and pleads for Naipaul's "cruel sexual desires." She calls him her "god," her "black master." Her multiple abortions of his children sicken her, but she offers them up to him as proof of her love and abasement. And all this sex stuff is only the beginning. Throughout The World Is What It Is Naipaul shows himself arrogant beyond belief, and vile-tempered, and as self-obsessed as a man simpering while he looks at himself in the mirror. His letters and conversation are full of references to "niggers" and dismissals of Africans and dark-skinned Indians. The man was capable of bouts of extraordinary cruelty: Unhappy with Margaret at one point, Naipaul explains, "I was very violent with her for two days. .  .  . Her face was bad. She couldn't appear really in public. My hand was swollen." But then, he was capable of ordinary, everyday cruelty, as well: "You are the only woman I know who has no skill," his wife's diaries reveal Naipaul once told her, just in passing. "You behave like the wife of a clerk who has risen above her station." He moved on to the mistress who would become his second wife because his inamorata Margaret had simply grown unworthy of his use: "middle-aged, almost an old lady." Vile stuff. I didn't need to know all this about Naipaul. I didn't want to know all this about the man. But the weird thing is that Naipaul himself wants us to know all this. The subtitle makes that clear enough: "The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul." The novelist turned over his papers to French and sat for interview after interview, apparently hiding nothing--all in the course of authorizing this account of his life. . . . Read the rest here:

Pardo, Michael S. "Review of Doug Walton's WITNESS TESTIMONY EVIDENCE." NDPR (November 2008).

Walton, Doug. Witness Testimony Evidence: Argumentation, Artificial Intelligence, and Law. Cambridge: CUP, 2008. Understanding the epistemology of witness testimony is tremendously important for the law. In any legal order, a significant degree of factual accuracy is a necessary condition for just legal judgments, and witness testimony (whether in oral or written form) provides a major -- indeed, often the most important -- class of evidence on which such judgments depend. For these reasons, evidence scholars in law devote attention to the epistemology of the legal proof in general and the role of testimony in particular. A major theme of this scholarly focus has been the extent to which aspects of the proof process can and ought to be formalized. The attempts at formalization typically have appealed to probability theory, often presenting Bayesian models of (1) the proof structure as a whole, (2) aspects of it such as burdens of proof and decision standards, or (3) the probative value of masses or individual items of evidence. Although these models have contributed greatly to understanding some aspects of juridical proof, they have been shown to suffer from deep problems from descriptive, explanatory, analytical, and normative perspectives. Given these limitations, interests have shifted toward other theoretical ways to understand the process and other ways to model it. Douglas Walton's book, Witness Testimony Evidence, is an example of this trend. Focusing primarily on the Anglo-American trial system, the book looks to logic, argumentation theory, formal dialectical models, and artificial intelligence to "understand the structure of witness testimony as a form of evidence in law" (1). It analyzes and evaluates this structure with the aid of formal systems that diagram the inferential relationships between testimonial assertions and the conclusions they are intended to support (in this sense, they are computerized methods similar to one developed in the early Twentieth Century by the great evidence scholar John Henry Wigmore). Although the book discusses the common epistemic problems that can arise with witness testimony, it ultimately defends the trial's reliance on this form of evidence as rational and justified. . . . Read the rest here:

"Charles Taylor wins Kyoto Prize for Arts, Philosophy." THE GAZETTE November 11, 2008.

In Japan yesterday, renowned Montreal philosophy professor Charles Taylor was presented with the Kyoto Prize, one of the world's biggest cash awards. Often referred to as the "Japanese Nobel," the prize consists of a diploma, a 20-karat gold medal and 50 million yen ($604,000). Taylor, 76, is a professor emeritus at McGill University. He became a familiar face in Quebec over the past year through the Bouchard-Taylor Commission into religious diversity, which he co-chaired with historian and sociologist Gérard Bouchard. Taylor won the Kyoto Prize in the arts and philosophy category, one of two Canadians to pick up the award. . . . Further information is here:

Cfp: "Feminist Philosophy Made Simple," SWIP UK and International Association of Women in Philosophy, London, February 13, 2009.

