3rd Annual Conference of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa – 2nd CFP: Identity and Difference

3rd Annual Conference of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa
2nd CFP: Identity and Difference
27-29 March 2015

University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Organized by Rafael Winkler, Abraham Olivier, Rianna Oelofsen

Miguel de Beistegui (University of Warwick)
Babette Babich (Fordham University)

Identity and difference raise a host of philosophical questions ranging from metaphysical problems concerning the nature of multiplicity, alterity, personal identity and subjectivity to ethical and political issues such as inclusiveness, diversity, solidarity and resistance. Since the second half of the 20th century these notions have enjoyed special attention as the vast literature on the metaphysics, ethics and politics of identity and difference testifies. This includes a wide array of works by continental philosophers (Deleuze, Lyotard, Heidegger, Levinas), analytical philosophers of mind (Parfit, Shoemaker, Dennett, Searle) as well as moral and political philosophers (Taylor, Rawls). The significance of place and time for the constitution of personal and political identities and differences has also been receiving considerable attention recently, opening up philosophical debates in literature, art, architecture, anthropology and geography.

This conference aims to offer an open forum for reflection on the rich discussion on identity and difference and invites contributions from all traditions of philosophy and other related disciplines, and is not limited to the reception of this theme in the phenomenological tradition.

The topics of the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Identity and difference in metaphysics/phenomenology/philosophy of mind/ political philosophy/ethics
  • The meaning or experience of identity and difference
  • Selfhood, personhood, autonomy, alterity
  • The nature of and relationship between subjectivity and political collectivity
  • The relations between personal identity, time, memory, space and place
  • The formation of cultural identities and global change
  • Identity politics and the politics of difference
  • Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida, Levinas, Wittgenstein, Parfit, Dennett, Searle, Shoemaker, Taylor, Rawls, Fanon, Appiah on the notions of identity and difference


Please provide a 700 word abstract for blind review and send it toujphenomenology@gmail.com. The full paper should be no more than 3.500-4.000 words (the conference format allows for a 35-40 min. presentation followed by a 10-15 min. discussion). Proposals for panel discussions are also welcome.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 31st of January 2015. Notification of acceptance will be sent latest by the 21st of February 2015.

Conference fees:

The fee for the full three-day conference (including teas and lunches) for participants is R1026 (including VAT) (R342 per day for persons wishing to attend only one or two days). It is free of charge for all participating graduate and PhD students.


A limited number of bursaries will be available for travel and accommodation.


The organisers recommend that conference participants stay at Plumpudding Guesthouse (http://www.plumpudding.co.za/) or The View (http://www.theviewhotel.co.za/), which are within walking distance from the UJ Auckland Park Campus. The current rate at Plumpudding Guesthouse is R650 per night inclusive of breakfast.

For more information about the conference, visit the website of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa:http://saphenomenology.wordpress.com/. Alternatively, please contact Rafael Winkler (rwinkler@uj.ac.za), Catherine Botha (cbotha@uj.ac.za), Abraham Olivier (aolivier@ufh.ac.za), or Marianna Oelofsen (moelofsen@ufh.ac.za).

Seminar: Dr Sirkku Hellsten

The Stellenbosch University philosophy department is pleased to announce a final seminar for the year.

Dr Sirkku Hellsten from Finland is current head of the philosophy department at the University of Dar es Salaam and will be presenting a seminar in our department (room 628 of the Arts and Social Sciences building, corner of Merriman Ave and Ryneveld St in Stellenbosch) next Wednesday26 November, 12:30-14:00.  The title of her seminar is: Rhetoric, politics and ethics of governance in Africa in the era of globalization. 


The new narrative of ‘Africa is rising’ is heard all over the world: African countries are rapidly gaining more economic power and business competitiveness. With this economic empowerment, many African governments are regaining – and reclaiming – their sovereignty after decades of colonialism – and alleged subsequent neo-colonialism by Western powers. Today’s politically, socially and economically transitional situation, the traditional partnership between African countries and their Western partners is briskly changing. African leaders are less willing to listen their former ‘colonial masters’ and (later day) ‘paternalistic donors’ about the direction of development that Africa should adapt to. With this regained confidence in increasing opportunities in international markets and other collaboration, many leaders in the continent call for African solutions for African problems, and call off the Western interference which is seen to be part of these problems to start with. Political rhetoric of ‘second liberation’ emphasizes African values and traditions, and builds pressure to discredit and disregard the allegedly Western values as foreign interference, paternalism and forms of neo-colonialism. In fact it often appears that many African leaders now want to convince their people that if something originated in the West, it is only good for Western countries; and thus, somehow it must necessarily be bad for Africa.
This paper wants to take a closer look at the rhetoric of ‘new sovereignty’ and expose some crimes against logic that have turned into crimes against the people in Africa. The paper is structured as follows: firstly, I will discuss how the current economy-based, Western originated concept of development has gradually created a transitional socio-politico-economic context that integrates some of the most egoistic individualistic practices with various suppressive and biased communalistic traditions in Africa. This integration is labelled here as ‘afro-libertarianism’. Secondly, I will show how the Western development and business practices have contributed to the current leadership crisis in Africa. I will also show how the unwarranted generalizations and false polarizations between Western individualism and African communalism are used to reject fundamental governance reforms and to slow down democratic processes. The hypocrisy that African leaders blame the West for is reflected in their own actions: they call for rebirth of African communalist solidarity traditions, while they themselves have intensely adopted libertarian-justified self-interest in their own political practice.

Please contact me should you require any further information regarding this seminar.

Warm regards

Andrea Palk

Department of Philosophy

Stellenbosch University

Private Bag X1

Stellenbosch • 7602


Tel: +27 21 808 2057 • e-mail: apalk@sun.ac.za