Thursday, August 09, 2007

The truth comes out

A commentator who calls him or herself simply UofCer reveals:
After we took a couple classes with Jacob Levy, a friend of mine made a facebook group: 18 million milligrams of caffeine with Jacob Levy. Every day he would walk in, set two cans of Diet Coke on the table and promptly begin lecturing without notes. If there were more than two cans, you could be certain you'd be late for whatever you had next.

Someone-- I suspect it was one of the architects of this group-- once asked me why it was Diet Coke rather than coffee, given my known proclivities.

The answer: On my way to class, I need my hands free to carry books. And it's dangerous to walk around with a cup of coffee in each of your sports jacket pockets. Two cans of soda will roughly get me through an hour and twenty minutes of talking-- after which time I can go get a proper cup of coffee.

Update: Phoebe Maltz enjoys the black ambrosia, too. In response to people who criticize the money spent, she observes, "If you consider the accused lattes to be a replacement for the three martinis our generation is not having at lunch, and the two packs of cigarettes our generation is not having throughout the day, it looks a bit different."
Pateman elected to British Academy

Carole Pateman has been elected to the British Academy. (She was elected as a regular fellow not an overseas "corresponding" fellow, thanks to her position at Cardiff.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Neutrality 2008 : Call For Papers

Neutrality 2008: Call For Papers. Submission Deadline: 10/20/2007

The Centre for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal (CRÉUM) is sponsoring an international conference on the ideal of neutrality which will take place in Montreal in May 2008 and will be followed by a workshop. Participants in the conference include: Arash Abizadeh (McGill University) ; Anthony Appiah (Princeton University) ; Richard Arneson (University of California, San Diego) ; George Crowder (Flinders University) ; Peter de Marneffe (Arizona State University) ; Charles Larmore (Brown University) ; Jacob Levy (McGill University) ; Stephen Macedo (Princeton University ); Ruwen Ogien (CNRS-Paris) ; Alan Patten (Princeton University) ; João Cardoso Rosas (Minho University) ; George Sher (Rice University) ; Christine Sypnowich (Queen’s University) ; Steven Wall (Bowling Green State University) ; Daniel Weinstock (CRÉUM, Université de Montréal).

This call for papers is addressed to graduate students and junior researchers interested in presenting their work on neutrality in this workshop.

The idea that the state should be neutral towards conceptions of the good life has been a constant topic of debate for the last thirty years amongst political theorists concerned with the legitimacy of the state. Although some have claimed the debate is passé, many recent works have proved them wrong (Wall and Klosko, 2003 ; Appiah, 2005 ; de Marneffe, 2006 ; Weinstock, 2006 ; Ogien, 2007) as the dialogue between communitarians and liberals has now opened an intense discussion between liberals themselves about the attractiveness or the scope of the neutrality principle, calling at times for a new perfectionism (Sher, 1997 ; Wall, 1998). This colloquium aims to present a diagnosis of the ongoing debate and offer new perspectives. It will be organized around three main topics:

First, the definition of the neutrality principle is open to discussion: even if there’s a broad agreement on its characterization as a constraint on justifications given by the government (justificatory neutrality, (Kymlicka, 1989)), the nature of this constraint and the scope of the principle are highly controversial. Alternative definitions (as equal concern or as neutrality of effects) may not have received appropriate attention (Goodin and Reeve, 1989 ; Wall, 2001 ; Appiah, 2005).

A second important issue questions the relation between neutrality and perfectionism. Some liberals refuse to take neutrality as the only legitimate understanding of liberal principles (Raz, 1986 ; Chan, 2000) and argue for liberal perfectionism. Is this claim valid or attractive? Different versions of perfectionism should be presented and they should answer diverse concerns related to its paternalistic aspect. Neutrality proponents also have to answer serious objections. Although some have argued for a neutralist foundation of neutrality (Larmore, 1993), this path has been criticized in light of the difficulties in building up a case for the neutrality principle without using substantive values such as respect or democratic equality.

A third bundle of questions will focus on practical issues where neutrality is an attractive ideal or, on the contrary, an undesirable principle. Important areas of investigation include education and religion, and, also, language and work. The colloquium hopes to elicit reflection on the possible application of the neutrality ideal to new practical spheres.

Guidelines for submission:
Proposals should address one of these issues and should be between 300 and 500 words in length. Submission deadline is October 20, 2007. Notification of acceptance will be provided by February 1, 2008. Preferred format for all submissions is RTF attachment submitted by electronic mail to Roberto Merrill ( ) and Geneviève Rousselière ( with “Neutrality 2008 Submission” in the subject line of the email.
The plural states of recognition

La reconnaissance dans tous ses états
The plural states of recognition

Atelier international / International Workshop of the Center for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal. Registration required : You can now register forthe workshop by sending your name and institutional affiliation to .

Thursday September 27: Struggle for recognition

Recognition : the heritage of a concept
Chair : George Di Giovanni (McGill University)

9 h 15 Robert R.Williams (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Hegel and Aristotle on Recognition and Friendship

9 h45 Simon Thompson (University of the West of England)
Recognition and the rise of democracy

10 h 30 Arto Laitinen and Heikki Ikäheimo (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Esteem as a type of recognition & University of Jyväskylä)

11 h Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie University)
The social mediation of practical self-relation. Normative and critical implications
of current debates on Hegel and recognition

Recognition, conflicts and social movements
Chair: Estelle Ferrarese (Université Strasbourg II)

14 h 30 Christian Lazzeri (Université Paris X – Nanterre)
Le prix de la lutte pour la reconnaissance

15 h Christian Nadeau (Université de Montréal)
Crimes contre l’humanité et théories de la reconnaissance

15 h 45 Hervé Pourtois (Université catholique de Louvain)
Le « tournant délibératif» de la théorie de la reconnaissance : issue ou impasse ?