Feminism claims women are oppressed, and aims to free them. Like any liberation movement, feminism is dogged by propaganda. But anti-feminist propaganda has been astonishingly effective. Despite endemic and persistent serious harms to women including abuse of girl-children, rape, domestic violence, economic, legal and political disadvantage, and despite centuries of work by feminists, most men and women today will say 'I'm not a feminist' or 'feminism goes too far'. The aim of this conference is to affirm the unity and simplicity of feminism in the face of the propaganda. The unity is captured well in Simone de Beauvoir's phrase 'absolute feminism', which points to necessity as well as unity. The liberation of women is necessary, not something a just society can do without. At the conference we will explore how the apparent complexity and diversity of feminism may be no more than a superficial effect of oppression. Feminists face sceptical, even hostile, standards of evidence and argument. They are expected not only prove there are problems, and suggest solutions. They are also expected to prove feminist solutions are possible, will work - and are not just covert attacks on men. In epistemic conditions like this, it is no wonder feminists modify their claims, distance themselves from each other, and make distinctions so fine they tend to paranoia. Pace the propaganda, feminism is simple. It needs just a couple of concepts to hold it together. At its core, it needs the idea that there are women, who are being harmed and need help. But it seems the propaganda has found a way to undermine even this most fundamental feminist idea. The concept 'gender' used to be a feminist tool for exposing the wrongs of sex roles. But it can also become a patriarchal Trojan horse, smuggling into the heart of feminism tools for the dismantling of the core concept, 'woman'. Proposals are invited for philosophical ways to re-affirm women, without affirming oppressive sex roles. Please send abstracts of up to 400 words by 9th January 2008 by email to with the title 'SWIP UK Spring 2009' in the header line. Please note this is a women-only event. Venue to be announced. For further information and updates see the SWIP UK website: or the IAPh website

"Persons by Convention," University of Sydney, December 16-18, 2008.

Some things in world are perfectly real, but not perhaps instances of natural kinds. Corporations, nations, swimming pools are all rightly so called because of sets of conventional practices in which they are involved. Could persons fall into this category? In the last decade or so a number of theorists have argued so. This conference focuses on the state of this debate—both exploring new ways to make sense of the idea, and new stumbling blocks to its progress. Speakers include: David Braddon-Mitchell (Sydney) Brian Garrett (ANU) Mark Johnston (Princeton) Sarah-Jane Leslie (Princeton) Catriona Mackenzie (Macquarie) Kristie Miller (Sydney) Denis Robinson (Auckland) Carol Rovane (Columbia) David Shoemaker (BGSU) Caroline West (Sydney) For more information see or email Michael Slezak at .

"Human Rights Rhetoric: Controversies, Conundrums, & Community Actions," Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2010.

A Call for Papers for the 22nd biennial Public Address Conference. Human rights have been asserted, recognized, reaffirmed, and undermined around the globe. Yet what the expression, “human rights,” designates and ought to encompass has been, and will continue to be, the subject of international controversy. At a concrete level, “rights” have a paradoxical quality that renders them contingent on individual, communal, and national commitments and actions. Rights do not exist outside of their mutual recognition by selves and others, that is, outside of a reconciliation of individual wills in which people freely agree to act according to obligations that they simultaneously expect of others. Once constituted in recognition, human rights may come to compete with other rights that make similar claims to universal status. To take a simple example, as numerous twentieth-century public advocates have argued, the right to freedom of speech may come into conflict with the likewise compelling rights to security of person and equality. There are other reasons why human rights may be the subject of controversy. The security of any particular right requires sufficient resources for securing its enforcement and actualization. The finitude of resources and the (potential) lack of consensus on how to distribute them means that disputes about which rights are “more important” are sure to erupt. Moreover, material conditions and power arrangements can provide substantial restraints on the rhetorical situations in which rights are asserted. Another reason why human rights engender controversy has to do with the term’s wide scope: in some situations, a narrower focus may be more appropriate. On the scale of a sovereign nation governed by law, for example, we may speak of civil or constitutional rights. A focus on health and safety may warrant advocacy under the rubric of environmental rights, whereas an interest in economic and social welfare may require such rubrics as social, economic, or cultural rights. We may also note the way in which systematic violations of the rights of members of a particular identifiable group may occasion the establishment of rights formally tied to group identity—e.g, ethnic, cultural, or national identity. Finally, we could note the increasing imbrications of the human, non-human, and artificial parts, which raise the question of whether human rights, itself, as a concept, may reach its limit in the face of certain medical technological developments and practices. The fact that “human rights” is a locus of ongoing controversy is especially evident within the history of public address and rhetoric. We bring specific rights into focus when we talk about them; or more specifically, when we address them before audiences or publics willing to consider, recognize, support, enact, enforce, or undermine and deny them. The theme of the conference invites discussion of how human rights are addressed in political, legal, social, economic, and other contexts. The scope of the discussion will include past, present, and future public address concerning human rights within the United States and internationally, considering both descriptive and critical dimensions. Relevant questions would include how to identify a corpus of human rights rhetoric that should be cultivated, expanded, or revised; what implications the recent online technologies carry for the articulation, defense, or constriction of rights; what changes globalization brings to the discourse of rights; what pressures global economic changes put on workers’ and immigrants’ rights; recent governmental incursions into Constitutionally protected rights in the US; the limits and possibilities of applying one nation’s successful human rights rhetoric to another’s; the place for articulating and defending human rights under the encroaching pressures of corporatization; the questions raised about universality, given differences of race, gender, ethnicity, and more; and what emerging trends should be watched and studied by members of our scholarly community. Further information may be found here:

