Student Conference in Cultural, Social and Political Thought

  • Posted on: 19 January 2016
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Call for Proposals
Cultural, Social and Political Thought Graduate Student Conference
University of Victoria, Coast Salish and Straits Salish Territories
April 22-24 2016

What is nihilism? What is hope? Can one have both? Are they sentiments? Systems of belief? Realities? Are they the same reality? This conference will grapple with the concepts of ‘nihilism’ and ‘hope’ as two fundamentally inseparable ideas—in contrast to the notion of these two terms being diametrically opposite and/or mutually exclusive, as they are sometimes understood.

In a time when everything is questioned—faith, science, politics, identity, ideology, truth, meaning—roadmaps, guidelines, stability, are rare. Despite this, it is also a time of social movements, and a striving for ‘the new’. Situated amidst the backdrop of the crumbling grand metanarratives that have previously defined us (who is ‘us’?), where are these groups finding meaning, truth, hope? Are they searching for it, fighting against it, or both?

This conference will use a critical and interdisciplinary approach on these topics in order to explore the theme of nihilism.hope. Potential topics of exploration could include, but are not limited to:

● Poetry/Literature/Art/Film
● Social movements and social justice
● Boundaries/Borders/Transgression
● Indigeneity
● Identity and affinity
● Colonialism and decolonisation
● Apocalyptia and/or theorizations of despair
● Utopia/Dystopia
● Technology and Digital Theory
● Emotion/Affect Theory
● Postmodernity and the postmodern condition
● Humanism/Posthumanism/ Transhumanism/Cyborgs
● Environment and ecology
● Capitalism, risk society and transitions to postcapitalism
● Anarchism, postpolitics and alternative political forms
● Intersectionality
● Religion/secularization theory
● Sex, sexuality and gender
● Aesthetics
● Other related topics

Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words with your proposed topic and type of presentation, which could be a paper, workshop, panel discussion, or something else. These abstracts/samples can be sent to, and the deadline is February 29 2016.


Is this just for grad students in philosophy?

I'm preparing an event for anarchist LAN parties now... Everything immaterial and unpragmatic will do in NA college liberal anarchism!

I went to something like this once, couldn't shake the feeling that anthropology students had lured me in to a fish-bowl for further study. That said, this is a vexing philosophical problem that has destroyed several of my comrades ability to do useful work over the years so ... that's a thing.

Canadian nihilists..........................ohhh

Nah... U Vic students are complete liberals usually. I presume it could be considered an equivalent to Evergreen College.

Ohh nos!!! I have theorized myself into an inescapable box and now I cant get out!!!

what is crumbling is the belief in 'semantic reality'. what can be put into generalized words bears little resemblance to the physical reality of our experience. 'generalization is for idiots', as Blake says, and 'subject and attribute' constructs are a 'great stupidity', as Nietzsche says, wherein grammar plays the role of God.

the physical reality of our actual, natural experience transcends the subject-verb-predicate representations of the 'semantic realities' that different collectives of people rally around.

the dysfunction of Western society's confusing 'semantic reality' for 'reality' is becoming more and more evident. debating what is 'wrong' by trusting in reasoned discourse is an exercise in futility. What must be examined is the role of 'graduate student conferences', their findings and influences [e.g. in constructing revised 'semantic realities'], in the authoring of rising social incoherence.

Word falling, photo falling, break through in grey room!

even in biology, science holds on to 'intelligent beings' as if they are 'real'; i.e. as in documentaries such as 'Smarty Plants' [The Nature of Things] and Nova specials on 'plant intelligence' such as 'slime mold smarts';

“The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a single cell without a brain, yet it can make surprisingly complicated decisions. In this animated video short, watch as a slime mold navigates through a maze and solves a civil engineering problem.” — Nova "

'semantic reality' is a defining medium for 'intelligent beings' which are a far cry from the relational forms in the transforming relational continuum that we experience as 'humans'.

living in an authoritarian society run by 'intelligent beings' is a nightmare.

more to the point than the Turing test of whether a 'thinking machine' can be built that is indistinguishable from a human-as-intelligent-being, ... is whether a human can reduce himself to an 'intelligent being' aka 'thinking machine' that could be replaced by a machine; i.e. promoting the unnatural ascendance of 'intelligent beings' is what Western society has been all about.

distributed cognition is in a natural precedence over 'intelligent beings'. eco-relations are the basis of things in the ecosystem, ... things are not the basis of eco-relations; i.e. an ecosystem is NOT a relational structure invented by 'intelligent beings'.

'distributed cognition' which is implicit in a relational world can't be harvested without breaking out of the 'lock' or 'clutches' of 'semantic reality' [a 'break-out' as burroughs achieved with his cut-up technique, which allows relational connections to source meaning rather than linear logic].

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