Saturday, December 4, 2010

7th Annual PGSA Conf, U. of Memphis

The University of Memphis Department of Philosophy
7th Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Association Conference
February 11-12, 2011

Topic: The Social Ontology of Race in the "Post-Racial" Era

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Lisa Vest, University of Central Florida*

In the past several decades, mainstream philosophical discourse has examined the ontology of race from a number of philosophical vantage points. During this period, thinkers have called our philosophical attention to the widespread acknowledgment in the scientific community that the concept of race has no biological basis. However, African American scholars in a variety of disciplines have been debating the question of the reality of race since the late nineteenth century. Of particular import has been the question of the ontological currency of the concept of race apart from its dubious biological status.

In contemporary academic discourse, the social ontology of race is a vibrant and dynamic question with implications across various traditions and subfields within the discipline of philosophy in both the analytic and continental traditions and beyond. Interdisciplinary by nature, discussion surrounding this question has reverberations in companion disciplines such as ethnic studies, political theory, philosophy of law, history, feminist theory, queer theory, gender studies, sociology, anthropology, and psychology.

Just what does it mean to be racialized as non-white in American culture today? To what extent does such a classification still carry negative connotations? How has the growing population of “mixed race” people affected how race is understood in America? How, if at all, has the election of our first black/ “mixed race” president changed the social ontology of race in America? Does this landmark event signify the onset of a “post-racial” era? How do these questions intersect with other issues of social ontology? These are the kinds of questions we hope to address in our 7th annual Philosophy Graduate Student Association conference at the University of Memphis. We invite philosophy papers on any of these topics, or any related topic. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed.

Deadline for submission of papers is January 1, 2011 (extended). Papers should be sent as Word documents not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages. Papers should be suitable for blind review, including a cover letter with all relevant personal information (name, contact information, university affiliation).

Electronic submissions are preferred. Please send electronic submissions to any one of the conference organizers at:

Tina Botts (
Alice Everly (
Desiree Ramacus-Bushnell ( or
John Torrey (

In the alternative, please send hard copies to:

University of Memphis
Department of Philosophy
Clement Hall 327 Memphis, TN 38152
c/o Tina Botts, Alice Everly, Desiree Ramacus-Bushnell, and John

For more information, please contact one of the conference organizers.

*Dr. Jennifer Lisa Vest is a mixedrace philosopher and poet who teaches philosophy and women’s studies as an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of Central Florida (Orlando). She has published articles and poetry on topics in African Philosophy, Caribbean Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, and Indigenous Philosophy. She is currently completing a book on Academic Native American Philosophy entitled, Sovereign Thought.

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