Engaged Phenomenology – the British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference, with the University of Exeter, co-sponsored by Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health.
Keynote presentations will be streamed live over Zoom with live Q&A sessions sourced via chat. Speakers will appear in single track panel presentations via pre-recorded videos released according to a timetable over the three days of the conference, Q&As will be conducted via a chat forum. The full programme will be developed over the coming weeks; for now, you can check out keynotes and speakers’ papers, abstracts, and profiles.
Timetable: the timetable will be released mid-August after speakers submit their recordings.
Delegate registration open now – see the delegate registration webpage.
Keynotes: Sophie Loidolt, Mariana Ortega, and Dan Zahavi
Sophie Loidolt. ‘Order, Experience, and Critique: The Phenomenological Method in Political and Legal Theory’
Professor of philosophy and chair of practical philosophy, Technische Universität Darmstadt / Technical University of Darmstadt.
The talk investigates phenomenology’s possibilities to describe, reflect and critically analyse political and legal orders. It presents a “toolbox” of methodological reflections, tools and topics, by relating to the classics of the tradition and to the emerging movement of “critical phenomenology,” as well as by touching upon current issues such as experiences of rightlessness, experiences in the digital lifeworld, and experiences of the public sphere. It is argued that phenomenology provides us with a dynamic methodological framework that emphasizes correlational, co-constitutional, and interrelational structures and thus pays attention to modes of givenness, the making and unmaking of “world,” and, thereby, the inter/subjective, affective, and bodily constitution of meaning. In the case of political and legal orders, questions of power, exclusion, and normativity are central issues. By looking at “best practice” models such as Hannah Arendt’s analyses, I will elaborate on an analytical tool and flexible framework I call “spaces of meaning,” which phenomenologists can use and modify as they go along. In the current debates on political and legal issues, I see the main task of phenomenology in reclaiming experience as world-building and world-opening, also in a normative sense, and in demonstrating how structures and orders are lived while they condition and form spaces of meaning. If we want to understand, criticize, act, or change something, this subjective and intersubjective perspective will remain indispensable.
Biography: Sophie Loidolt is professor of philosophy at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. She is a member of the “Young Academy” of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and “Recurrent Visiting Professor” at CFS Copenhagen. During her time and education at University of Vienna (PhD, habilitation, assistant professor), she was a visiting researcher at the Husserl-Archives of KU Leuven and at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her work centers on issues in the fields of phenomenology, political and legal philosophy, and ethics, as well as transcendental philosophy and philosophy of mind. Her books include Anspruch und Rechtfertigung. Eine Theorie des rechtlichen Denkens im Anschluss an die Phänomenologie Edmund Husserls (Springer 2009), Einführung in die Rechtsphänomenologie (Mohr Siebeck 2010), and Phenomenology of Plurality. Hannah Arendt on Political Intersubjectivity (Routledge 2017). Website.
Mariana Ortega. ‘To Have a Mouth – Perception, Autoarte, and Resistance’
Associate Professor of Philosophy; Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities; and Latina/o Studies at Penn State.
In this presentation I approach phenomenology from an existential, dialogical, and critical perspective that allows for a relational and critical attunement to different theoretical and praxical engagements with experience. Here phenomenological inquiry is informed by particular marginalized lived experience in connection to multiple social identities (race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, ability, etc.) so as to allow for multidirectional orientations between phenomenology in its traditional form and other narratives, theories and methodologies that attempt to do justice to multiplicitous subjectivity or the subject that occupies multiple social identities and power positions. Following this dialogical, critical phenomenological approach, the aim of this presentation is to discuss two key issues at the nexus between phenomenology and aesthetics: the role of visuality in structuring racial perception and a process through which the self may develop resistant perceptual practices. In the first section, I discuss the reign of ocularity that has privileged the eye as arbiter of knowledge, taste, and racial understanding. Following Merleau-Pontian readings of racial perception by Linda Martín Alcoff and Helen Ngo, I show the intertwining of habitual perception and racism. Additionally, I am guided by photographic examples to show that the mouth, symbolic of other senses, needs attention. In the second section, guided by Gloria Anzaldúa’s understanding of the relationship between words and images, I develop a notion of autoarte that allows both for the possibility of self-transformation in the midst of oppressive contexts and for the possibility of redirecting perception away from racist, colonial otherings.
Biography: Mariana Ortega is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy; Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities; and Latina/o Studies at Penn State. Her main areas of research and interest are Women of Color Feminisms, in particular Latina Feminisms, Phenomenology (Heidegger), Critical Philosophy of Race, and Aesthetics. Her research focuses on questions of self, identity, as well as visual representations of race, gender, and sexuality. She is author of In-Between: Latina Feminist Phenomenology, Multiplicity, and the Self (SUNY, 2016) in which she presents a theory of multiplicitous selfhood informed by Latina feminist and Heideggerian phenomenologies. She is co-editor with Andrea Pitts and José Medina of Theories of the Flesh, Latinx and Latin American Feminisms, Transformation and Resistance (Oxford University Press, 2020); she is also co-editor with Linda Martín-Alcoff of Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader (SUNY, 2009). Her current research is at the nexus of aesthetics, photographic theory, race, and the epistemology of ignorance. She is the founder and director of the Latina/x Feminisms Roundtable (formerly the Roundtable on Latina feminism), a forum dedicated to discussions of Latina/x and Latin American feminisms. Website.
Dan Zahavi. ‘Pure and Applied Phenomenology’
Professor of Philosophy, University of Copenhagen; Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford; Director of Center for Subjectivity Research (CFS).
At its core, phenomenology is a philosophical endeavour. Given its distinctly philosophical nature, one might reasonably wonder whether it can offer anything of value to positive science. Can it at all inform empirical work? There can, however, be no doubt about the answer to these questions. For more than a century, phenomenology has provided crucial inputs to a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Within the last few decades, phenomenology has also been an important source of inspiration, not only for theoretical debates within qualitative research but also for ongoing research within the cognitive sciences. But what is the best way to practice, use and apply phenomenology in a non‐philosophical context? How deeply rooted in phenomenological philosophy must the empirical research be in order to qualify as phenomenological? How many of the core commitments of phenomenology must it accept? In my talk, I will discuss and assess some different answers to these questions.
Biography: Dan Zahavi is Professor of Philosophy at University of Copenhagen and University of Oxford, and director of the Center for Subjectivity Research in Copenhagen. In addition to a number of scholarly works on the phenomenology of Husserl, Zahavi has mainly written on the nature of selfhood, self-consciousness, intersubjectivity, and social cognition. His most important publications include Self-awareness and Alterity (1999), Husserl’s Phenomenology (2003), Subjectivity and Selfhood (2005), The Phenomenological Mind (together with Shaun Gallagher) (2008/2012), Self and Other (2014), Husserl’s Legacy (2017), and Phenomenology: The Basics (2019). Zahavi also serves as the co-editor in chief of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. Website.
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