Translating Realism: The Nature and Emergence of Contemporary French Thought
An Interdisciplinary Conference
Adrian Johnston (University of New Mexico)
Dorothea Olkowski (UCCS/Rotman Institute)
Michael Naas (Depaul)
May 10-11 2013, University of Notre Dame.
In the last decade, the cutting edge of French thought appears to have changed radically. Questions of metaphysics, of realism, science, and objectivity, of the end of critique, which might have been proscribed a generation ago, seem to take pride of place. Our aim is to provide a genealogy of the present moment in French thought. We intend to improve our understanding of the non-discursive, material agents that have jointly made the present moment in French thought possible. We would also like to gain a firm grasp on the strictly conceptual issues at stake, and start charting both dead ends and new ways forward.
In the interests of fostering as intensive and wide-ranging discussion as possible, as well as future collaboration, we hope to organize panels of consisting of both graduate students and faculty.
With all of this in mind, we have decided to orient our conference along two axes:
1) Realist philosophy in French context: We are confronted with the “irreductive” reflections of Latour and Serres, the rationalist materialism of Badiou and Meillassoux, and the speculative philosophies of Malabou, Stengers, Laruelle and Deleuze. We find similar themes in, e.g., the speculative philosophies of life in the phenomenology of Renaud Barbaras and Michel Henry. We hope to specify the varieties of French realism, their convergences and divergences, the theoretical problems to which they respond and, perhaps most importantly, their conceptual, argumentative supports and limitations.
2) Translation: contemporary French thought is thoroughly engaged in translation in a broad sense, transmitting into new contexts and transforming the concepts of thinkers from Hume to William James and A. N. Whitehead to Bloor and Pickering. Thought never emerges in a vacuum, and the work of translation does not take place in a void. We are interested in discussions of the specific sorts of media through which these translations and transformations have taken place, from cyberspace to international conferences to collaborative research programmes, and their effects on the development of French realism.
We encourage submissions that relate broadly to either of these axes. High-quality submissions on other dimensions of contemporary French thought are also welcome.
Presenters will be provided first-class lodging and most meals. Some funding may be available to subsidize graduate student travel.
Papers should be prepared for blind-review, and should be suitable for a 25 minute presentation.
Deadline for submission is January 15 2012.
Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.