Future Paths of Phenomenology

1st OPHEN Summer Meeting

1st-31st July 2020
Thyon, Switzerland


The phenomenological movement, one can confidently affirm today, is thriving. This is true first of all with regard to the dominant metrics of modern academic life, the number of publications appearing every year: in 2019, nearly 200 books closely related to phenomenology were published (source: Phenomenological Reviews) and more than 100 phenomenology journals produced at least one new issue (source: OPHEN). Similarly, the number of scholars devoting their career entirely or partially to phenomenology is greater than it has ever been: the non-exhaustive OPHEN directory lists about 2500 active researchers and, less significantly, more than 200.000 people have chosen phenomenology as a theme of interest on Academia.edu. On almost any given day of the year, a conference, workshop or summer school devoted to phenomenology is happening somewhere in Europe, North or South America, Asia or indeed Africa.

Further signs of phenomenology's current vitality can be found in its thematic advances and institutional foothold. The number of chairs in phenomenology is stable, new societies and new projects are materialising, and big grants such as ERCs are being won. Even more significantly, phenomenology has managed over the last decades to broaden out and entrench itself in many fields beyond philosophy (critical, environmental, gender, literary or management studies, pedagogy, psychology and psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, etc.). In this process, moreover, it has not lost itself but continued a process of methodological reflection on its own foundations – as witnessed by the ever-renewed fascination for the thought of its founders and the growing historical and theoretical interest in early phenomenology, women philosophers, or thinkers such as Emanuel Levinas, Jan Patočka or Gustav Špet.

Despite – or perhaps because of – this flurry of activity, however, the current moment is not one of certainties and clarity for the phenomenological movement. Where once a few towering masters provided structure and orientation, we now have a fragmented multiplicity of perspectives and interests, often competing not only for funds, but also for attention and recognition; where once a few key places functioned as powerful magnets that attracted all phenomenologists, the geography of phenomenology now is a dense network without universal centres; where once key projects such as the edition of the Husserliana provided a horizon and infrastructural framework for the whole field, we must now rely on the huge but yet unclear promises of the digital turn.

Call for papers

The goal of the first OPHEN summer meeting will be to address this current moment, its promises and challenges, by seeking to gain a certain overview and by questioning the future paths of phenomenology along three main axes:

  • Thematic axis: what are today's active traditions and lines of inquiry within phenomenology, what new projects and research paths are being opened?

  • Institutional axis: what and where are today's strong phenomenological institutions (research and teaching centres, journals, societies), what are their role and what challenges are they facing?

  • Digital axis: how will phenomenologists use and reflect upon the potential of digital tools and infrastructure? More specifically, what could or should be the role of the Open Commons of Phenomenology in this context?

We welcome contributions addressing any one of these questions, which will be grouped during the Summer Meeting into thematic blocs. In particular, we welcome papers that present a specific tradition, research project or institution in a contextual perspective. Panel proposals are especially welcome.

A central aim of the Summer Meeting is of course to foster a common discussion and new ideas around the Open Commons of Phenomenology. As such, the meeting presents not only an opportunity to reflect upon phenomenology as a whole, but for participants to meet the team, to make their voice heard and to get involved in what is increasingly becoming a crucial infrastructure of the phenomenological movement.

Abstracts of single papers should contain the name of the speaker, full contact address (including email address), the title and a summary of the paper of maximally 250 words. Panel proposals should contain respectively the name of the chair, the names of the speakers and commentator, full contact addresses (including email addresses), the title of the panel, a short (150 words) description of the panel’s content and for each paper an abstract of maximally 250 words

Please send your abstract to contact@ophen.org by March 31st 2020

Confirmation of acceptance on April 14th at latest

If you wish to participate and are either a board member of the Open Commons or of any project hosted or cooperating with the Open Commons, please contact us for an official invitation.

Invited speakers (confirmed): Emmanuel Alloa, Thomas Bedorf, Sebastian Luft, Alexander Schnell, Christina Schües

Invited Speakers