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15.05.2018 11:18 Alter: 12 days

Levinas, Displacement, and Repair

Call for Papers

Theme: Levinas, Displacement, and Repair
Type: 13th Annual Conference
Institution: North American Levinas Society (NALS)
  Western Carolina University
Location: Cullowhee, NC (USA)
Date: 31.7.–3.8.2018
Deadline: 31.5.2018

Emmanuel Levinas writes extensively about the temptations of
knowledge and the seductions of intelligibility and intentional
consciousness as they enable a fascination for ontology, power, and
war. For nearly 13 years, the North American Levinas Society has
worked to preserve and focus this critique through social apertures
that privilege questions of historical violence, transgenerational
suffering, memory and repair. As a society, we have not only
struggled together through difficult exegesis with Levinas’ work, but
we have also sought to bring such ethical critique into dialogue with
other philosophers of liberation, postcolonial scholars, indigenous
intellectuals, Asian American scholars, philosophers of diaspora,
religious thinkers, and victims and survivors of modern national
projects, ecological devastation, and global economy. For our 13th
annual conference, the NALS invites participants to continue this
tradition by taking up the question of “displacement and repair”
across generations.

We are especially moved to take up this question of displacement on
the grounds of Western Carolina University, which houses a Cherokee
Center and runs a robust Cherokee Studies program. One of Levinas’
most prolific exegetes, Enrique Dussel, noted at a time in his life
when he could no longer identify as European, “The philosophy that we
studied set out from the Greeks, in whom we saw our most remote
lineage. The Amerindian World had no presence in our studies, and
none of our professors would have been able to articulate the origin
of philosophy with reference to indigenous peoples.” Despite the
prevalence in Levinas studies to insist on the validity of
counter-hegemonic critique from those on the underside of history,
there is still a profound silence to the question of how we might
encounter Levinas’ work through indigenous inspirations in the
context of the Americas. Even the most celebrated works that take up
Levinas in postcolonial contexts remain relatively mute on this
question. With a concern for situating wisdom in its place and
“translating” intelligibility across various modalities of
consciousness, however, we ought to approach Levinas with questions
about displacement, usurpation, genocide, and ecocide —together with
questions of repair across generations — with an ethical vigilance
renewed by the very exigencies of place where concentration camps
were designed and built in order to mobilize the displacement of
indigenous peoples through what is called “the trail of tears.”

Toward this end, the 13th annual NALS conference opens a collective
concern for the question of “displacement and repair” that does not
further contribute to the displacement and marginalization of
indigenous histories, survivance, and intellectual traditions. At the
same time, as has been customary since the founding of the Society,
we also welcome papers on any topic in Levinas studies that happens
to be of interest to you.

Instructions for Submitting Proposals

Please prepare materials for blind review and send them via email
attachment to the conference proposal committee chair, Sol Neely
( with the subject “NALS 2018 Proposal” before May
31, 2018. All submissions will be acknowledged, and notifications of
acceptance will be sent out by May 18, 2018 along with information on
conference registration. 

- Individual Paper Proposals should be 200-300 words for a 15-20
 minute presentation.

- Panel Proposals should be 400 words for 75-90 minute panel
 sessions. Please include on separate cover the session title and
 name of organizer or panel chair, along with participants’ names,
 institutional affiliations, disciplines or departments.

All proposals are due May 31, 2018.

Please direct all inquiries concerning the conference to the
conference organizers, James McLachlan (director) and Sol Neely.
General questions regarding the Society should be directed to Erik
Garret, NALS President ( or Dara Hill, NALS
Executive Secretary (


Sol Neely, Conference Proposal Committee Chair
North American Levinas Society (NALS)