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Steven DeCaroli

Alternative Space for Political Thought and Practice

The Society for Social and Political Philosophy

Society for Social and Political Philosophy: Historical, Continental and Feminist Perspectives (SSPP)
Philosophy Documentation Center
P.O. Box 7147
Charlottesville, VA 22906-7147
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Hasana Sharp

1 The Society for Social and Political Philosophy: Historical, Continental, and Feminist Perspectives (SSPP) was established in the United States in December of 2001 to create an alternative space for the exploration of social and political philosophy. During the few years since its establishment, the society has provided a welcome forum for both interdisciplinary and international engagements with political thought and practice. The SSPP offers a venue for emerging scholarship concerned with progressive social change and cultural critique that have not been adequately reflected in the established spaces of academic philosophy. While the society values work grounded in textual scholarship and historical analysis, it also showcases work that directly addresses practical issues and remains very open to work that draws on other disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
2 A membership-based organization, SSPP is a collectively administered society that, despite institutional challenges, is working to create an inclusive space open to both academic and non-academic individuals from different parts of the world. While the society is still in the early stages of its growth, it has already managed to represent the perspectives of many young scholars and activists from across the globe who are currently under-represented in the mainstream arenas of social and political scholarship. The primary purpose of the SSPP is to support non-traditional ways of approaching social and political issues, and to do so, as its subtitle suggests, from »historical, continental, and feminist perspectives.« These perspectives, however, are understood very broadly and are meant to encompass a variety of interdisciplinary and multicultural approaches. As the society's Constitution explains:
3 ›Historical‹ is understood as encompassing textual, interpretative, and discursive analyses not limited to Marxist, Hermeneutic, Genealogical, Post-Colonial, and other approaches. ›Continental‹ is understood in the broadest possible terms as inclusive of the encounters between European, Latin American, Asian, and African systems of thought and philosophical practices. ›Feminist‹ is intended here to include anything that privileges sex, gender, and queer identities in approaching social and political relations. (SSPP Constitution, Article I,2)
The aim of the society is to raise the interest and promote the scholarship in social and political philosophy from historical, continental, and feminist perspectives through meetings, events, and publications. 4 For the past two years the society has organized panels at professional conferences in the United States. In addition, it is working towards sponsoring meetings and activities at international forums and gatherings. The SSPP currently has a working relationship with the two most influential philosophical societies in America, the American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP). At the annual meetings of these associations, the SSPP hosts several satellite panels. These panels cover a range of issues, including presentations on the transformation of labor practices, the role of psychoanalysis in critical race theory, the production of knowledge in the social sciences and discussions of anti-globalization movements and the shifting racial politics of post-9/11 America.
5 In addition to panel presentations, major SSPP sessions occasionally include a novel presentation format that can best be described as a »conversation.« At these sessions a notable political theorist or activist participates in a loosely structured dialogue with the audience. These sessions give the speaker an opportunity to casually discuss their work and to respond directly, and in depth, to issues raised by audience questions. In the relaxed environment of these conversations both the speaker and the audience have an opportunity to reflect on current issues and share political ideas. Future conversants include Noam Chomsky and Gayatri Spivak.
6 In addition to hosting conference panels the SSPP provides its members with print versions of all papers presented at sponsored panels and is in the process of finalizing plans to bring selected conference papers to press as a series of edited journal volumes. Complete information on the society, its current call for papers, its constitution, and an archive of past conference panels, can be found at its website.
polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy 5 (2004).
Online: http://agd.polylog.org/5/pds-en.htm
ISSN 1616-2943
Author: Steven DeCaroli, Baltimore, MD (USA)
© 2004 Author & polylog e.V.
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