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Philosophy and the West: On the Future of Universality – Call for Papers


12th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference

The New School for Social Research

March 1st- 2nd, 2013

Keynote Speakers:

Talal Asad (CUNY) and Susan Buck-Morss (CUNY)

The philosophical tradition has generally taken itself to be a project that is both

universal in scope and uniquely Western in nature. The tension between the universal

aims of rationality and the historical situatedness of the philosophical tradition has

been exacerbated by the increasing dominance of Western society: on the one hand,

the proliferation of socio-cultural forms such as the modern state, the capitalist

market and European university have seemed to make the universal pretensions

of Western philosophy a reality; on the other hand, the negative consequences of

this proliferation have led to an increasing suspicion of traditional philosophical

commitments to ideas such as reason, humanity and the subject. In the wake of this

suspicion, adherence to these commitments has been characterized as a disguised

intellectual imperialism. More recently, many political thinkers have critiqued this

reaction as a renunciation of the potential for universal emancipation offered by

Western rationality.

These questions indicate the pressing need to re-evaluate the possible role of

philosophy in our current historical context. Given the seeming realization of

Western rationality’s global vision and its attendant victories and disappointments,

what are we, as philosophers, to do?

This conference will attempt to approach this question from a variety of angles by

welcoming all papers that broach these questions from an intellectual, political or

historical perspective. While we have not listed specific figures from the history of

philosophy, we welcome any figural papers related either to the conference theme or

any of the topics below.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Philosophy and (Universal) History

Globalization and/or Cosmopolitanism

Enlightenment, Auklärung, Lumières

Christianity and its Universal Promise

Philosophy and War/Imperialism

Philosophy, the West and Islam

Crises of the European/Modern Tradition

De-Colonializing Critical Theory

Feminism outside the Occident

The Question of Humanism

Colonial and Post-Colonial Thought

The current function of identity politics

The Greeks and the Western Tradition

Analyses of Modernity and/or Civilization

Secularization and Laïcisation

Universal Human Rights and Emancipation

Philosophy and ‘America’

European Science, Technology and Reason

(Possible) Dialogues between Eastern and Western Philosophy

Subjectivity and the Soul as features of the Western Tradition

Papers should range from 3,000 to 4,500 words and should be sent to:

Please make sure all submissions are sent in blind-review format.

Please include your name, institution and the title of your paper in the body of your e-mail.

The deadline for submissions is December 10th 2012.

Notification will occur during the second week of January 2013.

Please note that the date of our conference has been pushed back one day from our original


For further information please check our conference website: