PES Annual Meeting 2015

Memphis, Tennessee

The 2015 PES conference took place from March 12-16th, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Philosophy of Education Society

The 71st Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society (PES)will be held from March 12 to March 16, 2015 at the Westin Memphis-Beale Street, ( across the street from the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis, Tennessee, USA,



Eduardo Duarte, Hofstra

Program Chair


An Epigram


[February 03, 2012 9:20 am  •  HILLARY DAVIS Sun Staff Reporter, AZ Daily Sun]


When Cornel West defines "education," he is quick to point out that there's "schooling" and there's true education --paideia, to use a Greek term.

Schooling is how we acquire skills and knowledge. Education is what stirs the soul.

"Education as a human right" is a transformative set of deep feelings and courageous self-examination – spring boarding from a line from Plato's "Apology," roughly, that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

In lyrical oratory, West's ideas and words curved like a river flowing over topics like class and poverty, greed, strength and fortitude, race, imperialism, courage and justice, and education.

Education, he said, came through the decision of Emmett Till's mother to hold an open casket funeral for her lynched teen son, bloated and mutilated after being pulled from the Tallahatchie River in 1955. She took the higher ground in wanting justice but not revenge.

"Are you ready for that turning of the soul, that transformation?" he asked.


A Narrative


The penultimate chapter of Souls of Black Folk, is the story titled, “On the Coming of John.”  At one of the most significant and moving moments in the story, the hero, John Jones, has a poignant exchange with his much younger sister, who has come to recognize in her melancholic older brother a kind of wisdom that appears to have been earned through study.   The following exchange occurs between them:


“Long they stood together, peering over the gray unresting water.

            ‘John,’ she said, ‘does it make every one – unhappy when they study and learn lots of things?’

            He paused and smiled.  ‘I am afraid it does,’ he said.

            ‘And, John, are you glad you studied?’

            ‘Yes,’ came the answer, slowly but positively.

            She watched the flickering lights upon the sea, and said thoughtfully, ‘I wish I was unhappy, -- and – and,’ putting both arms about his neck, ‘I think I am, a little, John.”



Historicity: Close to Home, Far Away, and Back Again


With this exchange we find the prompt for the theme of the 2015 Philosophy of Education Society Meeting, which is taking place in Memphis, Tennessee: The Blues, Soul Music:  Making Philosophy of Education in 2015.


Known as one of the home places for the blues, and also for soul music, our conference will be inspired by the concrete cultural life and lived realities of Memphis.   Yet, in articulating this theme we are not only grounding the conference in the local historicity of Memphis, but also reaching back to the very beginnings of philosophy, when it was literally understood to be soul music, understood quite generally as education.  For the ancient Greeks μουσική(mousike) meant the art of the muses, and, with respect to education, was the foundation of all practices contributing to the proper formation of the soul.   In this sense, when we retrieve ‘music’ as μουσική (mousike),  we find ourselves taking up the education of the soul, or, perhaps, a soulful education, which better captures the way we are situating philosophy of education within the Memphis context.


Making Philosophy, and Delivering the Good(s) to the Absent Monarch


By framing the conference around the blues and soul music, and emphasizing our gathering as a showcase for the ways we make philosophy of education, my interest, as program chair, is to encourage papers and proposals that express an experimental spirit, and understand our meeting as an occasion to exhibit new theoretical and conceptual strategies, novel discursive forms, alternative ways of approaching perennial questions and authoritative figures, as well as bold initiatives for organizing the way we gather to share and support the work of philosophy of education.   I aminviting anyone who will be submitting papers, and alternative session proposals to understand our gathering as not just ‘another’ PES, but as philosophical event or happening, as a moment in what late Ilan Gur Ze’ev described as anOrcha:[1] “an improvised moment that is to find/create its own destiny.” 