Cfp: "Music and Morality," Institute of Musical Research & Institute of Philosophy, University of London, June 16-17, 2009.

Confirmed keynote speakers include: George Benjamin, John Deathridge, Deirdre Gribbin, Jerrold Levinson, Susan McClary, Roger Scruton Convenor: Guy Dammann, Institute of Musical Research Music has commonly been considered the most elusive of artforms and yet throughout history there have been frequent assertions of its strong links with our moral sensibilities. While this situation may suggest shifting views and expectations of art and music, it may also point to some deeper questions about the nature of music and morality. In the context of increased academic and practical interest in the question of music’s moral value and potential, we are seeking contributions from academic and practical musicians, philosophers, psychologists and historians of ideas, offering critical reflections on questions or cases that touch on the theme of music and morality. Interested contributors should send, in a first instance, a 300 word abstract for a proposed paper of not more than 20 minutes reading time to Valerie James, Institute of Musical Research, by the deadline of 31 January 2009. Notice of acceptances of submissions will be announced within one month of this deadline. General questions of interest include but are not limited to the following: Can music yield moral knowledge or understanding? Must good music have a moral value? Is there such a thing as immoral music? Is the idea of morality in music compatible with aesthetic formalism? Further information may be found here:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carter, Jacoby Adeshei. "Review of Lewis R. Gordon's AN INTRODUCTION TO AFRICANA PHILOSOPHY." NDPR (November 2008).

Gordon, Lewis R. An Introduction to Africana Philosophy. Cambridge: CUP, 2008. An Introduction to Africana Philosophy begins, as any text with that or any similar title should, with a discussion of the difficulties of firmly fixing an accurate conception of Africana philosophy. It is Gordon's aim to introduce Africana philosophy as a modern philosophy, where the modern period is inaugurated by the discovery of the "new world" and the institution of the Atlantic Slave Trade and continues on to the present. Gordon presents the reader with a veritable Who's Who of intellectuals who have made some contribution to Africana philosophy from antiquity to the present day. The result is a comprehensive, yet nuanced, account of how and by whom central themes in Africana philosophy have originated and been developed over time throughout the diaspora. For the most part, Gordon's book gives a comprehensive account of the wide ranging field of Africana philosophy while also providing a close look at its instantiations in particular thinkers and select geographic regions. Gordon makes an effort to pay attention to the emergence and development of central themes in various parts of the diaspora though, on the whole, the book is heavily weighted in favor of discussions of African American and Afro-Caribbean philosophy over African philosophy. . . . Read the rest here:

Foucault Seminar Series, Nottingham Contemporary, November-December, 2008.

