CFP: The Wedding Conference: The Social Philosophy and Business Ethics of the American Wedding

Submission deadline: May 31, 2017

Conference date(s):
November 3, 2017 - November 5, 2017

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, UPenn
Philadelphia, United States


This conference is about weddings themselves - not about marriage, in general. It will take place at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia on the weekend of November 3-5

Select conference presentations will be given by invited speakers, including:

David Velleman

Samantha Brennan

Alastair Norcross

Elizabeth Brake

Daniel Halliday

Additionally, the program is open to submissions of long abstracts for 5-7 open presentation slots on the program.

We are hoping to solicit abstracts for papers answering questions such as:

Is it wrong to make promises that we know we are statistically unlikely to keep? 

What role does an audience play in promise-making? (And breaking)

Commercially, do wedding markets involve wrongful exploitation? If so             - what and whom is being wrongfully exploited? Are the exploited parties truly vulnerable?

Do wedding markets give rise to problems in business and consumer ethics? (e.g. false advertising; purchasing of products from immoral markets - e.g. diamonds)

Are anti-discrimination laws that (arguably) curtail religious freedom appropriately applied in consumer markets related to weddings: e.g. wedding cakes?

People spend a lot of money, time, and emotional energy on weddings. Is there any philosophical justification for it? What role do events like this play in the narrative of our lives? Our cultural heritage?

Do we owe it to our parents to have weddings - given that there are few other moments of public recognition for the parents of adult children in American social life? Do we, at least, discharge a duty of gratitude toward them in honoring their wishes that we hold weddings?

Do idealizations about a bride's body (idealizations about size, age, and virginity) prove to be oppressive (and is there anything interestingly new a philosopher might add to this discussion)?

People make religious and cultural compromises when planning their weddings. (e.g. religious compromises to parents) Do these compromises threaten cultural heritage? Do they result in commitments of bad faith?

Submit abstracts of 500-750 words to both Brian Berkey and Hallie Liberto at and

  • Deadline for Submission: May 31st, 2017.
  • Decisions Announced: June 15th, 2017.

Limited funding for travel is available from the conference budget, and will be distributed according to need.

Depending on the breadth and quality of submissions, the conference topic will be the focus of a special issue of Social Theory and Practice, edited by Hallie Liberto. Authors of accepted papers, as well as other highly ranked submissions, will be invited to submit full papers for consideration in the journal.

If you would like to submit a paper solely for consideration in the special issue of Social Theory and Practice, and not for consideration for the conference, please send in your paper by September 1st, 2017.

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