Conference: Philosophy Against Empire

From: Tony Smith (tonys@IASTATE.EDU)
Date: Mon Dec 15 2003 - 15:22:45 EST

Call for Conference Submissions

"Philosophy Against Empire"

sponsored by the
Radical Philosophy Association

November 4-7, 2004
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

The RPA Conference Program Committee invites submissions of talks, papers,
workshops, roundtables discussions, posters and other kinds of conference
contributions, for its sixth biennial conference, to be held at Howard
University in Washington, DC

In the spirit of collaboration, and in the recognition that radical
philosophy is often done outside traditional philosophical settings, we
invite submissions not only from philosophers inside and outside the
academy, but also from those who engage in theoretical work in other
academic disciplines--such as ethnic studies, women's studies, social
sciences and literary studies--and from those engaged in theoretical work
unconnected to the academy. Also, undergraduate students should consider
organizing their own sessions or workshops. We especially welcome
contributions from those often excluded from or marginalized in philosophy,
including people of color, gays and lesbians, persons with disabilities,
poor and working class persons. We also hope for submissions from other
nations with social movements against the present global order, and from
graduate students, who represent the future of radical philosophy.

Conference Theme

We live at a time when the imperial designs of the United States have
become starkly visible and frighteningly attainable, and it is an empire
like none before it.

Economically, the United States consumes far more of the world's resources
than any other nation, even as its own sales to foreign markets cannot
cover this consumption. Thanks to its hegemonic position in the world
market, the United States continues to serve as the main "engine of growth"
in the world economy, and the dollar continues to serve as the major
reserve currency. Politically and militarily, there have been few periods
in world history in which the balance of military power has been so
one-sided. The United States claims the moral right to engage in so-called
"pre-emptive" wars whenever it wants against whomever it wishes. It either
dictates policies to international institutions such as the IMF, UN and the
World Bank or ignores them when they do not agree. It walks away with
impunity from international agreements it opposes, such as the Kyoto treaty
on global warming, or the establishment of an international criminal court.
Culturally, corporations from the United States have profoundly affected
the way people in other regions of the world eat (McDonald's, KFC), drink
(Coke), dress (jeans, Nike), entertain themselves (Hollywood), interpret
world events (CNN), and view their own identities. Racially, the United
States, like all empires of European descent, has organized the world
according to an unfair racial contract that benefits a small minority while
impoverishing the vast majority, both globally and within its own borders.

Radical philosophers will not formulate moral justifications for the
American Empire, as the hegemonic positions in social and political
philosophy do, implicitly if not explicitly. Nor will we console ourselves
with the belief that U.S. hegemony is the least bad alternative in the
amoral realm of power politics. Radical philosophers are philosophers
against empire. You do not have to be a long time dues-paying member of the
RPA to be part of this struggle. Nor do you have to be a professor or
presently enrolled as a student.

The RPA welcomes papers and presentations that critique the reality of the
American Empire. They may look at racism, class exploitation, male
dominance, heterosexism, able-ism and other forms of domination. They may
examine the ecological impact of the present global order, speaking for the
living creatures and future generations who cannot speak. They may be
devoted to constructing feasible and normatively attractive alternatives to
empire. Or they may discuss the special pedagogical challenges that arise
from attempting to teach philosophy in the present historical context. We
have much to learn from each other regarding these and many other topics.

Guidelines for Submissions

In keeping with the spirit of radical thinking embodied by the RPA, we
encourage submissions that employ formats and media that challenge the
standard conference presentation. For instance, we urge presenters to use
formats that allow for greater interaction between participants and
audience (e.g. presenting an outline, rather than reading a paper), and
that emphasize collective inquiry (e.g. organizing a workshop).
To encourage discussion, papers should be limited to 3000 words.

Please note that participants will be selected for at most one presentation
(talk, workshop, poster session, etc.) during the conference; submissions
should be presented with this in mind. (This limit does not include
chairing sessions.)

Individual Talk/Paper/Workshop/Poster Session/Other

Please submit all and only the following information:
1. Name
2. Address
3. Affiliation--or independent scholar, activist, educator, etc.
4. Title of proposal
5. Nature of proposal (talk, workshop, other)
6. Abstract of 250-500 words only


Note: Due to the length of sessions, we will only consider panels of NO
MORE THAN three persons. Please submit all and only the following information:
1. Name of panel contact person, and of each panel member
2. Address of all panel members
3. Affiliation--or independent scholar, activist, educator, etc.--for each
4. Title of panel proposal
5. Nature of proposal (talk, workshop, other)
6. Abstract of 250-500 words only
7. Titles of individual papers
8. Abstract of 250-500 words for each paper (if relevant)

Chairing a Session

If you would be willing to serve as a session chair, please indicate this
on your submission form. Session chairs are responsible for timing
presentations, and ensuring that each presenter gets her or his fair share
of the available time.

Please send paper, workshop, poster, and other proposals to RPA PROGRAM
COMMITTEE, c/o Tony Smith, Department of Philosophy, 402 Catt Hall, Iowa
State University, Ames, Iowa 50011. You may also submit them as an email
attachment: send to NOTE: Please do NOT submit complete


All submissions must be postmarked by January 31, 2004.

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