CFP: Will to Truth: Sarah Kofman and the Relief of Philosophy

Submission deadline: August 14, 2018

Topic areas


International Conference, London, October 2019 (exact date unconfirmed) 

Will to Truth: Sarah Kofman and the Relief of Philosophy 

Organised by John McKeane and Jacob Bates-Firth 

Speakers: Tina Chanter; Cillian O’Farthaigh; Mathieu Fracowiack; Duncan Large; Ginette Michaud; Elizabeth Rottenberg; Charlotte Thevenet, and others. 

Sarah Kofman dedicated her life to philosophy. She taught internationally and published two dozen books, often on or starting from Nietzsche or Freud, but also ranging widely across aesthetics, psychoanalysis, gender studies, and more. She was an exacting presence in the deconstructive group of Derrida, Nancy, and Lacoue-Labarthe. 25 years after her sudden death, this conference aims to read Kofman’s work in all its vitality. 

Its focus on the relief of philosophy is to be understood in several ways. For Kofman, the philosophical tradition has often served as a protection against the intolerable, perhaps a relief from it. Kofman’s work brackets off this tradition, relieving it of its privileges and responsibilities. But she is also wary of repeating this protective gesture in the turn to psychologizing or biographical discourses. Her work therefore draws on a will to truth, her particular practice of philosophy standing apart from such discourses, whether in high or low relief. 

We invite proposals for papers on any aspect of Kofman’s work, including recent developments in the disciplines and sub-disciplines with which she is associated. A few potential starting points are listed below. Please send proposals of 200-300 words to [email protected] and [email protected] by 15th August 2018. We aim to produce a journal special issue based on papers from the conference. 

- Philosophy and psychoanalysis 
- The anxiety of influence (e.g. Nietzsche, Freud) 
- Readings of ancient / Enlightenment / modern / contemporary philosophy 
- Post-68 French thought as context (e.g. Derrida, Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe) 
- The intolerable / trauma / catharsis / relief 
- Thinking autobiography / autothanatography 
- Judaism and Jewishness 
- Aesthetics and the creative process 
- Emotion and affect 
- Conceptions of literature (e.g. Hoffmann, Nerval, Blanchot) 
- Gender and sexuality 
- The will to truth in a post-truth world 

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)