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07.06.2019 10:11 Alter: 192 days


Call for Papers

Theme: Walls
Subtitle: Thinking Through Insularity
Type: 12th East/West Philosopher's Conference
Institution: East-West Center (EWC)
  Department of Philosophy, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Location: Honolulu, HI (USA)
Date: 22.–29.5.2020
Deadline: 1.11.2019

The 12th East/West Philosopher’s Conference will be dedicated to the
topic of walls. While walls can be physical, they can also be
psychological, social, political, economic, and ontological.
Understood metaphorically, walls are any real or virtual barrier to
the uninhibited flow of people, products, affects, and ideas.

In his poem, “Mending Walls,” the American poet Robert Frost famously
opined: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that wants it
down.” And yet it might be said that we are living at a time in which
many people are coming to believe that “good fences make good
neighbors.” Ours is apparently an era in which differences of
histories, cultures and identities are engaged as sources of insight,
but also one of populist retrenchment — a period in which cultures,
peoples, and nations have begun turning inward, shunning many of the
promises that globalization made regarding the prospects of economic,
political, and cultural exchange and interdependence. In recent
years, we have witnessed the crumbling of international alliances,
the emergence of trade wars, a reinvestment in notions of national
sovereignty, an increasing number of disputes over borders, and many
expressions of populist discontent regarding migration and changing

Wall building for the purposes of protection and identity
reinforcement are not new. The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall,
and in modern times, the Berlin Wall, are all ideological-cultural
artifacts intended to separate and consolidate. Yet, after decades of
rhetoric about interdependence-generating globalization, what are the
sources of current and often fervent desires to distinguish radically
between what is “ours” and what is “theirs”? What are their root
causes and their likely outcomes if put into action? Are there
prospects for reversal and transformation? And most importantly, how
should we understand, relate, and respond philosophically to this new
“age of insularity?”

We invite participants to reflect upon the significance of
constructing, deconstructing, scaling, circumventing, penetrating and
“tagging” walls. What does it mean to put up and take down walls —
whether within the context of interpersonal relationships, among
groups within national borders, or among members of the international
human community? Which walls are the most pressing sites of struggle?
How do the world’s various philosophical traditions dispose us to
think about the notion of the wall? How should philosophy understand
the processes, practices, and ideologies of insularity? And, what
prospects do conversations among various world philosophies open for
thinking through these walls?

Of special interest are panels and papers that explore the
constructed nature of the “walls” between nations and cultures, but
also between the private and public spheres, between ethics and
economics, between the human and the natural sciences, between
disciplines, between classes, genders and generations, and between
the academy and societies it serves.

Keynote Presenters

Jonardon Ganeri, New York University, Abu Dhabi
“Bridges and Doors: The Importance of the Interjacent Intellectual

Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
“What Kinds of Boundaries Sustain Democracy and the Earth?
Thinking in the Inter-regnum Between the National and the Global”

Paper and Panel Submissions

We invite proposals for individual papers and panels. Please submit a
250-300 word abstract to the Conference organizers via:

Submission Timeline: November 1, 2019

Notifications of acceptance for abstracts and panel proposals
received by the November 1 will be sent out by December 15, 2019. We
have established an early submission timeline to facilitate faculty
applying to their own institutions for travel funding.

Abstracts received after November 1, 2019 will be vetted as received,
taking into consideration the late submission. The absolute deadline
for abstract submissions is March 15, 2020. After this, we will not
be able to accommodate additional proposals.

Final Papers Due: April 15, 2020

Conference Registration and Logistics

Hosted in keeping with the Hawaiian Islands’ spirit of aloha, there
is no registration fee for the Conference. Breakfast and lunch will
be provided for all registered presenters, as well as an opening
reception and final dinner. The Conference does not provide lodging
or travel support, but economical lodgings of various kinds are
readily available in Honolulu.

Conference website: