Philosophy and Laughter
13-14 June 2019
Crawford Beach Lodge in Chintsa, South Africa
Organisers: Matthias Pauwels, David Mitchell, Abraham Olivier, Rafael Winkler
Laughter has been a central concern in philosophy from Plato to Nietzsche and beyond. Plato was suspicious of the power and maliciousness of scorn and mockery and banned it from his ideal state. Nietzsche, Plato’s philosophical antipode, highlighted the levity and lightness of laughter in order to challenge the traditional image of philosophy, which attaches a seriousness to the pursuit of knowledge and an arresting gravity to truth. In between both Plato and Nietzsche, philosophers such as Hobbes, Kant, Bergson and Bataille have addressed laughter from various perspectives. Following Nietzsche in some ways, Bergson praised laughter as a pert challenge flung at philosophic speculation, and Bataille envisaged a mode of communication and of community, beyond language, modelled on the turbulence of laughter and tears. Freud also showed how humor and jokes have an intimate relation with the unconscious in that they give expression to forbidden and repressed thoughts.
What is the role of laughter, comedy, parody, and irony in philosophical writing, style, and argumentation? How have seriousness and lightness contributed toward the traditional images of philosophy and of art, respectively? What is the relation between humor and the unconscious? What is the relation between irony and truth? Can laughter shake the foundations of the antithesis between ‘good and evil’, between the ‘true’ and the ‘apparent’ worlds? Is there something diabolical about laughter? Is laughter, rather than rationality, the distinguishing feature of the human being? Is laughter able to challenge oppressive regimes, or conversely, does it enforce social conformity and exclusivity?
The aim of this conference is to address some of these questions. Topics of the conference include but are not limited to the following:
- The role of laughter, humor, comedy, parody, satire or irony in philosophy
- Laughter and African Philosophy
- Laughter and moral philosophy
- Laughter and the political
- Laughter and aesthetics
- Laughter and the unconscious
- Laughter and being human
- Laughter, religion and theology
Please send a 500-word abstract for blind review to firstname.lastname@example.org. The full paper should be no more than 3500-4000 words for a 35-40 min. presentation. Proposals for panel discussion are also welcome.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 15th of March 2019. Notification of acceptance will be sent by the 31st of March 2019.
The fee for the full two-day conference (including teas and lunches) for participants is R850 (including VAT). It is free of charge for all participating graduate and PhD students. A limited number of bursaries will be available for travel and accommodation.
Contact Crawfords Beach Lodge: email@example.com. Also, consult Crawford’s for provision of transport from the airport to the conference venue.
For more information about the conference, please visit the website of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa: https://saphenomenology.wordpress.com. Alternatively, please contact Matthias Pauwels (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Abraham Olivier (email@example.com).
08:45 – 9:15: Tea/Coffee/Welcoming
09:15 – 10:00: What does trauma tell us about personal identity?
Jaqui Poltera (Wits School of Governance)
Simon Beck (University of Western Cape)
Respondent: Christine Hobden (University of Fort Hare)
10:00 – 10:30: Rape: A lived experience
Lindsay Kelland (Rhodes University)
Respondent: Rianna Oelofsen (University of Fort Hare)
10:30 – 11:00: Tea/Coffee break
11:00 – 11:30: Fixating on trauma
Pedro Tabensky (Rhodes University)
Respondent: Andrea Hurst (Nelson Mandela University)
11:30 – 12:05: The trauma of suffering: A consideration of African and Western thought
Abraham Olivier (University of Fort Hare)
Respondent: Siseko Kumalo (University of Pretoria)
12:05-12:35: The trauma of being human and philosophy as a cry for healing
M. John Lamola (University of Fort Hare)
Respondent: Mbongisi Dyantyi (Nelson Mandela University),
Lindsay Kelland (Rhodes University)
12h35 – 14h00: Lunch
14h00-14:30: The traumatic encounter: towards a politics of singularity of beyond identity politics
Rafael Winkler (University of Johannesburg)
Respondent: Sampie Terreblanche (University of Fort Hare)
14h30 – 15h10: The use and abuse of poverty and trauma? The concept of relative ‘poverty,’ and “trauma” in popular discourse.
Sharli Paphitis (Rhodes University)
Respondent: Joana Bezerra (Rhodes)
Mpho Tshivhase (University of Pretoria)
15:10 – 15:30: Tea/Coffee break
15:30–16:00: To learn healing knowledge: psychedelic studies and trauma, transformation, and philosophy.
David Pittaway (Nelson Mandela University)
Respondent: Gary Koekemoer (Nelson Mandela University)
16:00-16:10: Discussion of topic for next year
16:10: Free Time for Wild Coast adventures
18h00: Symposium dinner at Crawfords Beach Lodge
Every speaker will have 15 minutes, every respondent 5 minutes, and 10 minutes are left for discussion.
