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Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy Conference 2017

The 2017 annual conference of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) will take place at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay Campus, 29 November - 1 December, with a dedicated day for postgraduate development and the opening reception on 28 November.

The ASCP provides a broad intellectual forum for scholars working within, or in communication with, European philosophical traditions. Its annual conference is the largest event devoted to continental philosophy in Australasia. For the 2017 conference, we seek to challenge commonplace understandings of the boundaries of scholarship in continental philosophy, with a particular focus on the role of feminist, postcolonial and ecological thought in transforming the key questions that drive philosophical inquiry.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Lewis Gordon (University of Connecticut),
  • Sigi Jöttkandt (University of New South Wales),
  • Marguerite La Caze (University of Queensland), and
  • Elaine Miller (Miami University)

There will be a plenary panel on the work of Moira Gatens (University of Sydney).

Conference convenors: Hannah Stark and Timothy Laurie

Conference organising committee: Louise Richardson-Self, Briohny Walker, Erin Hortle, Larelle Bossi, Jeff Malpas and Pat McConville.

University of Tasmania
Sandy Bay campus


29 November - 1 December 2017

Postgraduate and ECR Development Day
28 November

Abstract Submission
15 September

ASCP 2017 Conference

Banner Image Credit: Anna Carlson


For Judith Butler, ‘precarity’ designates that ‘politically induced condition in which certain populations suffer from failing social and economic networks of support and become differentially exposed to injury, violence, and death.’ Alongside the socio-economic category of the Precariat (popularised by Guy Standing), precarity has come to designate a common thread of vulnerability, insecurity, and risk that links things like neoliberal industrial relations to the global refugee crisis and escalating environmental devastation. Correspondingly, theories of resilience, endurance and community have been deployed both descriptively and prescriptively to characterise novel political responses to global precarity. This stream seeks to foster philosophical engagement with precarity, the precariat and resilience, focusing on topics that include:

  • The Anthropocene, human and nonhuman assemblages, and critical approaches to sustainability discourses
  • Embodied precarity, including questions of gender, sexuality, race and whiteness, religion and disability
  • Socio-economic and political precarity, including issues around States, sovereignty, borders and immigration, refugees and stateless persons, and contemporary approaches to contractarianism
  • Cultural precarity, cultural survival, Indigenous knowledges, and cultural rights
  • Precarity in the study of ethics and morality
  • Discourses on resilience, endurance and community, including active and passive resistance, coalitions and solidarities

Does art need philosophy, and does philosophy need a concept of art? From Immanuel Kant to Theodor Adorno to Jacques Rancière, philosophical aesthetics has remained an important touchstone for many contemporary artists, and the languages of continental philosophy permeates artist statements. This stream seeks to explore the relationship between aesthetics, as a science of sensation concerned with the vicissitudes and limits of corporeality, and the specific meanings attached to artists, works of art, and the art field. To this end, the stream invites submissions relating to:

  • The history of philosophical aesthetics
  • The status of art objects in the study of aesthetics
  • Aesthetics and phenomenology
  • Critical exchanges between artists and philosophers
  • New Materialisms and Object Oriented Ontologies
  • Aesthetics and politics
  • Feminist philosophy and aesthetics
  • Art institutions and creative industries
  • Post-colonial and de-colonial approaches to aesthetics
  • Philosophy as an artistic and/or aesthetic practice
  • Anti-aesthetics

The themes of rights and inequality remain important foci within continental philosophy, but often as the objects of critique and refutation, from Marxist and post-colonial critiques of the nation State, to the questioning of monolithic identity categories from queer theorists and critical race scholars, to the rise of the Anthropocene as a theoretical touchstone that interrogates the human as a locus of political agency. In this context, to what extent do the notions of rights and equality remain important for continental philosophy, and what alternative political frames are available? To what extent do concepts like oppression, exploitation, subjugation and racialisation provide pathways beyond or outside the purview of liberalism? What conceptual and/or material revolutions are required to strive for better worlds, and what might those worlds be like? This stream invites papers relating to:

  • Rights, oppression, and Othering
  • Racialisation and/or the biopolitics of difference
  • Animal and environmental ethics
  • Revolution(s) and social movements
  • Politics and Law with/in continental philosophy
  • Phenomenology/ies of oppression
  • Oppositions to rights discourse

The ‘philosophical topography’ that lies at the centre of thinking not only involves taking place, topos, as a key concept, but also entails a transformed concept of philosophy itself.  As human being is ‘topographical’, so too is philosophy – thinking, no less than being, is always ‘placed’. This stream invites considerations of space and place, and the ecologies and environmental cultures that emerge out of engaging with locatedness. It is particularly attentive to the way in which environmental change affects how we engage with space, place and ecology. This stream invites papers that consider:

