Sunday, January 31, 2010

OOO, ya don't say?

Follow this link to learn more about a one-day symposium on April 23rd at Georgia Tech on Object Oriented Ontology [OOO, as the shorthand now goes].

According to the symposium website, OOO, a term coined by Graham Hartman, who is also the figure most associated with this philosophical movement, "puts things at the center....Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally—plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example. In contemporary thought, things are usually taken either as the aggregation of ever smaller bits (scientific naturalism) or as constructions of human behavior and society (social relativism). OOO steers a path between the two, drawing attention to things at all scales (from atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis), and pondering their nature and relations with one another as much with ourselves."  Among the scheduled participants, Levi Bryant has written a series of manifestos for the movement, available here and here.  For another such manifesto, see Ian Bogust, who is also the webmaster for the symposium.  Bogust's post also connects with the early January f(l)ury over the present sordid state of the humanities (i.e., as registered at MLA '09 and thereafter).

I still haven't taken a position on OOO myself yet, but I find something in and about it compelling, not least it's thoroughly ontological de-centering of the human.  What probably bothers me most is its repeated claims to some form of "realism," especially insofar as OOO finds comrades in "speculative realism" (e.g., Ray Brassier, Ian Hamilton Grant, and Quentin Meillassoux).  Indeed, Hartman is very much the shifting figure associated with both movements, and at least in some readings, OOO is a sub-field of "speculative realism" (see here, e.g.)  As always, it would be interesting to trace the intellectual genealogy that these thinkers claim for themselves (e.g., behind Hartman there stands a certain acknowledged influence of his teacher Alphonso Lingis), including an important (revisionist?) reading of Deleuze.  Indeed, Levi Bryant and Steven Shaviro have probably written the most on Deleuze in relation to this question, although I wonder how Manuel DeLanda's reading of Delueze as putting forth a "realist ontology" might connect with OOO more generally.  It's also worth thinking about how, at least in the circles of literary criticism, something like "thing theory" works in conjunction with OOO, although I don't think that the former posits any kind of realism, ontologically understood. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

CFP: Inaugural Issue of "Speculations"

The below CFP, first posted in December, is for a new online journal, Speculations: The Journal of Object Oriented Ontology. While I don't share its apparent alliance to "speculative realism," I am interested in new forums for the renewed study of "ontology" and the exploration of "post-continental philosophy" (a neologism whose usage I'm only familiar with through the work of John Mullarkey).

Speculations: The Journal of Object Oriented Ontology


Speculations invites articles on topics related to object oriented philosophy, speculative realism or post-continental philosophy for its inaugural issue. Articles should not exceed 8000 words and should conform to the author’s guidelines outlined on the website. Submissions can be sent electronically via the journal website or directly to the following e-mail address:

Speculations is an open-access peer-reviewed journal. The deadline for submissions is February 28th 2010. Issue one is due to be published in early 2010 and will include submissions from Graham Harman, Ian Bogost and Levi Byrant.

Inquiries and submissions can be sent to:

For further information contact:
Paul John Ennis (Editor):

Saturday, January 9, 2010

CFP: MLA 2011 -- "Emotion at the Renaissance Court"

The following CFP information has been making its way around the blogosphere and has already been posted on the UPenn site, but I wanted to do my part to support a colleague's work. The session organizer, Brad Irish, is a UT Austin doctoral student specializing in Tudor literature and history. He also just successfully delivered a paper at the 2009 MLA conference. The title of this proposed session keys directly into his own dissertation research on "powerful feelings" at the Tudor Court.

Emotion at the Renaissance Court, MLA 2011
(January 6-9, 2011; Los Angeles)

Proposed special session seeks papers considering emotion and affect in the early modern courtly sphere. The emotional life of a courtier, emotional displays at court, emotion in courtly literature, etc. Abstracts by Mar. 2 to Bradley J. Irish (

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CFP: Boston College Philosophy Grad Conference on "Power"

Take note that the deadline (January 19th) for Boston College's 11th Annual Graduate Student Conference is fast approaching. The conference dates will be March 19-20, 2010. Please recognize that the January 19th deadline is for the submission of completed papers (4000 words maximum). For those not accustomed to this procedure, it's a pretty standard activity for academic philosophy conferences (e.g., it's the only way to get on the annual program at SPEP). It is, quite literally, a call for papers. The theme for this year's conference is "Power." Here's the description the organizers offer:

The formation of states, violent revolutions, and peaceful elections all show power's influence on human events. Philosophers traditionally have examined the dynamics of power as part of understanding social and political affairs. Other thinkers have called our attention to power as a hidden force in human life. Beyond government and politics, they argue, power quietly determines social institutions and culture -- even knowledge itself.

What is the fundamental meaning of power? How is it structured and what is its mode of operation? What moral responsibility do we have with respect to the powerful and the powerless?

We invite papers that consider how these and other questions concerning power have been address in the history of philosophy as well as what contemporary philosophy can contribute to the discussion.

Among the conference's three keynote addresses will be BC's own James Bernauer (a long-time scholar of Foucault and Arendt), Francisco de Roux, a Columbian Jesuit economist, social activist, and human rights advocate.