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NALS: "Levinas, the Environment, and Cultures of Place" (May 13-15, 2012)
full name / name of organization:
North American Levinas Society
CALL FOR PAPERS
DUE DECEMBER 20, 2011
“…[E]arth, sea, light, city. Every relation or possession is situated within the non-possessable which envelops or contains without being able to be contained or enveloped. We shall call it the elemental…. The element has no forms containing it; it is content without form. Or rather it has but a side [face]: the surface of the sea and of the field, the edge of the wind…. “Nothing ends, nothing begins.” [. . .] Hence we can say that the element comes to us from nowhere…. It is wind, earth, sea, sky, air.”
The North American Levinas Society is excited to announce that our seventh annual meeting and conference will take place May 13-15, 2012 in beautiful downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
Our 2012 conference hopes to take advantage of the distinctive environmental and cultural opportunities unique to Alaska in order to open our readings of Levinas’ work to a number of difficult questions and challenges. “Alaska”—derived from the Aleut word, alaxsxaq, meaning “the Great Land”—is a land of unparalleled beauty, and while its very name often conjures wilderness images of sublime geological landscapes and rich ecological diversity, it is a land marked also by complicated histories—of rich indigenous cultures, brutal colonialism, devastating militarism, mercantilism, and frontierism.
Abundant with wildlife and natural resources, Alaska is at the center of a number of national debates regarding wildlife management and ecological conservation. These debates are often mobilized around fundamentally different conceptions of the ontological and ethical status of “nature.” Such questions regarding the environment and natural resources are, in turn, further complicated by an entangled colonial history that has left deep cultural scars within Alaska Native communities and continues to prop up an enduring mercantile economy. In short, the history of this great state is infinitely more complicated than ordinary romanticized notions of “Alaska” suggest.
With this in mind, Alaska offers a unique context in which to think through ethics as first philosophy in all its difficult hermeneutical, cultural, political, and economic fields. Indeed, across many regions of the world, similar cultural dynamics play out between nature, environmentalism, indigenous traditions, local cultures, colonialism, and the forces of global political economy. For our 2012 conference, we invite you to bring your questions and work on “Levinas, the environment, and cultures of place” to Alaska. The proposals do not need to specifically concern Alaska, but “Alaska” will serve as a signifier for such national and international matters.
We are especially interested in organizing the conference around considerations of the following:
• How might a careful scrutiny of Levinas’ notion of “nature” help invigorate different environmental movements?
Although preference will be given to papers that address the conference theme, it is Society tradition to consider papers and panels on any topic related to the work of Emmanuel Levinas.
* Individual paper proposals should be 200-300 words for a 20-minute presentation
THE DEADLINE for submissions is December 20, 2011.
SOUTH CENTRAL ALASKA IN MID-MAY
Information on local arrangements, excursion opportunities, and other is forthcoming.