CFP: [Theory] NALS: Levinas and the Sacred

full name / name of organization: 
Sol Neely
contact email: 

Third Annual Conference and Meeting: “Levinas and the Sacred”
August 31-September 2, 2008 | Seattle University

Call for papers

“The Sacred â€" together with the fear and trembling…”
Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom

Celebrating the third anniversary of our founding, the North American Levinas Society continues
in our aim to build interest and promote dialogue around the important work of Emmanuel
Levinas. Last year’s conference, building on the enthusiasm of the inaugural meeting, brought
Levinas’ family from Paris and Jerusalem together with young scholars from across the world to
forge important relationships and foster respectful solidarities around the question of
community and the ethical.

This year, the Society hopes to carry this momentum forward, as we organize our first meeting
and conference outside of Purdue University, the Society’s founding institution. We are very
pleased to announce that our 2008 annual meeting and conference will be hosted by Seattle
University in the beautiful “metronatural” center of the Pacific Northwest.

The North American Levinas Society invites submissions of individual paper proposals and panel
proposals for the third annual meeting and conference to be held August 31-September 2,
2008, at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington. While we will organize the conference around
the broad theme of “Levinas and the Sacred,” we will accept proposals for paper and panels on
any topic related to Levinas in an effort to draw the widest array of interests.

Without doubt, the theme of “the sacred” will stir up vigorous, productive debates, and there are
a number of entry points into such dialogues. For instance, what is the relation between the
state and the sacred? What are we to make of the coincidence of the political and the spiritual
from, say, Hegel’s Philosophy of Right to some of the more controversial passages in Levinas’
Difficult Freedom? What important insights concerning derivations of the sacred do we find in
Levinas’ engagement with Heidegger on the question of truth, being, and the sacred? How do
considerations of the sacred respond to critiques of onto-theology? How might the recent
postsecular turn in Continental philosophy promote discussions of the sacred as it relates to the
ethical and justice? How are we to understand Levinas’ claim that the horror of existence, of the
there is (il y a)…, contributes to the destruction of sacred categories? How have notions of the
sacred contributed either to colonial and geopolitical violences, and how have notions of the
sacred worked to correct such violences?

Certainly, these are only a few questions of the sacred broadly posed, but it is clear that such
questions open Levinas’ work to a more difficult, and perhaps edifying, scrutiny. We are also
interested in receiving panels that address the relation between the sacred, the ethical,
community, justice, and pedagogy from a variety of multicultural perspectives.

● Individual paper proposals: Individual abstracts should be 200-300 words for a 20-minute
presentation. We will assess and organize individual papers into panels of two or three.
● Panel proposal: Panel proposals should be 500 words for a 75-minute session. Please include
the session title, name of organizer, institutional affiliation, discipline or department, along with
the chair’s name and participants’ names in addition to brief abstracts detailing the focus of each

Please send materials via email attachment (preferably Microsoft Word) to: submissions_at_levinas-

If you have questions regarding the Society or the conference, please send inquiries to

The deadline for submissions is March 2, 2008

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Received on Tue Nov 06 2007 - 17:46:16 EST