  • Topographies of being
  • Emplaced networks and ecologies
  • The relation between place, boundary and surface
  • Landscapes
  • Architectures
  • Space, place, belonging and displacement
  • Ecological feminism
  • Indigenous engagements with place and ecology

In Dialogues, Deleuze and Parnet write: “Capture is always a double-capture, theft a double-theft, and it is that which creates not something mutual, but an asymmetrical block, an a-parallel evolution, nuptials, always ‘outside’ and ‘between’. So this is what it would be, a conversation.” (7). This stream considers dialogue as central to the practice of philosophy and its possibility as a site of openness, engagement and response. Papers are invited that consider the place of continental philosophy in:

  • Interdisciplinary dialogues
  • Dialogues with and between particular philosophers
  • Dialogues between philosophical schools
  • The frustrations of dialogue
  • Dialogues between the continental and analytic traditions
  • Dialogues that span vast tracts of time and/or space
  • The capacity for dialogue to lead to new knowledges, practices and actions

This stream focuses on G.W.F Hegel, but welcomes contributions also on other thinkers in German Idealism, such as Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Friedrich Schelling. We also welcome papers that explore the reception of and critical engagement with Hegel's thought by other thinkers and traditions, such as Marxism, phenomenology, critical theory, feminist theory, and others. Those submitting to this stream are also invited to connect Hegel's thought to the core themes of the conference: environmental philosophy, feminism and postcolonial thought.

For queries, please contact Simon Lumsden and Heikki Ikaheimo from the Australian Hegel Society.

Keynote Speakers

As well as the presentations below, there are two Plenary Panel discussions scheduled:

Elaine Miller

Professor Elaine Miller

Elaine Miller is Professor of Philosophy at Miami University where she specialises in nineteenth and twentieth century Continental philosophy, and in aesthetics and feminist theory.

Her research focuses on the nexus of philosophical conceptions of nature, art, and subjectivity, particularly in Kant, German Idealism, Nietzsche, and French Feminism.

Her books include The Vegetative Soul: From Philosophy of Nature to Subjectivity in the Feminine (SUNY, 2002), Head Cases: Julia Kristeva on Philosophy and Art in Depressed Times (Columbia UP, 2014), and as editor Returning to Irigaray: Feminist Philosophy, Politics and the Question of Unity (SUNY 2006).

Reflective Judgment, Sensus Communis, and Human Relations to the Natural World

Both German Idealist and German Romantic philosophers were inspired by the Kantian reflective judgment introduced in the Critique of Judgment, but they took what they interpreted as its significance in very different directions. In The Vegetative Soul, I argued for a division between idealism and romanticism as that between an "animal" and a "plant" interpretation of the Kantian reflective judgment in terms of humans' relationship to nature. I revisit German Idealism and German Romanticism, not in order to consolidate the (European, masculine) authority they have so long held in the field of continental philosophy, but in order to focus on the theme of non-human nature in its absolute otherness to the subject. This alterity, I will argue, is overcome in German Idealism, but preserved in German Romanticism, one that may seem to be overcome in certain human encounters with the natural world and in certain aesthetic experiences, but never definitively. As Andrew Cutrofello and others have argued, Kant's conception of reflective judgment inspired continental philosophy's ability to make the singular the object of philosophical reflection; rather than subsuming a particular under a pre-given universal, reflective judgment calls attention to our inability to subsume a singular form under any concept that we already possess.

The bulk of my paper will consider Kant's concept of reflective judgment, arguing that it can be understood as the threshold between body and language, one that connects pure self-reflection to the external world, both in its material and symbolic form, especially in the sense of its modality, involving Kant's sensus communis. I will briefly discuss how Hegel used the concept of reflective judgment to argue for a continuity between substance and subject, and then contrast to this the position of the German Romantics on reflection, taken up in turn by Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. I will comment a bit on the burgeoning field of plant ethics, which I sometimes find troubling in its assumption of a smooth parallelism between all forms of life. In conclusion I will argue that the unbridgeable gap between the reflective subject and the in-itself found in Kant and preserved in the German Romantic philosophy of nature holds out the best hope for a non-instrumental approach to nature.

For more information about this presentation, see the event page Reflective Judgment, Sensus Communis, and Human Relations to the Natural World

Maguerite La Caze

Associate Professor Marguerite La Caze

Marguerite La Caze is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Queensland. She has research interests and numerous publications in European and feminist philosophy especially concerning questions of ethics, politics, and aesthetics, including philosophy and film.