Free Talks and Seminars organised by Nottingham Contemporary. Monday 10th November 2008, 6 – 8 pm "Meaning, Truth and Prisons: The Legacy of Michel Foucault" David Macey, Foucault’s biographer, will discuss the astounding contribution of this very “uncomfortable thinker.” Although he died over two decades ago, his work continues to inform contemporary life and culture, whether that is our understanding of madness, prison as a model for many modern institutions, or the self-constructed individual who still relishes the audacity of this activist-philosopher today. Monday 17th November, 6 – 8 pm "Michel Foucault and art after Minimalism" Lisa Le Feuvre “A glance, stare or gaze is a function of power,” states Lisa Le Feuvre. “Looking involves taking, giving and refusing permissions – a process predicated to control.” In this lecture she relates Foucault’s theories of surveillance to the concerns of art after Minimalism, revealed particularly in the work of Dan Graham, Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman. Acconci’s attempted invisibility, Graham’s investigations of the politics of vision and architecture, and the conflict with regulation in Nauman’s work are all explored. Their work attempts to revoke the dominating authority that determines bodies in time, space and ultimately, what we see. Monday 24th November 2008, 6 – 8 pm "Stranger in a Strange Land: Michel Foucault in the Business School" Ken Starkey Foucault is regularly cited in business management literature. At first sight, says Professor Ken Starkey, this might seem “strange”. However, his investigations included prisons, schools and hospitals, now seen by managers as potential business opportunities. However, the complicated workings of modern corporations shouldn’t be simply seen as replicating the all-controlling ‘panopticon’. In the current economic crisis we need to escape from our own intellectual prisons, drawing on Foucault’s thoughts to prise open possibilities. Monday 3rd December, 6pm - 8pm "The Architecture of Occupation in Israel/Palestine" Eyal Weizman and Alessandro Petti Weizman and Alessi are currently researching a masterplan that exposes the hidden intention of Israeli planners after the ending of occupation and the settlers’ evacuation. Here architecture appears to collude with oppression, while ghettoising both Israelis and Palestinians. “The landscape has become the battlefield on which power and state control confront both subversive and direct resistance,” Weizman writes in the introduction to his acclaimed book A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture. Planning and the built environment have become blatant political tools, the speakers argue, dominating and determining different life courses as effectively as Foucault’s “biopower.” Monday 8th December, 6 pm – 8 pm "Prison Today" Erwin James Prisoners today are as marginalised and silent as they were when Foucault organised his Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons to give them a voice. Possibly the one exception has been Erwin James, who wrote a regular column for The Guardian while still serving his sentence. He is uniquely placed to understand the prison debate from both inside and out. Tonight he will question the causes of crime, the role of punishment within our society, and whether prison works. To book a place please email Further information may be found here:

Suhamy, Ariel. "Samuel Beckett in History." LA VIE DES IDEES November 13, 2008.

Temkine, Pierre, ed. Warten auf Godot: Das Absurde und die Geschichte. Trans. Tim Trzaskalik. Berlin: Matthes and Seitz, 2008. A book on Samuel Beckett’s famous play, Waiting for Godot, is causing quite a stir beyond the Rhine, and further: even the Danish press mentions it. Nothing is known in France of this commotion, despite the fact that the book is translated from the French – it hasn’t found a publisher here. Why? Is it because its authors are not university-spawned? Or because the position they defend is unbearable? Indeed, according to Pierre and Valentin Temkine, Waiting for Godot is not the play we thought it was. The famous collection Les Ecrivains de toujours once summed up the play in these terms: “Vladimir and Estragon, two puppets stranded in the limbo of a no man’s land where everything repeats itself – lingering words, gestures of tenderness or aversion, clowning around meant to elude suffering, visits from humanity […] – persist in expecting the unlikely rescue from an outside or a great beyond which leaves them to their own devices, trapped within their questions in the here and now” (Ludovic Janvier, Beckett par lui-même, Seuil, 1969). It’s the same song and dance in a recent theatre programme: “In a bit of countryside, on a slow evening, two tramps await a certain Godot [...] What are Vladimir and Estragon, this pair of bewildered jokers, harping on about?” (Compagnie Kick Theatre, Theatrical Centre of Guyancourt, 2007, quoted in the book by François Rastier). From the time of the premiere, a critic had set the tone: “Godot, in an indefinite past, in rather uncertain circumstances, set them a rather imprecise appointment in an ill-defined place at an indeterminate time”. Valentin Temkine’s comment is: “One couldn’t be more systematically mistaken!” Repetition, no man’s land, clowning, all these categories that constitute what by common accord is called “absurdist theatre” are energetically dispatched by Temkine. Quite conversely, the play has a place, a time and its characters have a well-defined identity. The plot is set in the Roussillon region of southern France (where Beckett resided during the war), at the time of the invasion of the free zone, and the two characters Vladimir and Estragon are Jews who are waiting for the smuggler who is to save them: some Godot. In 1942, there would have been no reason for them to leave Roussillon. By 1944, they would already have been deported. The play is therefore set in the Spring of 1943 precisely. . . . Read the rest here:

Ribard, Dinah. "Foucault: Truth in Action." LA VIE DES IDEES October 23, 2008.

