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25 - 29 June 2018

Intensive Seminar on Teaching New Narratives in Early Modern Philosophy

Conference | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Simon Fraser University, California State University at Long Beach, McGill University

In this intensive weeklong seminar, we will work through a range of primary source materials by non-canonical authors, both women and men, to be included in a new teaching anthology (edited by Shapiro and Lascano) with an eye to interpreting texts, identifying philosophical themes within those texts, and devising creative ways to incorporate those texts into courses that can serve a range of purposes within the philosophical curriculum.

A familiarity with the standard early modern canon will be presupposed.

The intensive seminar responds to at least two issues facing the teaching of early modern philosophy. First, the familiar canon of seven philosophers (Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant) has become a bit ossified. While the integration of the history of science has helped to revitalize and introduce some new figures into early modern philosophy, it has not helped us address a second issue: the need to do a better job of incorporating women philosophers into the history of philosophy, and in particular into the history of early modern philosophy. To address these issues, and especially the second one, it helps to attend to an array of lesser known, yet still quite influential, philosophers of the period, both men and women.

Over the past several years, interest in European women philosophers of the early modern period has intensified rapidly. Yet while there is a lot of interest, there are also many challenges.  For one, it is often challenging to delve into texts with which one is unfamiliar without a body of philosophical secondary literature to serve as a guide. Equally, women of the period often write in an array of genres, further complicating the interpretive work. Furthermore, even if one has found one’s way with these texts, women philosophers often take familiar themes in unfamiliar directions, and it can be a challenge to rethink the standard early modern philosophy course so as to include women thinkers as philosophers in their own right.  Looking in detail not only at women thinkers but also at a range of non-canonical men is helpful because the themes that often engaged women thinkers were of interest not only to other (male) non-canonical philosophers as well, but also to the more familiar canonical figures. In addition, it is worth noting that most of the philosophers of the period wrote in a variety of genres, not just the women.

Directors: Lisa Shapiro, Professor of Philosophy, Simon Fraser University and Marcy Lascano, Professor of Philosophy, California State University at Long Beach. Marguerite Deslauriers, Professor of Philosophy, McGill University, will provide additional instructional support.

Theme: Early Modern European Philosophy: Addressing the Challenges of Revitalizing the Early Modern Canon and Incorporating Women Thinkers into the Narrative


Application Deadline:  February 1, 2018

Applications should include the following and be sent to new_narratives@sfu.ca

  • Current CV
  • Contact information for two references
  • Letter of application (preferably 2-3 pages, and no longer than 4 pages) explaining your own background and research interests, your interest in the seminar, and your prior teaching experience and approaches to teaching early modern philosophy

Notification Date:  March 1, 2018.  We expect to be able to accept up to 16 applicants for this intensive seminar.

Accept or Decline Offer by: March 8, 2018

Eligibility Criteria:  We invite applications from philosophers at various stages of their career from advanced ABD PhD candidates to mid-career faculty. We expect that the majority of selected participants will have prior experience teaching a course in early modern philosophy. Thus, while not required, such experience is desirable.

Stipend: Individuals selected to participate in this intensive seminar will receive shared housing (a private room in a townhouse, with linens provided and a shared modestly equipped kitchen) at Simon Fraser University from 24-30 June, as well as reimbursement for other expenses up to approximately CAD 1700, consistent with SFU policy (to include economy class airfare, transportation to/from airports and a per diem at the official rate).

Support for this intensive seminar is provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through a Partnership Development Grant, as well as the Simon Fraser University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and the SFU Philosophy Department.

Contact Haley Brennan at new_narratives@sfu.ca with any questions.

25 - 29 June 2018

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Burnaby, BC, CANADA
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia Canada
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