CFP: Philosophical Engagements with Trauma

Submission deadline: December 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
March 22, 2019 - March 23, 2019

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Philosophy Department, UNC Asheville
Asheville, United States

Topic areas


Call for Papers

Philosophical Engagements with Trauma March 22-23, 2019
University of North Carolina Asheville Asheville, NC

The Philosophy Department of the University of North Carolina Asheville will host a conference on Philosophical Engagements with Trauma on March 22-23, 2019. Featured events for the conference include a panel on Melissa Burchard’s recent book from Routledge Press, Philosophical Reflections on Mothering in Trauma, and our invited speakers:

Dr. Peg O’Connor, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Abby L. Wilkerson, George Washington University

As this conference is the first that we know of to specifically focus on philosophy and trauma, we encourage a broad range of topics and engagements from, hopefully, a broad range of perspectives, including those traditionally underrepresented in philosophy. Questions and topics addressed could include the following:

  •   Methodological issues: what does philosophy add to existing studies about trauma? How do philosophical analyses help in understanding trauma/traumatic experiences?

  •   Epistemological issues: how does traumatic experience support or challenge various epistemologies? Which epistemologies help to make the best sense of traumatic experiences in specific conditions? Does traumatic experience change the meanings of concepts like truth, coherence, knowledge?

  •   Metaphysical issues: is a traumatic reality different from what is typical? If so, how can philosophy help to explain those differences? What is trauma? What are the kinds of experiences that seem to contribute to it?

  •   Moral issues: what is agency like under trauma, especially severe and prolonged trauma? What kinds of moral responsibility do people have, and are people capable of, under trauma? What is owed to people who have been traumatized? What moral theories seem likely to enable us to respond well to the injuries caused by trauma, or to work to dismantle circumstances that contribute to the likelihood of trauma?

  •   Social/political issues: how does trauma function on social levels? What are the experiences of trauma that are caused, for example, by living under racism? How is the experience of trauma changed when it is enacted by social institutions, and when it has institutional power behind it?

  •   Why are some persons traumatized by their experiences when others are not? What are some of the features of resilience that help survive, respond to and/or recover from trauma?

  •   As academics, what kinds of responsibility do we have to recognize the traumatic experiences of students (colleagues, community members)? What is trauma-informed pedagogy and how should/can we incorporate it in our classes?

This list is intended to suggest but not to be exhaustive or exclusive. We invite submissions on any topic of philosophy and trauma for traditional paper presentations of 20 minutes reading time. Proposals for panels or non-traditional presentations will also be considered. Please submit via email, in an attached Word document, abstracts of up to 400 words along with an author bio of up to 100 words and contact information. Please use the title “Trauma conference submission” in the heading of your email. Participants will be notified of acceptance by January 5, 2019.

Please send submissions to Melissa Burchard, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at UNCA, [email protected] by December 15, 2018. Questions and requests for more information may be addressed to me as well.

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