Body and Mind in Early China: Embodied Cognition, Digital Humanities, and the Project of Comparative Philosophy- Edward Slingerland (University of British Columbia) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Mar 8 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

It is commonly claimed that mind-body dualism is entirely foreign to China—or “the East” more generally. This talk will explore how engaging with the cognitive sciences and digital humanities undermines claims such as this, and more broadly can help us to do our work as scholars of comparative philosophy. Embracing an embodied view of human cognition gets us beyond strong social constructivism and its accompanying cultural essentialism. In addition, new tools from the science and digital humanities can, in combination with traditional archaeological and textual evidence, allow us to more accurately and rigorously assess claims about the philosophical and religious historical record. Specifically, I will focus on novel large-scale textual analysis techniques, online databases for sharing scholarly knowledge, and work in contemporary evolutionary anthropology and cognitive science relevant to the mind-body issue. I will conclude by considering how early Chinese views of mind-body relations do, in fact, differ from some modern Western conceptions, and how taking a more reasonable view of cultural differences can allow us to genuinely learn from other cultures.

With a response from:

Paul Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

International Merleau-Ponty Circle: Affect / Emotion / Feeling @ 12th Floor Lounge
Sep 12 – Sep 14 all-day

Thursday, September 12 Schedule

8:30 – 9 a.m. Registration and coffee
9 – 9:15 a.m. Opening remarks: Shiloh Whitney, Conference Director
Session 1 – Organic Affectivity and Animality
Moderator: Emilia Angelova, Concordia University
9:15 – 10 a.m. Hermanni Yli-Tepsa, University of Jyväskylä: “How to feel like our eyes: tracing the theme of instinctive affectivity in Phenomenology of Perception”
10 – 10:45 a.m. Sarah DiMaggio, Vanderbilt University: “Flesh and Blood: Reimagining Kinship”
10:45 – 11 a.m. Break
Session 2 – Passivity
Moderator: Philip Walsh, Fordham University
11 – 11:45 a.m. David Morris, Concordia University: “The Transcendentality of Passivity: Affective Being and the Contingency of Phenomenology as Institution”
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Rajiv Kaushik, Brock University “Merleau-Ponty on Passivity and the Limit of Philosophical Critique”
12:30 – 2 p.m. Lunch Break
Session 3 – Theorizing Emotion 1: Outside-in, Inside-Outside
Moderator: Duane H. Davis, University of North Carolina at Asheville
2 – 2:45 p.m. Ed Casey, Stonybrook University: “Bringing Edge to Bear: Vindicating Merleau-Ponty’s Nascent Ideas on Emotion”
2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Ondřej Švec, Charles University Prague: “Acting out one’s emotion”
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Break
Session 4 – Theorizing Emotion 2: Intersubjective Dimensions
Moderator: April Flakne, New College of Florida
3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Jan Halák, Palacky University Olomouc: “On the diacritical value of expression with regard to emotion”
4:30 – 5:15 p.m. Corinne Lajoie, Penn State University: “The equilibrium of sense: Levels of embodiment and the (dis)orientations of love”
Winner of the M. C. Dillon Award for best graduate essay
5:15 – 5:45 p.m. Snack Break (light refreshments provided)
Thursday Keynote
Introduction: Shiloh Whitney, Fordham University
5:45 – 7:15 p.m. Alia Al-Saji, McGill University
“The Affective Flesh of Colonial Duration”

Friday, September 13 Schedule

8:30 – 9 a.m. Registration and coffee
Session 5 – Affective Pathologies and Empathy
Moderator: Lisa Käll, Stockholm University
9 – 9:45 a.m. Ståle Finke, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim: “Structuring Affective Pathology: Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis”
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Catherine Fullarton, Emory University: “Empathy, Perspective, Parallax”
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Break
Session 6 – Eating and Breathing
Moderator: Ann Murphy, University of New Mexico
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. Whitney Ronshagen, Emory University: “Visceral Relations: On Eating, Affect, and Sharing the World”
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Amie Leigh Zimmer, University of Oregon: “Rethinking Chronic Breathlessness Beyond Symptom and Syndrome”
12:15 – 2 p.m. Lunch Break (and graduate student Mentoring Session in Lowenstein 810)
Session 7 – Critical Phenomenologies 1: Work and Freedom
Moderator: Whitney Howell, La Salle University
2 – 2:45 p.m. Talia Welsh, University of Tennessee Chattanooga: “Toward a Critical Phenomenology of Work and Its Discontents”
2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Laura McMahon, Eastern Michigan University: “The ‘Great Phantom’: Merleau-Ponty on Habitus, Freedom, and Political Transformation”
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Break
Session 8 – Critical Phenomenologies 2: The “I Can”
Moderator: Cheryl Emerson, SUNY Buffalo
3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Kym Maclaren, Ryerson University: “Criminalization and the Self-Constituting Dynamics of Distrust”
4:30 – 5:15 p.m. Joel Reynolds, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Lauren Guilmette, Elon University: “Rethinking the Ableism of Affect Theory with Merleau-Ponty”
5:15 – 5:45 p.m. Snack Break (light refreshments provided)
Friday Keynote
Introduction: Shiloh Whitney, Fordham University
5:45 – 7:15 p.m. Matthew Ratcliffe, York University
“Towards a Phenomenology of Grief: Insights from Merleau-Ponty”