5th Annual International Conference of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa
Sexuality, Capitalism, and Africa
26-27 July 2018
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Organized by David Mitchell, Matthias Pauwels, John Lamola,
Rafael Winkler, and Abraham Olivier
Friedrich Engels was one of the first authors to relate the critique of capitalism to a sexual politics when he showed, in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, that the Western model of the nuclear family performs a central ideological function in the reproduction of capital and class and gender inequality.
Owing to the emergence of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, the critique of capitalism by such authors as Gilles Deleuze, Félix Gauttari, and Jean-François Lyotard, to name just these, became embedded in a politics of desire. This is a politics based on the recognition that the social field, including the political institutions of liberalism and the circulation of commodities on the market, is invested with libidinal forces and intensities. From its perspective, the family is not merely a unit of consumption in civil society or the space in which consent to patriarchal norms is manufactured. It is the space where the explosive force of desire is domesticated by means of the Oedipal complex and where a subject, defined by lack, guilt, and the fear of punishment, is produced.
How does capitalist production exploit the forces of desire and the intensities of emotion? To what extent are such forces and intensities destabilizing and disruptive of social identities and of the identity of the system? What kind of fantasies does capitalism produce as substitute means of gratification? What mechanisms, codes, or values does it use to bind and unbind the flow of desire? How are sexual pleasure and the orgasm put in the service of capitalism?
These questions are of particular relevance in a postcolonial context, especially in African countries with emerging economies, in which capitalism, sexism and racism are receiving increasing critical attention.
The aim of this conference is to address some of these questions with a particular focus on developments on the African continent, especially South Africa.
Topics of the conference include, but are not limited to:
- The fetishism of commodity production;
- Sexual politics, feminism, identity politics;
- The social construction of sex, gender, class, and race;
- The production of post/capitalist subjectivities;
- Psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, and Critical Theory;
- Nietzsche, Freud, Marx;
- Western and African socialism;
- Capitalism and desire in postcolonies and emerging economies
Please send a 700 word abstract for blind review to firstname.lastname@example.org. The full paper should be no more than 3500-4000 words for a 35-40 min. presentation. Proposals for panel discussion are also welcome.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 1st of May 2018. Notification of acceptance will be sent early May 2018.
The fee for the full two-day conference (including tea and lunches) for participants is R1500 (including VAT). It is R750 for the full two-day conference for all participating graduate and PhD students.
A limited number of bursaries will be available for travel and accommodation.
The organizers recommend that conference participants stay in the Melville area in Johannesburg, which is within walking distance from UJ Auckland Park Campus. The current rate for B&Bs in the Melville area is R400 per person per night.
For more information about the conference, please visit the website of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa: https://saphenomenology.wordpress.com. Alternatively, please contact David Mitchell (email@example.com), Matthias Pauwels (firstname.lastname@example.org), Rafael Winkler (email@example.com), or Abraham Olivier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1st CFP: Justice and the Other
24-26 March 2017
Chintsa, South Africa
Main organisers: Abraham Olivier and Rafael Winkler
Keynotes: Prof Lucius Outlaw (Vanderbilt University), Prof Magobe Ramose (UNISA), Prof Louise du Toit (University of Stellenbosch)
The contemporary discourse of post-colonialism, which addresses such issues as imperialism, migration, xenophobia, assimilation, hybridity, alterity, subaltern peoples or the status of the refugee, calls for a thinking of the various modalities of exclusion or othering, whether on the basis of gender, race, nationality, culture, religion or species, and also for a way of thinking of the relation with the other that is beyond the law – a relation of justice perhaps, which is bent on redressing the effects of these various modes of exclusion. Who or what is ‘the other’? Does ‘the other’ refer to the inner strangeness of the self that haunts it and that it repudiates by projecting it onto others? Or does it refer to the strangeness of the other, his or her radical alterity? What are the ways in which the other is othered? Is othering always to commit an injustice? How can justice be a concern for the otherness of the other?
Some of these questions, including the question concerning our various relations with the other – legal, ethical, historical or psychological – have been at the forefront of past and current studies in philosophy and in other disciplines such as psychology, cultural studies, and history. In particular, some of them have received special attention in the works of Husserl, Stein, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nancy and Fanon.
This aim of this three-day international conference is to explore the many sides and facets of the question of the other, othering and justice in philosophy and related disciplines.
Topics include but are not restricted to:
Othering and exclusion, ethics and justice;
Migration, xenophobia, Afriphobia, Islamophobia, Orientalism, racism, colonialism, sexism, genderism, human trafficking, speciesism, assimilation, appropriation, hybridity, alterity, subaltern peoples, the status of the refugee;
Otherness and the mind-body problem, the problem of other minds;
The self and the other: subjectivity, sympathy, empathy, shame, mourning, friendship;
Justice and the othering of nature;
Methodological otherness: phenomenology and other schools of thought in philosophy; African Philosophy and the limits of Western Philosophy;
Otherness in Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Fichte, Leibniz, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Husserl, Stein, Heidegger, Jaspers, Scheler, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Buber, Ricoeur, Levinas, Lévi-Strauss, Althusser, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, Taylor, Irigaray, Nancy, Rorty, Gramsci, Kristeva, Fanon, Biko, Wiredu, Appiah, Hountondji, Said, Spivak, Singer, Regan;
The problem of other minds in Descartes, Locke, Mill, Wittgenstein, Ryle, Ayer, Kripke, Nagel, Malcolm, Jackson, McGinn, McDowell, Rorty;
Please provide a 500 word abstract for blind review and send it to email@example.com. The full paper should be no more than 3.500-4.000 words (the conference format allows for a 35-40 min. presentation followed by a 10-15 min. discussion).
