Call for Papers

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2015 International Herbert Marcuse Society Conference

Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University November 12-15, 2015 on the campus of Salisbury University (MD)

In recent years, the problems and contradictions intrinsic to capitalist society have resulted in a number of manifest, seemingly permanent, crises. Many researchers, academics, and activists have seized on the urgency of recent coalescing crises—from environmental degradation to economic inequality, political instability to social unraveling, and beyond—in an attempt to ameliorate and analyze the consequences of these dilapidated social relations. The work of Herbert Marcuse aims to radically re-envision social relations via critical theory as a way to formulate a praxis of liberation. However, if we live in a society, as Marcuse puts it, "without negation," how shall this critical rationality be cultivated?

The International Herbert Marcuse Society seeks papers for the 2015 biennial conference, "Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University," that address the broad pedagogical concerns of cultivating emancipatory rationality. Papers may want to address, but are certainly not limited to, the following problematics:

  • What role can and should critical pedagogy play in today’s institutions of higher education? Given Marcuse's emphasis on praxis, critical pedagogy cannot be limited to classroom space in universities - how can a critical rationality translate into programs of activism, agitation, and organization?
  • How is the work of Marcuse, the Frankfurt School, and/or critical theory generally relevant to the current context of political, social, economic, and cultural struggles?
  • What is the meaning of praxis and critique today? Do Marcuse's contemporary interlocutors help us refine, understand, recast, or critique visions of a critical rationality?
  • What can we learn from activists and scholars from a wide range of critical theories, dealing with liberation in areas such as critical race theory, intersectionality, LGBTQIA studies, disability studies, and postcolonial theory?
  • How does Marcuse’s critical theory provide a lens through which to assess the current condition of advanced industrial society?

Abstracts of 250-500 words are due May 20, 2015.

Student participation: Conference organizers Sarah Surak ( and Robert Kirsch are particularly interested in encouraging undergraduate and graduate student participation. To this end we encourage faculty to teach related or special topics classes in fall 2015 to bring students of all levels to the conference. Undergraduate students will present papers in special concurrent sessions. Undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to submit conference papers for publication to special conference editions.

Call for works of art and creative projects: We are also accepting proposals for works of art and creative projects to be on display at the SU Gallery during the conference. Unfortunately we cannot pay the cost of transport for these works.

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