Phenomenology and its Worlds

Phenomenology and Its Worlds

Featuring Keynotes by:

Alia Al-Saji (McGill University): “Touching the Wounds of Colonial Duration: Fanon and a Critical Phenomenology of Racialized Affect”

Megan Craig (Stony Brook University): “Patterns of Disregard: Lugones, James, and the Limits of World-Travelling”

March 19-20, 2021

Villanova University

Virtual Conference

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Image by Danielle Kutner

Megan Craig: “Patterns of Disregard: Lugones, James, and the Limits of World-Travelling”

Alia Al-Saji: “Touching the Wounds of Colonial Duration: Fanon and a Critical Phenomenology of Racialized Affect”

Conference Description

Phenomenology takes “the world” as one of its central themes. It is variously conceived as the intersubjective horizon of all experience, as the environment which surrounds and envelopes consciousness, and as the flesh into which bodies are interwoven. Yet, these conceptions are consistently interrogated by authors who call attention to how the world is materially constituted. They show that the world is inhabited differently – or is sometimes uninhabitable – by certain bodies, in certain places, and certain times. Sara Ahmed, for example, poses the world as a question of orientation: how do we find our way in a world that acquires new shapes depending on which way we turn? Different orientations of embodied consciousness give rise to different and materially specific expressions of world. As a result, phenomenology today cannot avoid interpreting worlds as plural and conceptually dynamic.

Contemporary phenomenological engagements illuminate previously unthought (or unspoken) horizons of experience. Critical phenomenologies affirm the material situation of consciousness and show that worlds are subject to structural conditions of legibility and erasure. Frantz Fanon’s description of blackness as a zone of non-being emerges from the violent friction of an anti-black world that threatens to negate his humanity. Such descriptions sharpen our sensitivity to harms produced by structural forces and motivate strategies of resistance. Applied phenomenologies hold the potential for practical intervention in various disciplines such as art, psychiatry, education, and environmental science. Merleau-Ponty’s theory of embodied perception has been taken up in the fields of neuropsychology, autism studies, and disability studies as a means for giving expression to modes of embodiment unfamiliar to “normal” descriptions of consciousness. Whether considered as a tool for critique or interdisciplinary collaboration, phenomenology turns our attention to the multiplicity of worlds that we inhabit.

Conference Schedule

Friday, March 19, 2021

Welcome (9:00 am)

Panel 1 (9:15-10:15 am): Epistemic Violence and Vigilance

Ken Bruce, Fordham University – “Embodied Ignorance in Epistemic Violence”

Michelle Charette, York University – “Adversity-Borne Hope: Randomized Controlled Trials and Epistemological Vigilance”

Keynote 1 (10:30 am-12 pm): Dr. Alia Al-Saji: “Touching the Wounds of Colonial Duration: Fanon and a Critical Phenomenology of Racialized Affect”

Lunch Break (12-1:30 PM)

Panel 2 (1:30-2:30 pm): Marxist and Decolonial Universalities

Daniel Wagnon, New School for Social Research – “Phenomenological Marxism, Categorial Intuition, and Real-Abstraction”

Carmen De Schryver, Northwestern University – “Hountondji’s Interruption of Husserlian Phenomenology: Toward a Decolonial Universality”

Panel 3 (2:45-3:45 pm): Nature and the Lifeworld

David Haack, New School for Social Research – “Climate Change and the Sedimentation of the Life-World”

Daniel Perlman, DePaul University – “What Lies Naked in the Fossil Bed: Material Engagement Theory and the Phenomenological Idea of Nature”

4:30 pm Optional social gathering


Keynote 1 (Friday, 10:30 am)

Dr. Alia Al-Saji (McGill University)

“Touching the Wounds of Colonial Duration: Fanon and a Critical Phenomenology of Racialized Affect”

Keynote 2 (Saturday, 10:30 am)

Dr. Megan Craig (Stony Brook University)

“Patterns of Disregard: Lugones, James, and the Limits of World-Travelling”

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Panel 4 (9:15-10:15 am): Affective and Worldly Relations

Chaz Holsomback, University of Texas at Dallas – “The Relational Worlds of Personhood, Identity, and Self”

Dr. Abubakr Khan, Information Technology University (Pakistan) – “A Phenomenological Approach to the Sufi Concept of ‘Ishq (Love): With-World, Relationality, Alterity, Belongingness”

Keynote 2 (10:30 am-12 pm): Dr. Megan Craig “Patterns of Disregard: Lugones, James, and the Limits of World-Travelling”

Lunch Break (12-1:30 pm)

Panel 5 (1:30-2:30 pm): Rhythm and Aesthetic Encounter

John Montani, University of Oregon – “Rhythm and Revolt in the Everyday”

Adam Blair, Stony Brook University – “The Attentive Receptivity of Description: Phenomenological Practice as Creative & Critical”

Panel 6 (2:45-4:15 pm): Psychoanalytic & Psychological Articulations of Self and World

Matthew Kelley, Georgia State University – “Through Habit Become Instinct”: Nietzschean Habit and Racism

Paolo Verdini, University of Alberta – “The Mirror as the Function for the Self and the Other: Merleau-Ponty between Phenomenology and Child Development”

4:30 pm Closing remarks

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