Here, too, Foucault’s observation that there is no sovereign philosophy, but rather a philosophy in activity is instructive.  He writes:

“There is no sovereign philosophy, it’s true, but a philosophy or rather a philosophy in activity.  The movement by which, not without effort and uncertainty, dreams and illusions, one detaches oneself from what is accepted as true and seeks other rules – that is philosophy.   The displacement and transformation of frameworks of thinking, the changing of received values and all the work that has been done to think otherwise, to do something else, to become other than what one is – that too is philosophy.”[2]


It Always Begins & Ends with Questions


What is this ‘unhappiness’ that study brings, and that we acknowledge with a smile?

Is the philosophy that identifies with and explores this unhappiness part of the tradition that gave us what DuBois calls ‘the sorrow songs’ and we might call the blues?


What might philosophy as ‘soul music’ μουσική (mousikesound like today?


If education remains paideia, what are the ways we are ‘turned around’ and/or ‘turned on’ by philosophy?


Finally, to quote Cornel West, “Are you ready for that turning of the soul, that transformation?”


Submission Process

The Program Committee will review only submissions made in accordance with the instructions below. With the exception of the Presidential Address, the Kneller Lecture, and other specially designated invited talks, only those papers reviewed and accepted by the Program Committee, and invited responses to them, will be published in Philosophy of Education 2015 (online only).

Deadline: Papers and proposals must be submitted electronically to pes2015memphis@gmail.comno later than November 1, 2014. Submission instructions appear

Submission Formats


Paper Submissions: Papers may not exceed 4,500 words, including footnotes, and must be written in proper PES form (see the Style Guide). The 4,500-word limit will be strictly enforced. Papers that modestly exceed the 4500-word limit will be subject to editing. Papers that exceed this limit excessively will be subject to rejection without review or to not being published in the PES Yearbook.


Multiple reviewers will review papers blindly. Final decisions on manuscripts rest with the Program Chair. Criteria for review include quality of argument, links to philosophical and philosophy of education literature and to education policy and practice, quality of expression, and importance of the contribution. Please make sure that references to your name, institutional affiliation, or work (e.g., “As I have argued on many occasions…”) are omitted from the paper, including the notes. Your identifying information will not be available to reviewers.

Alternative Presentation Submissions: Proposals may not exceed 1,000 words, including references. If the session being proposed involves multiple presenters, please specify the contribution of each presenter. Alternative Sessions will be scheduled concurrently with paper sessions. Examples include author meets critics, thematic symposia, performances, and conversations on issues.  Criteria for review include originality and clarity of motivating question or idea, potential interaction with session attendees, and relevance/importance to educational philosophy, and the session’s connection to the conference theme.


Papers and/or proposals should be submitted as a Word attachment to pes2015memphis@gmail.comby November 1, 2014.


In the body of your e-mail, please provide the following contact information:
• Name
• Institutional Affiliation
• Email address
• Phone number
• Mailing address


Submissions will be accepted beginning September 15, 2014. An e-mail confirmation that your submission has been received will be sent within two business days.

Note: If you do not receive an email confirmation within two business days of your submission, please contact Eduardo Duarte


Respondents and Chairs

Members of PES who are interested in serving as session chairs or respondents are invited to contact the Program Chair, Eduardo Duarte at Please specify your areas of expertise and provide your full contact information (mailing address, email address, and phone number).


Contributing Editors, Program Committee:

Rene Arcilla, NYU

Barbara Applebaum, Syracuse

Gert Biesta, Luxemberg

Ann Chinnery, Simon Fraser

Darryl DeMarzio, Scranton*

Denise Egea, LSU

Dan Fisherman, Montclair State

Kevin Gary, Goshen College

David Hansen, TC

Mary Jo Hinsdale,  Westminster College

Jessica Hochman, Pratt

Glenn Hudak, UNC Greensboro

Natasha Levinson, Kent State

Tyson Lewis, University of North Texas

Brad Rowe, South Florida

Sasha Sidorkin, NRU Higher School of Economics

Amy Shuffelton, Loyola (Chicago)

Audrey Thompson, Utah

Sally Sayles, Syracuse

Mike Schapira, TC

James Stillwaggon, Iona

Susan Verducci, San Jose State

Quentin Wheeler-Bell, Kent State

Jason Wozniak, TC


[2] Michel Foucault, “The Masked Philosopher,” Notes on Power and Culture, p. 330.

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