CFP: Inaugural University of Leeds Graduate Political Theory Conference

Submission deadline: May 30, 2021

Conference date(s):
June 29, 2021

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Conference Venue:

POLIS, University of Leeds
Leeds, United Kingdom

Topic areas


University of Leeds Graduate Political Theory Conference 2021
Centre for Contemporary Political Theory

“Beyond Ideal and Nonideal theory: alternative epistemologies and methodologies in political theory”

Submission deadline: May 30, 2021

Keynote speaker: Linda Zerilli (University of Chicago) 

Within anglophone debates in political theory, the ideal-nonideal paradigm remains dominant. Broadening beyond Rawls’ initial distinction between full compliance and noncompliance, the ideal-nonideal binary places theories that begin from certain assumptions about society in relation to those that begin by accepting society “as it is”. Despite disagreement over the limits of ideal and/or nonideal theory, these debates nevertheless serve to reproduce the dominance of the ideal- nonideal paradigm and obscure alternative approaches to political theory. The aim of our conference is to dislodge the ubiquity of the ideal/nonideal framework and showcase alternative epistemologies and methodologies that sit entirely outside the ideal and nonideal approach.

Within the history of political philosophy, the ‘continental tradition’ provides a wealth of alternative approaches. To name a few, Hannah Arendt, following Heidegger’s and Jaspers’s phenomenology, developed an original account of the political as an action in concert that brings novelty into the world. From a phenomenological perspective as well, Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon respectively gave an account of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be racialized. On another level, philosophers such as Nancy Fraser moved beyond the ideal- nonideal paradigm in order to provide a theory of justice rooted in critical theory.

We therefore welcome PhD students to submit abstracts that highlight alternative approaches to political theory beyond the ideal-nonideal. We also welcome a wide range of approaches for theorising specific concepts – e.g. submissions in phenomenology, feminist philosophy, critical race theory, and/or class-based analysis are welcomed, but are certainly not restricted to.

Topics of interest:

  • -  Phenomenology and Hermeneutics

  • -  The Cambridge School of Political Thought

  • -  Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School

  • -  Marxism and materialism

  • -  Post-structuralism

  • -  Pragmatism

  • -  Genealogy

Proposals will be selected from the abstracts (approximately 300-500 words) by the Conference Program Committee. The deadline for sending abstracts is May 30, 2021. Please send your abstracts to [email protected].

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