Saturday, September 14 Schedule

8:30 – 9 a.m. Registration and coffee
Session 9 – Feeling Beyond Humanism
Moderator: Wayne Froman, George Mason University
9 – 9:45 a.m. Marie-Eve, Morin, University of Alberta. “Merleau-Ponty’s ‘cautious anthropomorphism’”
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Jay Worthy, University of Alberta: “Feelings of Adversity: Towards a Critical Humanism”
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Break
Session 10 – Art and Affect
Moderator: Stephen Watson, Notre Dame
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. Veronique Foti, Pennsylvania State University. “Body, Animality, and Cosmos in the Art of Kiki Smith”
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Rebecca Longtin, State University of New York New Paltz: “From Stone to Flesh: Affect and the Poetic Ambiguity of the Body”
12:15 – 2:15 p.m. Lunch Break (and Business Lunch at Rosa Mexicano, 61 Columbus Ave)
Session 11 – Voice and Silence
Moderator: Gail Weiss, George Washington University
2:15 – 3 p.m. Susan, Bredlau, Emory University. “Losing One’s Voice: Merleau-Ponty and the Lived Space of Conversation”
3 – 3:45 p.m. Martina, Ferrari, University of Oregon. “The Laboring of Deep Silence: ‘Conceptless Opening(s),’ the Suspension of the Familiar, and the Dismemberment of the Ego”
3:45 – 4 p.m. Break
Session 12 – Affectivity and Language
Moderator: Galen Johnson, University of Rhode Island
4 – 4:45 p.m. Silvana de Souza Ramos, University of São Paulo. “Merleau-Ponty and the Prose of Dora’s World”
4:45 – 5:30 p.m. Katie Emery Brown, University of California Berkeley. “Queer Silence in Merleau-Ponty’s Gesture”
7 – 10 p.m. At Salam, 104 W 13th St.
New Materialist Approaches to Sound @ Music Department, Columbia U
Oct 19 – Oct 20 all-day

Scholars working under the broad umbrella of New Materialism have offered compelling reappraisals of the ways in which we know, interact with, and exist in the world. This scholarship also intersects with recent work on music and sound, which raises rich sets of questions regarding human agency, material, ethics, aesthetics, embodiment, and the subject/object dichotomy, among other issues.

We invite scholars working in the humanities, arts and sciences to submit proposals for papers and performances that engage with the themes of sound and new materialism, broadly construed.  We welcome work that adopts historical, technological, analytical, philosophical, materialist, and creative vantage points, among others. Overall, this conference will direct these diverse disciplinary and methodological perspectives towards convergent and critical issues, creating new, interdisciplinary lines of enquiry and generating original research.

The one-day conference will consist of panels that comprise of papers with short reflections by a moderator, as well as an evening concert that includes opportunities for discussion. The concluding concert of work that engages with these themes from creative perspectives will afford attendees with an opportunity to consider and discuss issues concerning sound, material, and agency in a forum that contrasts with, but also complements, our events during the day. Conference participants are strongly encouraged to attend both the daytime and evening portions of the conference.

Proposals are called for:

Paper presentations of 20 minutes with 10 minutes of Q&A.

Artistic presentation of 20 minutes with 10 minutes of discussion

Submission: Proposals of no more than 500 words (300 words for artistic presentation) should be submitted as a PDF by August 14th 2019 to

and include “NMAS Submission” in the subject line. If you’re applying for an artistic presentation please include three representative 2 minute audio/video examples. Please also include the title of your proposed paper and anonymize your submission.  Include your name, affiliation, and contact information in the body of the email, and also nominate any audio/visual requirements for your paper or performance.