Philosophy of Education Society Annual Conference

Call for abstracts for the 2023 Phenomenology and Existentialism SIG Panel, ‘Crises in Education’. It will be held March 3-6th 2023.


With a reference to Hannah Arendt’s seminal essay, “The Crisis in Education,” the Phenomenology and Existentialism SIG of the Philosophy of Education Society welcomes 500-word abstracts that address the contemporary crises that society and, in turn, education is faced with – physical and mental health in the wake of the pandemic, ecological catastrophe, war, a pervasive culture of violence, extreme disparities of wealth and resources, the increase in forced migration and refugee fluxes worldwide, the rise of nationalist, xenophobic and racist discourses, censorship and the general suspicion towards facts and truth claims, the depoliticisation of higher education and the difficulties for the humanities to survive in a world obsessed with productivity and effectiveness, etc. The list is virtually endless. These crises reflect a widespread sense that, today, we are living through a situation of profound upheaval, a fundamental interruption of the shape of our lives in common, a turning point. This urgent situation calls upon philosophers of education to respond to our present condition and to conceive of desirable educational interventions. Moments of crisis are, as Arendt demonstrates, also opportunities to call attention to what education is about, to criticise where education falters, but also to recognise the creative, emancipatory, transformative potential of education.
Phenomenology and existentialism are schools of thought that are well-suited to take up these challenges in education and society. Central to our experiences of the contemporary is an existential threat vis-à-vis the continuation of a meaningful form of life that calls for action. Ever since the publication of Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences, phenomenology has been a philosophical approach that endeavours to intervene in societal crises by elucidating the present situation in richer and more detailed ways, such that we can come to terms with what is really going on. In view of this, we call for contributions that engage with traditional and/or contemporary scholarship in existentialism and phenomenology, as well as related approaches (such as object-oriented ontology, hermeneutics, post-phenomenology, Science and Technology Studies, and/or the arts) to address these critical situations as contemporary educational challenges. This scholarship could entail giving a rich experiential account in the present moment of crises, a deeper insight into the nature of our responses to crises, methodological reflections on how to relate to present (and past) crises, more concrete considerations about possible (creative) actions we could undertake to address crises, and/or a combination hereof.
Papers for the Phenomenology and Existentialism SIG may thus address:
• An exploration, description, or account of socio-political crises and how these relate to education. Example topics might include: ecological crises, refugee crises, mental health crises, identity crises, economic crises, political crises, crises of gender-based and/or racial violence, (post-)pandemic crises, etc.
• Specific crises debated within education. Example topics might include:: truth, post-truth, censorship and/or academic freedom, employment practices (e.g., casualisation), the crisis of the humanities, etc.
• The relationship between existentialism and phenomenology, and our understanding of “crisis” within education today
• Pedagogical approaches to crises, and/or other (potential) educational responses to crises

• Reframing crises as educational responses in and of themselves, or as opportunities within education

NOTE: Other contributions addressing questions of education via existentialism and phenomenology will also be considered.

If you require more information, please contact [email protected]
Please submit a 500 word abstract (with bibliographic references) by September 16, 2022 to: [email protected] (Please use “PES SIG CFP” in the subject line). Using a blind review process, the PES Phenomenology and Existentialism SIG will evaluate submissions based on standard measures of academic quality and considerations of topicality, as well as on their fit with the themes of the conference and the SIG. Notification of the committee’s decision will be sent out by October 29, 2022. The SIG panel proposal will then be submitted to PES for final review by the PES program committee. The 2023 Philosophy of Education Society Conference will be held March 3-6, 2023 in Chicago (Philosophy of Education Society – Conference)