Le Gouvernement de soi et des autres: Cours au Collège de France, 1982-1983. Ed. François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana. Intro. Frédéric Gros. Paris: Gallimard / Le Seuil, 2008. [not yet published in English] The Government of Self and Others opens with a famous analysis of Kant’s “Was ist Aufklärung” (What is the Enlightenment?), that Foucault described on January 5 (p.8) as a: “text that is a a bit of a herald, a bit iconic to me.” This is the first edition, strictly speaking, of what was only known until now from the text of May 27, 1978 at the Société française de philosophie (French Society of Philosophy) entitled “Qu’est-ce que la critique?” (What is criticism?), which was published in the Bulletin of this organisation and not republished in the posthumous collection of Foucault’s spoken and written words entitled in French “Dits et Ecrits,” and which was also published in Magazine littéraire in May 1984, a month before the death of Foucault. This article, an early homage and a publishing event, came precisely from the lessons of January 1983 of the Collège de France. We therefore have the complete and authorized analysis of “the ontology of current events” at our disposition now. But this release also gives context to the analysis and brings up new questions: what link is there between this “ontology of current events”, also called by Foucault “ontology of ourselves” and, once beyond the initial “herald”, “the drama of the truth” to which the essential of the lectures of 1982-1983 is dedicated? . . . Read the rest here:

Howard, Jennifer. "Google, Publishers, and Authors Settle Huge Lawsuit Over Book-Scanning Project." CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION October 28, 2008.

Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers announced today that they had settled their longstanding legal battle over Google’s mass scanning of books. Under the terms of the deal, Google will pay $125-million to establish a Book Rights Registry, to compensate authors and publishers whose copyrighted books have already been scanned, and to cover legal costs. . . . If approved by a judge, the accord would allow users of Google Book Search in the United States to see the full texts of books they can read only in snippets now. The deal would also have the potential to put millions more out-of-print or hard-to-find titles within the reach of readers and researchers. Institutions would be able to buy subscriptions so that their students and faculty members could have full access to complete texts. All public libraries in the United States would be given free portals for their patrons. (The settlement does not apply to the use of Google Book Search outside the United States.) Users without library or institutional access would pay a fee to preview the full text of a book. Google and the copyright holders—the publishers and authors—would share the proceeds from subscriptions and individual use. Authors and publishers could opt out of the program. . . . Read the rest here:

Malkin, Irad. "Review of Henry Hurst, et al., eds. ANCIENT COLONISATIONS." BMCR (November 2008).

Hurst, Henry, and Sara Owen, eds. Ancient Colonizations: Analogy, Similarity and Difference. London: Duckworth, 2005. Tthe book's subtitle reads "analogy, similarity and difference" but, except for Purcell's article, most of it reads as if the latter two words are merely implied in the first. Basically the question that interests the editors is: are analogies helpful or should the attractive ones be considered an enemy? I wonder, however, whether we are anachronistically inclined to treat ancient colonization in terms of modern imperialism and colonialism, or have we been so well trained to be suspicious of anachronism that not only do we avoid analogies but expect their existence in others’ work where it is perhaps unjustified to do so? One would expect the first task of such a book, before its contributors warn against the various dangers of analogy, is to establish whether or not the plague is rampant. Anthony Snodgrass makes a remark, typical of the book, that the examples are simply too numerous to cite, yet directs us to a rather specific article by Gillian Shepherd on marriages among Greeks and non-Greeks. In truth, when reading through its pages, one would be hard-pressed to find more than just a handful of meaningful examples of the 'anachronistic model,' at least for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. . . . Read the rest here:

Griswold, Charles. "Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY Revised November 12, 2008.

