PES 2022 Conference

Theme: Philosophy (of Education) in Contact Zones

March 9-14, 2022
San Jose, California

Deadline for Submissions: November 1, 2021

Call for Proposals

For 2022, we focus on philosophical engagement in “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today” – spaces that critical modern language theorist Mary Louise Pratt defined as “contact zones” (1990, 34).

Contact zones are shaped by the violences of coloniality and racism in contradiction to the proclaimed values of truth, respect, justice, and democracy within public and private institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities. At the same time, contact zones are shaped by what Pratt defined as the “transculturation” phenomena, the emergence of new literacies that embody resistant and transformative values, aspirations and understandings of space and time, of peoples and communities. Following Paulo Freire’s path, we understand contact zones as these places where the critical reading and writing of words gets geared into the critical reading and writing of new ways of being, new communities, and new worlds into existence.

We understand schools, colleges, universities, and classrooms as contact zones. We understand language and literacy as contact zones. We understand social, legal, professional, and religious institutions along with the quotidian practices of everyday life as contact zones. We understand digital media and cultural productions as contact zones. We understand philosophy (of education) as a contact zone.

Contact zones are haunted, fraught, and fecund. They are crossroads of encounter and movement, locations of touch and proximity, sites of negotiation and contestation. Contact zones bring people into relation across axes of power and ideology, across chasms in life opportunities, across ways of being. The friction of contact can be painful, and an excess of contact can be suffocating, immobilizing, even deadly. But some friction yields the pleasures of relation and love, of new possibilities for being.

What does philosophizing in contact zones look like? What does the work of philosophers (of education) reveal in contact zones?

Further, we might ask (not to be exhaustive):  What is revealed in the (mis)educative experiences that unfold in contact zones? What is revealed in the racial, gender, and class struggles that shape labor, including that in schools? What is revealed as teachers lead efforts to reassert the power of unions and the needs of children? What is revealed about the operations of white supremacy, nationalisms, and the globalization of capital? What is revealed as activists assert anti-racism justice-driven agendas for communities, schools, housing, and medical care? What is revealed as teachers and students cope with the impacts of coloniality, racism, and economic exploitation through healing and culturally sustaining pedagogical responses? What is revealed in the accelerating damage to the web of life and the climate crisis, and in the efforts of youth to reassert the ecological understandings of relation, care, and responsibility demonstrated by their wise elders? What is revealed in the debates concerning humanisms and racisms, concerning Blackness and Indigeneity, concerning gender, sexuality, queer and feminist critique, concerning language and literacies, concerning art and experience?

We wonder what is revealed in these contact zones about the resistance to and transformations of coloniality and racism, the remixing of time and the recreation of place that enable the reading and writing of words to become the remaking of worlds and formation of new ways of being.

What do/can/should philosophers (of education) bring into and contribute within contact zones?

What do/can/should philosophers (of education) learn from/with/in contact zones?

We look forward to a conference that expands and deepens the field of philosophy of education by placing diverse forms of theorizing and producing knowledge into creative dialogue on these and other matters of interest to philosophers of education everywhere.

Mary Louise Pratt, Arts of the Contact Zone. Profession. (1991), pp. 33-40. Keynote address, Responsibilities for Literacy conference, Pittsburgh, PA, September 1990. Published by the Modern Language Association, Stable URL:


Submissions (papers and proposals) are invited on any topic and any theoretical perspective of interest and importance to philosophy of education whether or not they focus on or are of direct relevance to the conference theme. The Philosophy of Education Society annual conference general and concurrent sessions, as well as alternative sessions, are meant to highlight areas of both emergent and enduring interest to the broader field.

Only members of the Philosophy of Education Society may present papers, responses, chair sessions and otherwise appear on the program of the annual conference; however one need not be a member of PES to submit a paper or proposal to the conference for consideration. If papers/proposals are accepted, authors would need to join PES to be included into the program.