The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 31st of January 2017. Notification of acceptance will be sent latest by the 20th of February 2017.
Abraham Olivier, Rafael Winkler, Filip Maj, Catherine Botha, Rianna Oelofsen, John Lamola, Sampie Terreblanche
3rd installment of The Steve Biko Lectures in Philosophy
Chantal Mouffe (University of Westminster)
Politics and Passions: the Stakes of Democracy
Tuesday 8th of March, 2016, 13:00-16:00
Madibeng Building, University of Johannesburg
Shireen Hassim (The University of The Witwatersrand)
Peter Hudson (The University of The Witwatersrand)
The Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa, the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at The University of the Witwatersrand, the French Institute of South Africa and the Steve Biko Foundation are delighted to announce that the 3rd installment of The Steve Biko Lectures in Philosophy will be delivered by Chantal Mouffe on Tuesday the 8th of March, 2016.
All welcome. Attendance is free.
2nd installment of the Steve Biko Lectures in Philosophy
Robert Bernasconi (Penn State University)
‘Some philosophical reflection on why the global fight against racism has failed’
Tuesday 16th of February, 2016, 13:00-16:00
Madibeng Building, University of Johannesburg
Abraham Olivier (University of Fort Hare)
Zinhle Mncube (University of Johannesburg)
The Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa, the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at The University of the Witwatersrand, the French Institute of South Africa and the Steve Biko Foundation are delighted to announce that the 2nd installment of The Steve Biko Lectures in Philosophy will be delivered by Robert Bernasconi on Tuesday the 16th February, 2016.
All welcome. Attendance is free.
3rd Annual Conference of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa
CFP: Identity and Difference
27-29 March 2015, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Organized by Rafael Winkler, Abraham Olivier, Rianna Oelofsen
Identity and difference raise a host of philosophical questions ranging from metaphysical problems concerning the nature of multiplicity, alterity, personal identity and subjectivity to ethical and political issues such as inclusiveness, diversity, solidarity and resistance. Since the second half of the 20th century these notions have enjoyed special attention as the vast literature on the metaphysics, ethics and politics of identity and difference testifies. This includes a wide array of works by continental philosophers (Deleuze, Lyotard, Heidegger, Levinas), analytical philosophers of mind (Parfit, Shoemaker, Dennett, Searle) as well as moral and political philosophers (Taylor, Rawls). The significance of place and time for the constitution of personal and political identities and differences has also been receiving considerable attention recently, opening up philosophical debates in literature, art, architecture, anthropology and geography. This conference aims to offer an open forum for reflection on the rich discussion on identity and difference and invites contributions from all traditions of philosophy and other related disciplines, and is not limited to the reception of this theme in the phenomenological tradition.
The topics of the conference include, but are not limited to, the following: Identity and difference in metaphysics/phenomenology/philosophy of mind/ political philosophy/ethics
- The meaning or experience of identity and difference
- Selfhood, personhood, autonomy, alterity
- The nature of and relationship between subjectivity and political collectivity
- The relations between personal identity, time, memory, space and place
- The formation of cultural identities and global change
- Identity politics and the politics of difference
- Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida, Levinas, Wittgenstein, Parfit, Dennett, Searle, Shoemaker, Taylor, Rawls, Fanon, Appiah on the notions of identity and difference
Submission: Please provide a 700 word abstract for blind review and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The full paper should be no more than 3.500-4.000 words (the conference format allows for a 35-40 min. presentation followed by a 10-15 min. discussion). The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 31st of January 2015. Notification of acceptance will be sent latest by the 21st of February 2015. Conference fees: The fee for the full three-day conference (including teas and lunches) for participants is R1026 (including VAT) (R342 per day for persons wishing to attend only one or two days). It is free of charge for all participating graduate and PhD students.
Bursaries: A limited number of bursaries will be available for travel and accommodation.
Accommodation: The organisers recommend that conference participants stay at Plumpudding Guesthouse (http://www.plumpudding.co.za/) or The View (http://www.theviewhotel.co.za/), which are within walking distance from the UJ Auckland Park Campus. The current rate at Plumpudding Guesthouse is R650 per night inclusive of breakfast.
For more information about the conference, visit the website of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa: https://saphenomenology.wordpress.com/. Alternatively, please contact Rafael Winkler (email@example.com), Abraham Olivier (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Marianna Oelofsen (email@example.com).