Plato's discussions of rhetoric and poetry are both extensive and influential. As in so many other cases, he sets the agenda for the subsequent tradition. And yet understanding his remarks about each of these topics—rhetoric and poetry—presents us with significant philosophical and interpretive challenges. Further, it is not initially clear why he links the two topics together so closely (he suggests that poetry is a kind of rhetoric). Plato certainly thought that matters of the greatest importance hang in the balance, as is clear from the famous statement that “there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry” (Republic, 607b5-6). In his dialogues, both this quarrel and the related quarrel between philosophy and rhetoric amount to clashes between comprehensive world-views—those of philosophy on the one hand, and of poetry or rhetoric on the other. What are these quarrels about? What does Plato mean by “poetry” and “rhetoric”? The purpose of this article is to analyze his discussions of rhetoric and poetry as they are presented in four dialogues: the Ion, the Republic, the Gorgias, and the Phaedrus. Plato is (perhaps paradoxically) known for the poetic and rhetoric qualities of his own writings, a fact which will also be discussed in what follows. . . . Read the rest here:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"Centering the Caribbean in Caribbean Studies," 34th Annual Conference, Caribbean Studies Association, Kingston, Jamaica, June 1-5, 2009.

The question that this Conference asks the Association in its 34th year of existence is: how may we continue as a Caribbean Studies Association with a greater self consciousness of the umbrella term that unites our scholarship and practice? Possible themes include:
  • Who defines the Caribbean and who interprets the various definitions?
  • What are the changing interests of scholars and practitioners who work in the field of Caribbean studies and who formulates “Caribbean” policies and programmes?
  • Who are the beneficiaries from the knowledge that are produced in the name of Caribbean studies?
  • Has the Caribbean’s unique history and geography produced ideas that serve a present global discourse on cultural exchange, ethnic dis/harmony, race, gender and class relations, economic development, political sovereignty and scientific research?
Further information may be found here:

Major, William. "Teaching Composition: a Reconsideration." INSIDE HIGHER ED July 22, 2008.

When I tell new acquaintances that I am an English professor, they generally react two ways. First, they express dismay that they now have to watch what they say (as if I were grading their performance). Second, and more to the point, many of them ask an inevitable question: “How well do your students write?” That people outside of academia recognize a crisis of communication within speaks to one central fact: The average college student is remarkably challenged by the age-old practice of putting ideas down on paper. Very few people would argue with the truism that success within the university and beyond is predicated upon students’ achieving a certain level of proficiency as writers. Thus, if the inability to communicate is begrudgingly taken as a given at the beginning of the freshman year, it becomes — in the general lament — a tragedy by graduation. Who, then, is to blame? English departments are a common target. I was stunned when, as a work/study graduate student in the department office, I answered the phone during lunch only to be berated by a physics professor who wanted to know what the hell we were doing over there. Things had apparently become so critical that even the good people in the sciences were beginning to notice. Leaving aside for a moment the unexamined presumption that only English departments should be responsible for writing — as if we alone knew how to impart the wisdom of subject-verb-object — I do in fact want to take his complaint seriously. What are we doing over here? I have no interest in the now clichéd grumblings over English departments and their esoteric if not onanistic engagement in high-octane literary theory. I will only say that there is merit to the criticism. On the whole, however, such censure really isn’t going anywhere; these exercises in cryptic marginalia are simply what we do, much in the same way that hyenas eat carrion. Both have their place, and whether one is more useful than the other is a matter for disputation. My questions are more practical, if not more overtly political: Why is the teaching of writing so readily given over to the novitiate? If writing is that important as a university and life skill, why do we assign its teaching to graduate students and part-time instructors? Where are the associate and full professors of English, for it is exceedingly difficult to find them in writing classrooms? . . . Get the answers here:

"Connect Deleuze: Transdisciplinary Perspectives," Department for American Studies, University of Cologne, August 10-12, 2009.

2nd International Deleuze Studies Conference. The Conference aims at building transdisciplinary assemblages that involve Deleuze in a wider range of thought, i.e. at constructing, from different‘modules of thought,’ innovative conceptual arrangements that integrate Deleuzian philosophy into the larger field of contemporary knowledge production and practices of living. Speakers include: Brian Massumi [Université de Montréal] Hanjo Berressem [Universität zu Köln] Ian Buchanan [Cardiff University] Paul Harris [Loyola Marymount University] Eugene Holland [Ohio State University] Gregg Lambert [Syracuse University] Patricia Pisters [Universiteit van Amsterdam] Mirjam Schaub [Freie Universität Berlin] Janell Watson [Virginia Tech] James Williams [University of Dundee] Submit panel proposals andor individual abstracts [250 words] to DEADLINE: Apr 30, 2009 (please include your affiliation and short bio) Further information may be found here:

Berkowitz, Peter. "Towering Ivories: Stanley Fish and his Ideal of the American University." WEEKLY STANDARD 14.8 (2008).