Her publications include Wonder and Generosity: Their Role in Ethics and Politics (SUNY, 2013), The Analytic Imaginary (Cornell, 2002), Integrity and the Fragile Self, with Damian Cox and Michael Levine (Ashgate, 2003) and articles in Contemporary Political Theory, Culture, Theory and Critique, Derrida Today, Hypatia, Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Parrhesia, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Philosophy Compass, Philosophy Today, Political Theory, Simone de Beauvoir Studies, Symposium and other journals, and book collections, including on the work of Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Luce Irigaray, Immanuel Kant, Michèle Le Dœuff, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Iris Marion Young.

She held an ARC Australian Research Fellowship (2003-2007) and currently holds an ARC Discovery grant ‘Ethical restoration after communal violence: a philosophical account.

Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation

What kind of a role can emotions such as wonder and admiration play in times of crisis?

This lecture compares wonder and admiration. I understand wonder in seventeenth century philosopher René Descartes’ sense as a response to something unfamiliar. In admiration, by contrast, we must regard the objects of our judgement as possessing valuable traits. In ordinary times, it may be immoral acts that stand out as unfamiliar and so provoke wonder. However, in times of crisis, as Hannah Arendt argued, it is the moral that will be extraordinary. In these circumstances, admiration is a response that can enable us to regard extraordinary acts as valuable moral exemplars and emulate them. The lecture will examine our motivation to emulate people we admire, discussed in a recent book by Linda Zagzebski, and show how we can admire a person such as Nelson Mandela without necessarily being motivated to emulate them. Conversely, we can have ambivalent feelings mixed with our admiration and still be moved to emulate others. The complexity of the relation between these three emotions and attitudes—wonder, admiration, and emulation—means that while they can contribute to resistance to immorality in times of crisis, they are not entirely trustworthy.

For more information about this presentation, to be given in Launceston and Hobart as the 2017 James Martineau Memorial Lecture, see the event pages:
Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation | Launceston
Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation | Hobart

Sigi Jöttkandt

Dr Sigi Jöttkandt

Sigi Jöttkandt works at the intersection of literature, psychoanalysis and continental philosophy. She is author of Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic, First Love: A Phenomenology of the One, and Nabokov to the Letter (forthcoming).

Currently a Senior Lecturer in English at UNSW, she is also co-founding Director of Open Humanities Press, an open access publishing collective whose mission is to make leading works of contemporary critical thought freely available worldwide.

"With a lever...": Beckett, Badiou and the Logics of Sexual Difference

In this talk I address an apparent shift in Alain Badiou's thinking on sex and universality. Badiou is well known for claiming that sex, like other predicative descriptions of identity such as nation, race and class, is merely a particularity that must be subtracted from the universal in order to meet his criteria for ethics. However, more recently, Badiou has said that the sexuation of philosophical and symbolic thought is "inevitable". Using Samuel Beckett as my guide, I work through the implications of this claim to ask whether Badiou's philosophy allows for the possibility of a real change in his thought?

For more information about this presentation, see the event page "With a lever...": Beckett, Badiou and the Logics of Sexual Difference

Lewis Gordon

Professor Lewis R. Gordon

Lewis R. Gordon is Professor of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs in the USA; European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France; Core Professor at the Global Center for Advanced Studies; and Honorary Professor at the Unit of the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa, where he was previously Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Professor of Politics and International Studies at Rhodes.

A graduate of Yale University and the Lehman Scholars Program of the City University of New York, his publications include Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism (Humanity Books 1995, 1999), Fanon and the Crisis of European Man (Routledge, 1995), Her Majesty’s Other Children (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), which won the Gustavus Meyer Award for Human Rights in North America, Existentia Africana (Routledge, 2000), Disciplinary Decadence (Routledge, 2006), An Introduction to Africana Philosophy (Cambridge UP, 2008), and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age (Routledge, 2009).

His most recent books are What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought (Fordham UP; Wits UP; Hurst, 2015; Swedish translation, Vad Fanon Sa, TankeKraft förlag 2016), La sud prin nord-vest: Reflecţii existenţiale afrodiasporice (Cluj, Romania: IDEA Design & Print, 2016) and, with Fernanda Frizzo Bragato, the forthcoming anthology Geopolitics and Decolonization: Perspectives from the Global South (London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield International). His work is the subject of articles, essays, dissertations, anthologies, and monographs across the globe. Gordon is also the drummer for the band ThreeGenerations. Lewis on Twitter.

