Unmasking Objectivity: A Critical Examination of the Nexus between Universal Truth Claims and Emergent Power Structures Conference @ Wolff Conference Room/D1103
Mar 21 – Mar 23 all-day

How does objectivity shape power, and how does power shape objectivity?

Welcome to “Unmasking Objectivity: A Critical Examination of the Nexus between Universal Truth Claims and Emergent Power Structures,” a conference that plunges into the intricate relationship between knowledge and power. In this conference, we will uncover how epistemological standpoints intersect with systems of coercion, marginalization, and oppression. Our topic extends to alternative visions of knowledge, truth, and learning, offering the potential for shared beliefs while addressing the adverse impacts of entrenched power structures.

How have claims to absolute, objective, or scientific truth driven oppression through ideologies like religious absolutism, colonialism, technocracy, and scientific sexism and racism? Contemporary debates further emphasize the significance of this intersection.

Our discourse will also scrutinize epistemic injustice, examining whether universalist epistemologies privilege specific knowledge systems while silencing valid alternatives. We aim to shed light on social and political issues overlooked by dominant knowledge frameworks through inclusive dialogues. This conference fosters critical exploration and inclusive discourse, drawing on interdisciplinary studies in philosophy, sociology, and political theory.

Together, we will assess the ethical implications of our epistemological practices and explore pathways to creating more equitable systems of knowledge and social learning. Join us at “Unmasking Objectivity” as we navigate the intricate web of knowledge and power, aiming for a just and inclusive future where the notion of objectivity is both scrutinized and harnessed for social transformation.

Strange Returns: Racism, Repetition and Working Through the Past presented by Eyo Ewara @ Wolff Conference Room/D1103
Mar 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

This talk reads contemporary debates about structural racism and US history from the perspective of philosophical questions about identity and difference. While many people have argued that America needs to come to terms with or “work through” the racism in its history that has shaped and continues to shape its present structures, it remains difficult to explain what connects this past and the present. Are we talking about one racism with many different past and present forms? Or are there multiple racisms that only share some similar features? In this talk, I draw attention to how these divisions play out particularly in contemporary Black Studies and argue that the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze can offer us resources for thinking about these questions through his discussions of repetition. I argue that understanding our conversations about structural racism and history as conversations about a racism that repeats, can help us to better understand why racism seems to reappear, how to think its disparate forms together, and what presuppositions operate in many attempts to “work through” the past.

Bio: Eyo Ewara is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. His teaching and research explores the relationships between 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Queer Theory.  His work has appeared in Theory and Event, Puncta, Philosophy Today, Critical Philosophy of Race, Political Theology, and other venues. His current research project is particularly interested in engaging work in Continental Philosophy, Queer Theory, and Black Studies to address questions of identity and difference amongst concepts of race, forms of racism, and forms of anti-racism. How can we better account for the relations between at times radically disparate concepts, structures, and practices such that they can all specifically and recognizably be called racial? What might our account of these relations say about our ability to address racism’s harms?