Deadline for all submissions: November 1, 2021 (submission information and links will be available on the conference’s website during the summer of 2021)

General and concurrent session papers reviewed and accepted by the Program Committee, and invited responses to them, are published in Philosophy of Education, the Society’s Quarterly journal. The Conference Program Committee members serve in dual roles as members of the 2022 Journal Review Board, and the conference program co-chairs serve as Guest Editors of that volume.

Paper Submissions: Papers may not exceed 4,500 words, including footnotes, and must be written in proper PES form (see the Style Guide - PES Manuscript Formatting Guidelines for Authors.pdf). The 4,500-word limit will be strictly enforced. Papers that modestly exceed the 4,500-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 Philosophy of Education.

Multiple reviewers will review papers blindly. Final decisions on manuscripts rest with the Program Chairs in an ex officio role as journal Editors. Criteria for review include quality of argument and expression, significance of the contribution, and fruitfulness of links to philosophy, philosophy of education, education policy, and educational practice.

Authors should make certain that references to their name, institutional affiliation, or work (e.g., “As I have argued on many occasions…”) are omitted from the paper, including the notes. Authors’ identifying information will not be available to reviewers.

Additional Philosophy of Education Society Publication Option GroundWorks is a PES publication that seeks to showcase and disseminate philosophical responses to educational issues; it aims to bring philosophical thinking to bear on pressing, controversial, or significant aspects of education and schooling. This year, in addition to submissions being considered for publication within the PES quarterly journal, Philosophy of Education, authors are invited to indicate at the time of submission whether they would like their document considered for separate development as a published GroundWorks paper. Within the standard submission portal, authors may also submit a freestanding paper (i.e., not for review as a conference presentation) solely for consideration by GroundWorks.

Selected authors will be invited to work with the GroundWorks editor, Cara Furman, to develop a short paper (under 3000 words) and an Op-Ed (under 1000 words) addressing the themes of that work as written for a public audience.

Other Submission Types

Alternative session/presentation/cultural action proposals:

Proposals may not exceed 1,000 words, including references. If the session being proposed involves multiple presenters, please specify the contribution of each presenter. In some cases, alternative session presentations may be invited to submit revised papers for full review in advance of potential publication within the journal. Proposals for cultural action (including, but not limited to, works of literary, visual and performing arts) will be accepted.

Alternative Sessions:

Examples include roundtables, ‘author-meets-critics’ panels, performances, interviews, and panel conversations on issues. Examples of cultural action include poetry (written or spoken word), works of visual art, film, music, and so on. Criteria for review of all alternative sessions and works include originality and clarity of motivating question or idea, potential interaction with session attendees, and relevance/importance to educational philosophy and educational policy and practice. Alternative sessions may be scheduled concurrently with paper sessions or in separate time slots. Cultural actions will be

Work-in-Progress Sessions:

These sessions will group scholars with work-in-progress in an informal collaborative setting. Proposals should detail the question or claim being investigated, relevant sources/resources, likely direction, and mode(s) of analysis. Criteria for review include clarity and significance of the question/claim, suitability of sources/resources, suitability of mode(s) of analysis, and potential for thinking anew about issues in the field of educational philosophy.

Writing within the Contact Zone: A Public Facing Philosophy PES Pre-Conference

Building on the PES conference theme and sustained interest within the PES community in various forms of public facing philosophy, and in collaboration with the PES public facing journal GroundWorks and the Committee on Professional Affairs (COPA), this year’s pre-conference is devoted to exploring engagement with practitioners with special interest in actively combatting the “asymmetrical relations of power” that such engagements risk (Pratt, 1990, 34).

Embodying the contact zone, the pre-conference will offer time, space, and intention, for fruitful contact. We invite those who identify as philosophers of education to join with “practitioners” as thought-partners and co-authors, and to share space with other collaborative teams. We define practitioners and thought-partners broadly as school and community based professionals working in youth formation, advocacy, and social services. Knowing that such collaborations are both productive and challenging, the pre-conference will celebrate and support participants as they work towards a publication. We encourage scholars with experience in collaboration with practitioners as well as those for whom this may be a new direction. You can find the full call and timeline here. Please send all submissions and queries to Cara Furman:

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