Fanonian Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis as Emancipatory Practices

I will talk about Fanon's understanding of phenomenology, psychiatry, psychology, and psychopathology in colonial and racist contexts and its challenges and revolutionary potential. I will then contextualize his position, in a portrait from “the black” (of all kinds) to “the Black,” through a critique of Euromodernity as the meaning of “modernity” and the advancement of three basic themes from my own existential phenomenological and dialectical work in Africana, decolonial, and liberation philosophy: (1) What does it mean to be human? (2) What are the meaning, implications, and possibilities of freedom? And (3) What happens to practices of justification in a world in which even justificatory practices have been compromised? Put differently: the necessity of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of freedom and liberation, and the metacritique of reason. The conclusion will touch on, among other things, implications for moral and political thought.

For more information about this presentation, see the event page Fanonian Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis as Emancipatory Practices

Abstract Submission

Submissions are closed.


Please note that registration is due by 1 November 2017.

Conference Registration

Visiting Hobart

Tasmania is in the midst of a tourist boom so it’s worth booking your accommodation well in advance. There are plenty of hotels, hostels and Airbnbs dotted around the city. Here’s a couple of recommendations to get you started:



Image: Alabama Hotel

Alabama Hotel

The University of Tasmania Sandy Bay campus is a brisk, half hour walk from the waterfront and CBD.

If you’re not up for the stroll, buses run frequently. See Metro Tasmania for details in regards to tickets and timetables.

Otherwise, you can grab a taxi or Uber.

In recent decades, foodies have taken over Hobart. The city is brimming with cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and micro-breweries. A few recommendations:


Sandy Bay
  • Sash – excellent coffee, strategically located on the way from CBD/ Salamanca/Battery Point to UTAS for those walking from accommodation to the conference.
  • The Machine – Laundromat-cum-café, a Hobart institution, good coffee, even better brekkies, you won’t leave hungry.
  • Villino – perhaps the best coffee in Hobart, although Yellow Bernard might have something to say about that…
  • Yellow Bernard – truly excellent coffee, but don’t expect to drink in.
West Hobart
  • Pigeon Hole – cosy brunch café, good coffee, delicious pastries, also check out their bakery on Argyle St.

Image: The Glass House, Hobart waterfront

Bars and pubs

Sandy Bay
  • The World’s End – laid-back atmosphere, great beer selection, good Happy Hour prices, BYO food.
  • Preachers – heritage listed Battery Point cottage converted bar; a bus parked in the yard-cum-beer garden; great selection of beers on tap; good bar food.
  • Grape – trendy wine bar.
  • The Glass House – slick wine and cocktail bar suspended over Sullivan’s Cove; not cheap but you pay for your drink as well as the atmosphere and spectacular view (and it’s worth it).
  • Hobart Brewing Co. – microbrewery with rustic taproom, food vans on a Friday night.
  • New Sydney – Irish pub, their slogan is “the best little pub in town” and it’s actually kind of true, excellent atmosphere, excellent food.
North Hobart
  • The Winston – grungy pub, local and international boutique beers and American style pub food.
  • Room for a Pony – servo turned hip café/bar: coffee and brunch in mornings, booze in arvo and evenings.


Sandy Bay
  • Burger Got Soul – name says it all.
  • Frank – South American influenced waterfront dining and bar; shared plates, good vegetarian options.
  • Aloft – top-end restaurant showcasing Tassie produce.
  • Flippers Fish Punt – floating on Constitution Dock, come here for your fish and chips.
  • Templo – ranked by Gourmet Traveller as one of the best eats in the country, Templo has an Italian-inspired ever-changing menu; with only 20 seats, bookings a must.
  • Local Pizza – If you’re coming back from Mona via car and haven’t gorged yourself on one of the charcuterie plates at Mona’s wine bar (which we highly recommend doing) Local Pizza is a must. Best pizza in the Hobart region, if not Australia.

The Glass House, Hobart waterfront

Check out MONA (weather permitting, we strongly recommend either taking the ferry, or riding a bike).

Go for a walk: Tasmania’s bushwalking is world class, and there are plenty of day walks within driving distance of Hobart. Worth checking out are: the Tarn Shelf (Mt Field National Part), Hartz Peak (Hartz Mountains National Park) and Cape Hauy (on the Tasman Peninsula), and the walking tracks on Kunanyi/Mount Wellington.

Eco-tourism: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys offers world-class eco-cruises along Tasmania’s rugged coastlines, showcasing some of the tallest sea-cliffs in the southern hemisphere and wildlife such as seals, pelagic seabirds and chance encounters with dolphins and whales. PWJ have offered conference delegates and their families 15% off all tours (which leave from the Hobart waterfront), so mention “ASCP Conference” when booking.