Fish, Stanley. Save the World on Your Own Time. Oxford: OUP, 2008. Stanley Fish, the title of whose book is an admonition to professors to keep their politics out of the classroom, understands a great deal about what is wrong with higher education in America. Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reform--which amount to little more than exhortations to faculty and administrators to mend their ways and, whatever else they do, not to explain or justify liberal education to legislators, private donors, alumni, parents, or students--are foolish and self-defeating. Part of the trouble is Fish's fondness for deflationary tactics and contrarian positions. The deeper problem is his failure to take seriously the liberal in liberal education and the liberal in liberal democracy. . . . Read the rest here:

"Levinas: Four Readings," Beit Avichai, Jerusalem, December, 2, 9, 16, 23, 2008.

Emmanuel Levinas—one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century—paved a unique, highly impressive road that drew on the major texts of western philosophy as well as the treasures of Jewish tradition. The series will trace Levinas’s thinking as reflected in four different aspects of his philosophy. Series organizer and moderator: Dr Joëlle Hansel, chair of the Raissa and Emmanuel Levinas Center, Jerusalem IN HEBREW Admission: NIS 30 per session; students: NIS 20; NIS 100 for the series Tuesday, December 2, at 8PM : For the Sake of a Just Society: Responsability for the Other Yair Tsaban, former Knesset member and government minister Prof. Shalom Rosenberg, Department of Jewish Thought, Hebrew University The session will include the screening of an interview that Levinas gave in 1985. Tuesday, December 9, at 8PM: To the Jewish Bookshelf Muki Tzur, scholar of rural settlement and a member of Kibbutz Ein Gev Dr. Shmuel Wygoda, head of the Department of Jewish Philosophy, Yaacov Herzog College, and a research fellow at the Van Leer Institute The session will include the screening of a 1986 film in which Levinas explains his statement "We thank You for our thanking You." Tuesday, December 16: The State of Israel and the Religion of Israel Dr. Zvia Walden, head of the Institute for Initiatives, Language, and Computers at Beit Berl Academic College Rabbi David Bigman, head of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa The session will include the screening of a 1976 film in which Levinas discusses his book /Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism/. Tuesday, December 23 (second night of Hannukah) 8PM: Between Light and Darkness: Particularistic Universalism in Levinas' Thought Salomon Malka, author, journalist, and Emmanuel Levinas’s biographer Ada Paldor reading excerpts from "The Light and the Dark," Levinas’s essay on Hanukkah. Joelle Hansel, Raissa and Emmanuel Levinas Center All events will take place at King George Street, 44, Jerusalem, Israel.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Buruma, Ian. "The Lessons of the Master." NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS November 20, 2008.

French, Patrick. The World is What It is: the Authorized Biography Of V. S. Naipaul. London: Picador, 2008. Many writers—myself included—owe a great debt to V.S. ("Vidia") Naipaul. He opened up new literary possibilities, ways of seeing and describing the world, especially the non-Western world. The hardest thing for admirers is to avoid imitating him. To sound like a writer one respects may be a sincere form of flattery, but it is also a profound misunderstanding of what makes Naipaul, or indeed any good writer, extraordinary. Finding his own voice is something of an obsession to which Naipaul returns often in his reflections on writing: the constant search for his place in the world, a unique perspective, a writerly compass. Naipaul's voice, which some younger writers are tempted to mimic, cannot be defined by citing his opinions on race, the colonial experience, India, literature, or anything else. His views are frequently designed to shock and outrage, thrown out, especially in interviews, as a kind of smokescreen to protect the autonomy of "the writer." No, what makes Naipaul's writing so inspiring is the way he makes an art out of experience, travel, careful scrutiny of the physical world, and sharp analysis of ideas, history, culture, politics. . . . Read the rest here: