Bodies of Knowledge

deadline for submissions: 
October 2, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Phenomenology and Existentialist Special Interest Group

Call for Papers for the Phenomenology and Existentialism SIG

Philosophy of Education Society (PES) 2021

Salt Lake City, USA  March 4-8



For indeed, no one has yet determined what the body can do.


Spinoza, Ethics III.ii


The body has long been an aspect of interest for philosophy of education, and pedagogical discourses in particular.


Questions around what the body can do, or how it can be disciplined or improved have received attention from the social and educational sciences with strong linkages to medical, therapeutic, and behavioral discourses. In more recent times, the notion of body reappears in the guise of gender studies and post-structural ideological discourses that, while dismissing biological facticity, have not necessarily critically examined the ways in which the body still remains rooted in an already meaningful, potentializing “natural attitude”.


Through phenomenological descriptions, our understanding regarding the facticity and lived experience of embodiment, in all of its varieties, can be made more precise. As a starting point, we can recall that within the tradition initiated by Husserl, the phenomenological distinction between body (Körper, or flesh) and lived body (Leib, or embodiment) become central to a more sophisticated study of the structures of experience regarding our relations with our physical bodies as well as with bodies of knowledge. As we can only develop knowledge - that is: think and learn - through the dynamisms of our (extended) bodies, these in turn cannot but affect the very nature and agency of that knowledge, and the way it allows us to intervene in the world.    


For this panel, we are interested in research that highlights important contributions phenomenology can make to understanding the educational dimensions of embodiment. We welcome dialogue between approaches, methodologies, and perspectives on the phenomenology of bodies from within the humanities, psychology, and the social sciences. These approaches can include engagement with primary sources from the phenomenological tradition, detailed descriptions of different states of embodiment, or forms of experimental/performative phenomenology to be enacted at the conference by participants. In short, we welcome a diversity of papers, presentations, and participation that demonstrate the multiple ways in which phenomenology can generate bodies of knowledge about and through embodiment practices.


Topics might include:

Phenomenologies of difference (race, class, gender, sexuality)

Phenomenologies of perception

Phenomenologies of (dis)ability

The relation between phenomenology and neuroscience

Phenomenologies of gestures (especially those connected to education, including pointing, note taking, studying, reading, writing, and so forth)

Post-human, speculative phenomenologies of non-human (organic and/or technological) bodies  

The aesthetics of embodiment (Merleau-Ponty’s emphasis on style, for instance)

Embodiment in digital spaces/virtual bodies

Phenomenologies of mass movements—swarms, multitudes, protests, occupations

Phenomenologies of the effects of pandemics and social distancing on bodies


Please submit a 500 word abstract (with bibliographic references) by October 2nd to: (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 23rd.

The SIG panel proposal will then be submitted to PES for final review.

The conference will take place in Salt Lake City, United States, March 4-8 2021.


For more information on the main conference, please visit