Philosophy Against Empire Conference

Starting Date: 11-04-2004
Ending Date: 11-07-2004

Howard University
Washington, District of Columbia 20059
United States
The RPA Conference Program Committee invites submissions of talks, papers, workshops, roundtables discussions, posters and other kinds of conference contributions, for its sixth biennial conference, to be held at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In the spirit of collaboration, and in the recognition that radical philosophy is often done outside traditional philosophical settings, we invite submissions not only from philosophers inside and outside the academy, but also from those who engage in theoretical work in other academic disciplines--such as ethnic studies, women's studies, social sciences and literary studies--and from those engaged in theoretical work unconnected to the academy. Also, undergraduate students should consider organizing their own sessions or workshops. We especially welcome contributions from those often excluded from or marginalized in philosophy, including people of color, gays and lesbians, persons with disabilities, poor and working class persons. We also hope for submissions from other nations with social movements against the present global order, and from graduate students, who represent the future of radical philosophy.

Conference Theme

We live at a time when the imperial designs of the United States have become starkly visible and frighteningly attainable, and it is an empire like none before it.

Economically, the United States consumes far more of the world's resources than any other nation, even as its own sales to foreign markets cannot cover this consumption. Thanks to its hegemonic position in the world market, the United States continues to serve as the main "engine of growth" in the world economy, and the dollar continues to serve as the major reserve currency. Politically and militarily, there have been few periods in world history in which the balance of military power has been so one-sided. The United States claims the moral right to engage in so-called "pre-emptive" wars whenever it wants against whomever it wishes. It either dictates policies to international institutions such as the IMF, UN and the World Bank or ignores them when they do not agree. It walks away with impunity from international agreements it opposes, such as the Kyoto treaty on global warming, or the establishment of an international criminal court. Culturally, corporations from the United States have profoundly affected the way people in other regions of the world eat (McDonald's, KFC), drink (Coke), dress (jeans, Nike), entertain themselves (Hollywood), interpret world events (CNN), and view their own identities. Racially, the United States, like all empires of European descent, has organized the world according to an unfair racial contract that benefits a small minority while impoverishing the vast majority, both globally and within its own borders.

Radical philosophers will not formulate moral justifications for the American Empire, as the hegemonic positions in social and political philosophy do, implicitly if not explicitly. Nor will we console ourselves with the belief that U.S. hegemony is the least bad alternative in the amoral realm of power politics. Radical philosophers are philosophers against empire. You do not have to be a long time dues-paying member of the RPA to be part of this struggle. Nor do you have to be a professor or presently enrolled as a student.

The RPA welcomes papers and presentations that critique the reality of the American Empire. They may look at racism, class exploitation, male dominance, heterosexism, able-ism and other forms of domination. They may examine the ecological impact of the present global order, speaking for the living creatures and future generations who cannot speak. They may be devoted to constructing feasible and normatively attractive alternatives to empire. Or they may discuss the special pedagogical challenges that arise from attempting to teach philosophy in the present historical context. We have much to learn from each other regarding these and many other topics.
Geographical Scope: National

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