CFP: Activism and Philosophy: A panel at the 2021 APA Central Division Meeting

Submission deadline: September 26, 2020

Conference date(s):
February 24, 2021 - February 27, 2021

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This event is online

Conference Venue:

Graduate Student Council of the American Philosophical Association
Chicago, United States


The Graduate Student Council of the American Philosophical Association invites proposals for a session on Activism and Philosophy at the 2021 Central Division Meeting of the APA. 

In a world marked by a global pandemic, crushing economic downturns, climate devastation, and increasing urgency to address longstanding patterns of systemic racism, what is the role of philosophy? How might philosophers participate in and contribute to social justice and labor movements? This session is dedicated to exploring both how activism functions within and beyond academic philosophy--from graduate student labor movements, to public philosophy, to academics working within grassroots movements--as well as how philosophy functions within activist contexts--through participation of philosopher-activists or the application of theory within activist projects. 

What is the relationship between philosophy and activism? What kinds of unique skills and tools can philosophers bring to the table? What are special concerns philosophers are likely to face when engaging in advocacy across university, public, and grassroots contexts? And what role might graduate students play?

The goal of this session is to discuss the relationship between philosophy and activism, broadly construed. This session aims to facilitate productive conversations on the role of activism in academic philosophy and the academy more broadly, as well as the role of philosophy within our own local communities. It is a space for honest engagement, reflection, collaboration, brainstorming, and strategizing. 

Possible topics may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Unionization, union organizing, and labor movements within or beyond the academy

  • Graduate student precarity, placement, advocacy, and organizing

  • Power relations and differentials within the university and/or grassroots efforts

  • Anti-racist activism within universities and the public sphere 

  • Anti-Black racism within universities and the public sphere

  • Efforts to increase representation of underrepresented groups and topics in philosophy

  • Allyship and active bystanders in academic contexts

  • Public philosophy and outreach efforts 

  • Mental health and/or disability and activism

  • LGBTQ+ and activism 

  • Intersectional approaches to activism 

  • Combating xenophobia and advocacy efforts in support of international students

  • Community activism and grassroots organizing in public spaces

  • Pedagogical strategies for social change

  • Social media engagement, online activism, and/or scholarly activism 

  • Practicing epistemic humility in nonacademic spaces

  • Application of theory and philosophical tools within activist efforts and movements

Format: Graduate Student Council sessions encourage interactive virtual presentation styles. Proposals should indicate how audience members will participate in the session. One format might have participants working through an interactive experience or other learning activity. Proposals that include learning or reflection activities for participants are highly encouraged. Sessions typically consist of three or four presenters. 

Submissions: Anonymized proposals of no more than 500 words should be sent to Danielle Clevenger  Please include a brief explanation of what you will share in your session, as well as your plan for the presentation of that material. We encourage submissions from philosophers at various career stages including: graduate students, post docs, and faculty. 

Deadline for proposals: September 26, 2020 

The Graduate Student Council of the APA

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