Image: Bruny Island Cruises

Bruny Island Cruises

Social Events

If you are interested in being a part of this social schedule follow us on Facebook | ASCP 2017 Conference – UTAS as we will post further information about times and places.

If you’d rather do your own thing, check out the ‘Food and Drink’ and the ‘Things to Do’ tabs of the ‘Visiting Hobart’ section above for some recommendations.


The opening reception will be at the School of Creative Arts, Hunter Street, Hobart from 5.30-7pm.

A range of Tasmanian wines and produce will be provided.


Members of the organising committee will be heading to The World’s End (1/236 Sandy Bay Road) for a drink and some food after Marguerite La Caze’s lecture. You should come along!

The World’s End is a laid-back pub with a great atmosphere, excellent beer selection and you can BYO food. There’s plenty of take-aways in the area; so, grab yourself some dinner, get a drink from the bar, and join us for a debrief. And there’s a ping pong table.


The conference dinner will be held on Thursday the 30th of November at Westend Pumphouse (105 Murrary St) from 7pm.

The Westend Pumphouse is a pan-Asian bar and dining room that showcases the best of Tasmanian produce. They are passionate about supporting small-scale local, artisan enterprises. The menu is tailored to the seasons. The conference dinner will include an entrée and a main featuring sustainable Australian native meats and vegan foods. A range of Tasmanian beer, wine, whiskey and gin can be purchased from the bar.


Members of the organising committee will be heading to the Hobart Brewing Co. (16 Evans Street) to celebrate the success of the conference with a few tasty frothies.

The Hobart Brewing Co. is a micro-brewery near the School of Creative Arts (where the postgrad day and opening reception will be held). It’s a pretty atmospheric place to have a drink as their brewery is on view from the taproom. They offer a range of staple house ales, as well as a selection of seasonal brews (the chestnut ale they had on offer last summer was perhaps the tastiest beer ever) and Tasmanian wines.

On Fridays, a range of food vans set up shop in the neighbouring lot. So please, come and join us.

Postgraduate and ECR Development Day

   Tuesday 28 November

   Dechaineux Lecture Theatre,
Hunter Street Campus, Hobart

Registration/Morning Tea


Title: On Subjectivity in Universities: Navigating Institutions and Professional Wellbeing

Panellists: Michelle Boulous Walker, Remy Low

Chair: Timothy Laurie

This session will discuss the production and negotiation of subjectivities in universities, with a particular focus on the mental health impacts of intellectual and pedagogical labour. In a conversational format led by Michelle Boulous Walker (University of Queensland) and Remy Low (University of Sydney), the session will explore the value of collegiality, friendship and mutual care between critical thinkers, and to examine the relationship between interpersonal practices and political transformation within tertiary institutions. There will also be opportunities to consider “publish or perish” cultures and the systemic production of stress, isolation and depression.



Title: After the PhD: Paths into Teaching, Research, and Academic Futures

Panellists: Hannah Stark, Timothy Laurie, Dirk Baltzly, James Chase

The academic job market is changing: jobs are becoming harder to find, and that application processes are becoming more competitive. At the same time, universities are constantly seeking opportunities to invent new courses, programs and scholarly identities, so that new jobs may look radically unlike the ones they’re intended to replace. In this context, this workshop is designed for postgraduates and Early Career Researchers who are currently or soon to be navigating the academic job market. This workshop will focus on: writing academic CVs, cover letters, and responses to selection criteria; understanding job advertisements and position descriptions; making career decisions as an Early Career Researcher; and navigating casualization in the academic job market.

Afternoon tea


Title: Building Intellectual Communities Beyond the Academy

Panellists: Laura Roberts, Elese Dowden, Bryan Mukandi, Anna Carlson

Chair: Briohny Walker

Although universities perform key functions in disseminating and gatekeeping intellectual labour, the social impacts of academic work happen in the spaces between universities and other worlds of critical thinking and practice. Taking as its focus philosophy in Australia, this roundtable reflects on contemporary efforts to expand critical thinking beyond university departments, especially in contexts where politically-oriented intellectual work is not consistently rewarded in tertiary settings. Guest speakers will relate their own experiences of running events, workshops and conferences that provide alternative ways of moving through intellectual spaces, and that cut across various institutional and disciplinary hierarchies. This will include a discussion involving representatives from organisations such as Queensland School of Continental Philosophy, the Brisbane Free University, postgraduate philosophy groups, as well as people using conventional and social media to construct intellectual communities.