Fits and Misfits: Rethinking Disability, Debility, and the World with Merleau-Ponty


November 10-12, 2022 | Georgetown University

The 46th Annual Meeting of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle will be held Nov 10-12, 2022, hosted by Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA. The conference program is available here.

Those interested in attending the conference may register here. Georgetown University has secured a special rate of $179 per room/night with the Glover Park Hotel; those interested in staying at the hotel may book their rooms here.

Much of Merleau-Ponty’s thought centers around the idea that we find ourselves not separate from the world, nor even “in” it, but fully intertwined with it-caught up in a web of relations and forces that shape experience through and through. Certain relations and forces shape us in ways that are definitive for our sense of “fitting” or “misfitting,” a framework I invoke from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s seminal article, “Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept” (Hypatia, 2011). Fits and misfits, in Garland­ Thomson’s sense, are everywhere, once you know how to look for them: spatial, placial, architectural, equipmental, technological, economic, social, cultural, the cosmos, and so on.

The conference is directed by Joel Michael Reynolds. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory University), whose talk is entitled, “The Romance of Norm Mates and Miss Fitz.” The conference will also feature invited lectures from Alia Al-Saji (McGill University), Helen Fielding (Western University), and David Morris (Concordia University). The annual conference will feature the M. C. Dillon prize and lecture for the best graduate student paper submission.