Corporeity and Affectivity; call for papers

Corporeity and Affectivity
Conference in celebration of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's
(1908–1961) 100th birthday

Fifth Central and Eastern European Conference on Phenomenology

28 September – 2 October 2008, Prague

Call for Papers

Application (short message including name, institution, preliminary title of the paper) to be sent by e-mail until March 15, 2008 to following addresses:
novotnykcz (a)
merleau_prague08 (a)


In an article written in 1959, in commemoration of Husserl’s 100th anniversary, Merleau-Ponty writes that “with regard to a philosopher whose venture has awakened so many echoes, and at such an apparent distance from the point where he himself stood, any commemoration is also a betrayal” (“The Philosopher and His Shadow”). These words, however, are not meant to prevent us from commemorating a philosopher and his work. Quite the contrary, for Merleau-Ponty this “betrayal” seems to have a positive meaning. In fact it means that, in order to do justice to a philosopher’s work we should not – or perhaps, we could not – merely repeat it. To keep the work of thought alive we should trace and conjure up its “unthoughts”, and the greater the work of a philosopher, the richer the unthought elements in that work. Commemorating Merleau-Ponty’s 100th day of birth in 2008, nearly 50 years after his dead, his work is still alive. Not because his work was unfinished by his sudden death, but because his work was meant to be open and interrogative and thus not to be closed off, it left us with many elements yet to think. This conference aims at bringing into play the topicality of this work with respect to various debates in contemporary philosophy.
Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) is one of the most important phenomenologists of the 20th century. As one of the main representatives of French phenomenology he has essentially contributed to the further development of phenomenological philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. Moreover, his phenomenology has not only influenced the phenomenological research but has had also a very strong impact on other sciences. As such Merleau-Ponty has become one of the most fruitful philosophical resources for contemporary modern thinking.
    Along with Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology has turned from transcendental to existential phenomenology. His emphasis on embodiment and lived experience represents one of the most important developments in phenomenological philosophy. His focus on embodied existence has opened space for extensive phenomenological analysis on human existence in its embodied being. Moreover, the body has become a means of our being to the world. As such, it is no longer a hindrance of our being but constitutive for our being. As much as Merleau-Ponty has illuminated the existential role of the body, he has also contributed to the philosophical rehabilitation of the sensible. Sense perception no longer is a mere corporeal function but is itself characterized by rationality. It is here that affectivity comes into play as a serious and important philosophical category. As a form of sensibility, affectivity – the ability of being affected – has become a key-concept of the characterization of human existence.
    Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology is characterized by a great openness to other sciences and the arts. From the very beginning he has devoted his attention to the natural sciences as well as to cultural studies, psychoanalysis, politics, the arts and other fields. It is this specific trans-disciplinary interest that made his phenomenology attractive to other sciences and researchers up to now. For this reason, his phenomenology undoubtedly stands for a key-figure for contemporary modern thinking.
The conference is not only dedicated to Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology. Apart from his individual contribution to phenomenology, the conference also wants to address the great influence of his phenomenology to other phenomenological research. In particular, it wants to illuminate the issue of corporeality and affectivity – key-terms of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology – in the world-wide field of contemporary phenomenological research.


Phenomenology in Transition

•    Phenomenological Ontology in German and French Tradition
•    Affectivity and Giveness as Conditions of the Ontology
•    Fantasy and Imagination
•    Rehabilitation of the Sensible
•    Phenomenology of Language

Phenomenology and Technology of Life and Nature

•    Phenomenology and Philosophy of Nature
•    Hermeneutics of Lived Being
•    Between Phenomenology and Cognitive Science
•    Cognition and Perception
•    Body and Internal Time Consciousness
•    Constitution of the Lived Space

Phenomenology and Humanities

I. Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis
•    Phenomenology and the Unconscious
•    Phenomenological Psychopathology
•    Self and Other
II. Philosophy and Arts
•    Painting and Perception
•    Phenomenology and Literary Writing
•    Corporeity and Scenic Dramatization

III. Phenomenology and Anthropology
•    Institution in History and Politics
•    Phenomenology of Sexuality
•    Phenomenology of Love and Pain

Paper Submission

Please submit full paper writing samples for one of the above mentioned sections. Submitted writing samples of approximately 6 pages should have no more than 1800 words typewritten and double-spaced. For the publication in the proceedings of the conference, the paper may be extended up to 15 pages. At the conference, speakers will have 20 minutes for presentation, 20 minutes for discussion. Both paper copy and electronic version are kindly requested. Submissions should be addressed to the Conference Organizer (see below). Please, indicate a) the language of the paper, and b) the preferred section. The Conference Organizers (Organization Committee) reserve the right to accept or not accept papers in the basis of criteria of quality and the availability of the sections.

Deadline for Paper Submission

Deadline for contributed papers is June 30, 2008. Paper proposals received after this deadline will not be accepted.

Decisions and Conference Expenses

The authors of the accepted papers are to be informed by e-mail by July 31, 2008. Hotel and meals for them (speakers on the conference or active participants) during the conference as well as the part of their travel expenses are to be paid by the partners of the conference. Other participants have to pay a conference fee (the amount is to be announced July 31, 2008, too) in order to get the same hotels and meals as the active participants.

Conference Language
Conference languages will be: French, German, English. Full paper writing samples can be submitted in one of these languages.

Scientific Board of the conference:
•    Jan Sokol – Charles University in Prague
•    Bernhard Waldenfels – Ruhr Universität Bochum
•    László Tengelyi – Bergische Universität Wuppertal
•    Hans Rainer Sepp – Eugen Fink Archiv Freiburg/ Charles University in Prague
•    Alexej Chernjakov – University of St. Petersburg
•    Dean Komel – University of Ljubljana
•    Ion Copoeru – University of Cluj-Napoca

Confirmed invited plenary speakers:
Mauro Carbone, Lester Embree, Helen Fielding, Shaun Gallagher, Dimitri Ginev, Jean-Christophe Goddard, Sara Heinämaa, Kwok-Ying LAU, James Mensch,  Marc Richir, Pierre Rodrigo, Hugh J. Silverman, László Tengelyi, Bernhard Waldenfels, Dan Zahavi

Organization Committee:
•    Karel Novotný - Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University in Prague / Erasmus Master Mundus “EuroPhilosophie”
•    Alice Kliková - Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague
•    Silvia Stoller - Gruppe Phänomenologie, Wien / University of Vienna
•    Jenny Slatman - University of Tilburg
•    Petr Kouba - Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic
•    Josef Fulka - Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University Prague

Conference Organizer

Karel Novotný PhD
Vice-Dean for Science and Research
Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University in Prague
Fakulta humanitních studií Univerzity Karlovy v Praze
U Kříže 8
15800 Prague 5
Czech Republic
Phone: 00420-251080331
Fax: 00420-251080611

novotnykcz (a)
merleau_prague08 (a)