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Doing Phenomenology: Back to the Things Themselves! 2008 "The In-Between/Edges"

Deadline: January 07, 2008

A Call for Papers:
Doing Phenomenology: Back to the Things Themselves! 2008
"The In-Between/Edges"

This panel of collaborative phenomenological description will take place as a workshop during the Society for the Study of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture’s (EPTC) annual meeting at the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities in Vancover, British Columbia, June 3-6, 2008. For more information, see the EPTC website.

Back to the Things Themselves! is an attempt to temporarily liberate ourselves from textual exegesis, and return to the lived world to divine the essential structures of experience through rigorous phenomenological description. Husserl’s call to return zu der Sachen selbst has only been intermittently heeded by subsequent generations of phenomenologists, the majority of which have generally focused on contributing to and elaborating on the enormous critical apparatus issuing from the founding texts of the movement. What Back to the Things Themselves! proposes is to build on the important contributions of such scholarship by using them to guide our reflections on phenomena in the lifeworld.


The Theme of Next Year’s Panel: “The In-Between/Edges”

EPTC’s inaugural Back to the Things Themselves! panel in 2007 began to explore the phenomenon of the "in-between." Based on suggestions from last year’s participants, next year we will invite further exploration of the in-between in order to deepen and expand our initial conversation. Yet we will also take this conversation in a new direction: "edges." We invite the submission of descriptions of both or either of these phenomena to Back to the Things Themselves! 2008.

What is neither here nor there, now nor then? What resides or occurs in the in-between, and what is its meaning or purpose? And what is the meaning or purpose of the edges that mark the liminality of both this in-between, and the phenomena on either side of it? What are the rhythms, speeds, contours or densities of the in-between? What affects, sensations or movements do edges evoke? Can the in-between be known, can we dwell there - or do we only ever traverse this phenomenon, pass through or pass over? Do edges draw a clear line in the proverbial sand, or do they rather shift like the waves of sands across a desert? “The in-between” and “edges” are clearly related phenomena, in that they both raise questions about the limits of binary systems of classification and the identity of things as discrete and separate entities. But what is the nature of this relation? How do the phenomena of the in-between and edges support one another, challenge one another, or even form the condition of possibility for one another?

For this workshop we are inviting participants to explore the phenomena of the in-between and edges in relation to one another, or as phenomena in their own right. As examples of doing phenomenology, these explorations will go to the things themselves, as they are experienced in the lifeworld. While the following suggestions are by no means exhaustive or prescriptive, participants might consider grounding their descriptions in the following phenomena:

  • in-betweens of identity (transsexuality, hybridity, diaspora, middle-age, tween-hood) and/or the edges that demarcate difference
  • architectural in-betweens (bridges, passages, tunnels) and/or architectural edges (walls and fences, city limits, urban/suburban/ex-urban transitions)
  • musical in-betweens (intermezzo, the caesura, musical bridges) and/or aesthetic edges (the frame of the work of art, the foreground/background divide, the edges of a certain genre)
  • linguistic and grammatical in-betweens (patois, the stammer, the comma, the conjunction, the copula, ellipsis) and/or edges of language (slang, gibberish, the boundary dividing animal communication and human language)
  • cultural and political in-betweens (the “shoulder” season, commuting, “between jobs,” half-way houses) and/or cultural and political edges (fringe groups and movements, marginality, the poverty line)
  • other territories of transformation and experiences of liminality

Submission Guidelines and Format for Back to the Things Themselves! 2008

Back to the Things Themselves! is explicitly interested in the application of phenomenology’s insights, and in textual exegesis only to the extent that it serves to clarify a point of method or a feature of a given description. Papers should therefore focus squarely on the announced themes of the panel, and arise from phenomenological reflection broadly construed, be it a product of Husserlian or post-Husserlian phenomenology, or any of the more contemporary variants. The panel endeavors to collaboratively generate detailed, extended descriptions of the lived world, which can be expressed in terms of essences or manifold matrices of meaning. The aim is to stay close to the phenomenon itself in order to be faithful to it and describe it vividly to others; the conceptual tools employed to this end are of only secondary interest. Therefore, conceptual explications of method, while in some cases helpful and illuminating, should be brief and limited, and not interrupt the “flow” of a description. Similarly, reference to other theoretical explications of the stated phenomena may serve to contextualize the description that the paper offers, but the explication of such theories should remain peripheral to the description itself.

In the spirit of collaborative phenomenology, paper commentators for Back to the Things Themselves! will view textual interpretations in light of how these interpretations inform a given description. In other words, commentators in this panel will act less as critics of scholarly exegesis and more as collaborators helping to extend, refine and deepen a paper’s description. Criticisms of textual interpretation are welcome so long as they further the aim of collaborative inquiry into the phenomena.

The panel will consist of four to six papers, followed by a 2-3 hour moderated workshop and discussion on the phenomena under analysis, as well as the practice of phenomenological description. The work of the panel will culminate in this concluding workshop, which will take place June 6, the day after the final EPTC sessions.

Papers on the “the in-between” and/or “edges” should be submitted to David Koukal by RTF or Word email attachment at koukaldr@udmercy.edu by January 7, 2008. Papers should take no longer than 30 minutes to read (generally less than 4000 words), should be prepared for anonymous review (identifiable by paper title only), and include a separate abstract not exceeding 100 words. The cover sheet should also list the paper's title, the author's name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address. Please note that papers will be initially reviewed by the panel organizers, and suitable papers will be forwarded to EPTC for anonymous review. A copy of this call for papers can be downloaded here.

The organizers will invite authors of papers from both Back to the Things Themselves! 2007 and 2008 to submit revised papers to be considered for publication in a Special Topics issue of PhaenEx: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture, to be published in Fall/Winter 2008. For further information, please see the PhaenEx Call for Papers.

Please address any questions to the panel organizers: Astrida Neimanis and David Koukal (web)

Erratic Impact is not responsibile for the content or accuracy of any CFP information.

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