IMPC 45: Critical Phenomenology


October 21-23, 2021

University of Western Ontario

The Phenomenology of Perception remains Merleau-Ponty’s most influential contribution to challenging mind/body dualism and to understanding embodied perception.  Thinkers from a diverse range of disciplines including critical phenomenology, feminist phenomenology, critical race theory, critical disability studies, Indigenous philosophy, as well as cognition and neuroscience, have entered into dialogue with it in significant ways.  On the occasion of the Phenomenology’s 75th Anniversary, papers are invited that explore aspects of these dialogues.  Papers that take up historical, textual and/or contextual analysis of this text are also welcome.

The conference is being directed by Prof. Helen A. Fielding and will feature the M. C. Dillon prize and lecture for the best graduate student paper submission. Plenary addresses will be delivered by Donald A. Landes (Université Laval), Dolleen Tisawii’ashi (Michigan State University) and Evan Thompson (The University of British Columbia). Keynote addresses will be delivered by Dorothea Olkowski (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Gail Weiss (George Washington University) and Shiloh Whitney (Fordham University).

In consultation with Helen Fielding, the Director of this year’s annual meeting of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle Conference, we have decided to postpone the October 2020 conference for one year until October. 21-23, 2021. We deeply regret having to do this, but with the uncertainty of travel, border closings, virtual classrooms, and health issues, this seems the wisest option at this time.

The 2021 theme will remain largely the same with the same plenary speakers in place, so anyone who has been working on a paper for the 2020 conference and would like to submit it for next year is welcome to do so. However, the emphasis will shift to Critical Phenomenology as the main theme, with an accompanying celebration of the anniversary of the Phenomenology of Perception. We are grateful to Jack Reynolds and his Melbourne colleagues who offered to postpone the 2021 conference planned for Deakin University in Australia to 2022 in order to allow the 2021 conference to take place at University of Western Ontario in Canada.

In light of the need to postpone the 2020 conference, with its theme dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Phenomenology, our Associate General Secretary, David Morris, has started work on launching a different, but complementary project, under the working title of “Phenomenology of Perception Around the World: A 75th Anniversary Broadcast Series.” The series is inspired by Merleau-Ponty’s own radio broadcasts, published as Causeries 1948/ The World of Perception. The aim is to curate a series of 30 minute web broadcasts, from around the world, that would speak to a broad audience on the reception of and scholarship on the Phenomenology in various countries and regions (and also possibly creative arts inspired by it). These broadcasts would be released over the year, and would be available on a streaming platform for anyone to watch or hear.

We are excited by the prospect of offering a new venue to showcase international Merleau-Ponty scholarship this fall, despite not being able to have our annual fall conference. We will be in touch with more details about this virtual initiative as well as the October 21-23, 2021 conference that will be hosted by Helen at the University of Western Ontario, in the coming months.