June 28-30, 2009, University of Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
Call for Papers

The priority of knowledge is the temptation of temptation… The temptation of temptation is the life of Western man becoming philosophy.
~Levinas, “The Temptation of Temptation”

Celebrating the fourth anniversary of our founding, the North American Levinas Society continues in our aim to build interest and promote dialogue around the important work of Emmanuel Levinas. Last year’s conference at Seattle University was a tremendous success, again bringing Levinas’ family from Paris and Jerusalem together with young scholars from across the world to forge important relationships and foster respectful di scussion around the question of the sacred, the holy, and the ethical.

This year, the Society broadens its international scope, as we organize our first meeting and conference outside of the United States. We are pleased to announce our 2009 annual meeting and conference, to be hosted by the University of Toronto (Ontario, Canada).

The North American Levinas Society invites submissions of individual paper proposals and panel proposals for the fourth annual meeting and conference to be held June 28-30, 2009. While we will organize the conference around the broad theme of “Philosophy and Its Others,” we will consider proposals for paper and panels on any topic related to Levinas in an effort to draw the widest array of interests.

Especially in the Continental traditions, Levinas’ work is integral to a serious and sober examination of the history of philosophy and its priorities, blindnesses, insights, inner tensions, and possibilities. We pose this broad theme at a time when certain modes of rationality continue to prop up structures of economic inequality, perpetual war, and uncertainty. Given the current state of global economic and political relations, how must philosophy orient itself to help effect a healing and mending of the world? What is the relationship between philosophy and hope, activism, and reconciliation? We might begin by asking questions about Levinas’ difficult relationship with philosophy. How has the discipline and history of philosophy affected Levinas’ thought, and how has Levinas impacted the discipline and history of philosophy? How has Levinas’ philosophical critique of ‘the tradition’ been received and appropriated by other domains of inquiry, such as religious studies, Jewish studies, political science, women’s studies, gender studies, sociology, history, performance and media studies, race theory, legal studie s and jurisprudence, literature, cultural studies, disability studies, environmental and ecology studies, medicine, and others? How has Levinas’ reception and application in these various fields in turn affected the discipline of philosophy?

Certainly, these are only a few questions regarding “Philosophy and Its Others” broadly posed, but it is clear that such questions open our own work to a more difficult, and perhaps edifying, scrutiny. We are also interested in receiving panels that address the relation between philosophy, the ethical, community, justice, and pedagogy.


  • Individual paper proposals: Individual abstracts, prepared for blind review, should be 500 words outlining a 20-minute presentation. Accepted papers will be organized into panels of two or three presentations.
  • Panel proposal: Panel proposals, consisting of 2-3 speakers, should be 1000 words for a 75-minute session. Please include the session title, name of organizer, institutional affiliations, discipline or department, along with the chair’s name and participants’ names in addition to 250 word abstracts detailing the focus of each paper. Prepare panel proposals for blind review as well.

Please send materials via email attachment (preferably Microsoft Word) to: submissions@levinas-society.org.

If you have questions regarding the Society or the conference, please send inquiries to secretary@levinas-society.org.

The deadline for submissions is April 13, 2009.