16 h 15 Emmanuel Renault (ENS LSH Lyon)
Lutte, domination et reconnaissance : qu’est-ce que le modèle hégélien
de la reconnaissance ?

Friday September 28: politics of recognition

recognition of national identities
Chair : Stéphane Courtois (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

9 h Peter Leuprecht (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Droits humains - individuels et /ou collectifs ?

9 h30 Geneviève Nootens (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi)
Reconnaissance, légitimité et démocratie dans les sociétés plurinationales

10 h 15 Michel Seymour (Université de Montréal)
La nation comme sujet de reconnaissance

10h 45 Michel Wieviorka (École des Hautes Études en Sciences sociales)
Naissance et déclin du débat sur le multiculturalisme

The institutionalization of recognition
Chair: Daniel Weinstock (CRÉUM)

14 h 15 Anna Elisabetta Galeotti (University of Piemonte Orientale in Vercelli)
Recognition, Respect and Justice

14 h 45 Margaret Moore (Queen’s University)
Toleration, Recognition and Institutional Accommodation

15 h 30 Anne Phillips (London School of Economics)
The risks of recognition

16 h Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research)
The Priority of Justice:A Critique of Agonistic Approaches to Recognition

Saturday September 29: ethics of recognition

applied ethics of recognition
Chair : Alain G. Gagnon (Université de Québec à Montréal)

9 h Martin Blanchard (Université de Montréal)
Éthique de la délibération et revendications autochtones au Canada

9 h30 Avigail Eisenberg (University of Victoria)
A normatively defensible approach to the recognition of Indigenous identity

10 h 15 Jocelyn Maclure (Université Laval)
La reconnaissance engage-t-elle à l’essentialisme?

10 h 45 Melissa Williams (University of Toronto)
Recognition Regress? The Ontario Sharia Decision
and the Problem of Democratic Will Formation

The moral dimensions of recognition
Chair:Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University)

14 h 15 Elizabeth A. Povinelli (University of Columbia)
Recognition, Espionage, Camouflage

14 h 45 Charles Blattberg (Université de Montréal)
Demanding Recognition? On Overly-Adversarial Politics

15 h 30 Rajeev Bhargava (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
The Phenomenology of Broken Spirits: Hegel and Taylor on misrecognition
and humiliation

16 h Charles Taylor (McGill University,New School for Social Research and Fribourg)
New Developments in the Politics of Recognition

Monday, August 06, 2007

Now online

Federalism, Liberalism, and the Separation of Loyalties, 101 (3) APSR, August 2007, pp 459-477. PDF is here, APSA membership or institutional subscription required.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Political theory awards

From the Foundations of Political Theory organized section of APSA.


The David Easton Award is given for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. The award is limited to books published in the previous five years and carries a cash prize of $500.

This year's award goes to Quentin Skinner, of Cambridge University

for Visions of Politics, 3 Volumes, (Cambridge University Press, 2002)


Jennifer Pitts, Princeton University; Shannon Stimson, University of California-Berkeley; Stephen White (Chair of Committee), University of Virginia.

First Book Award

The First Book Award is given for a first book by a scholar in the "early stages of his or her career" in the area of political theory or political philosophy. "Early stages" is interpreted to mean that the recipient cannot have held his or her PhD for more than ten years. This award carries a cash prize of $200.00.

This year's award goes to Bryan Garsten, of Yale University, for Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006)

According to the Committee:

In this impressive and timely study, Bryan Garsten explores the early modern critique of rhetoric and persuasively argues on behalf of a classically-based alternative of responsible rhetoric and dialogically-based political judgment. Initially a response to the breakdown of authoritative political and religious sources, early modern liberal thinkers like Hobbes, Rousseau and Kant developed theories of "public reason" that valorized increasingly abstract, elite, and centralized forms of political decision-making. By contrast, thinkers like Aristotle and Cicero commended more public and open forms of political deliberation - now based upon a shared store of rhetorical conventions - yet were both sensitive to, and warned against the dangers of demagogic rhetorical manipulation. One ironic conclusion of Garsten's study is to suggest that ancient thinkers had greater confidence in public reasonableness than was explicitly the case for liberal philosophers. Garsten's sensitive and detailed exegeses are judicious, mature, and resonate deeply with contemporary debates over democratic deliberation and the role of reason and rhetoric in politics.

Best First Book Honorable Mention: Davide Panagia, The Poetics of Political Thinking (Duke 2006):

In The Poetics of Political Thinking , Davide Panagia provides a strikingly original perspective on aesthetics, ethics, and politics. Political theories, he argues, are composed of mutilayered, multivalent ideas and, hence, are best understood as "images" of thinking rather than philosophical arguments. By weaving together painting, poetry, and philosophy, Panagia reveals how unrepresentability haunts our thinking about politics. His new readings of Hobbes, Rawls, and Habermas place their ideas in productive conversation with Deleuze, Ranciere, and Hazlitt, among others. The images of political thinking that emerge mirror the "disjunctive encounters between dissimilars" characteristic of democratic negotiations of difference. Panagia's eloquently written and thought-provoking book challenges political theorists to think differently about how we read and what we do.


Patrick Deneen (Chair of Committee), Georgetown University; Roxanne Euben,
Wellesley College; Nancy Love, Pennsylvania State University