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  • The Fourth International Conference of
    the Whitehead Research Project

    Claremont Graduate University
    Claremont, California
    December 2-4, 2010

    Featured Speaker: Isabelle Stengers

    In keeping with its mission to analyze the relevance of Whitehead's thought in dialogue with contemporary philosophies, the Whitehead Research Project is sponsoring a conference to explore some of the congruences and tensions between these various attempts to return to speculative thought and to reorient the concept of the thing (or object). This conference will provide the opportunity to identify and work through shared elements and problems, which have been developed by those working in the philosophies of A. N. Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze, Actor-Network-Theory, and Speculative Realism.

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  • General Information

    Contemporary thought is in the process of throwing off the shackles of the 20th century's stubborn intertwining of thought, language, and reality in order, once again, to raise the possibility of an effective version of speculative thought. In doing so, it is moving beyond simplifying and totalizing claims of anti-speculation and anti-metaphysics toward the potentials of "constructivism" and "realism" as genuine philosophical avenues for thought. One common element of these diverse approaches is the importance of enunciating the status and role of 'things' within the world, within thought, and within the relation of thought to the world. In keeping with its mission to analyze the relevance of Whitehead's thought in dialogue with contemporary philosophies, the Whitehead Research Project is sponsoring a conference to explore some of the congruences and tensions between these various attempts to return to speculative thought and to reorient the concept of the thing (or object).

    This conference will provide the opportunity to identify and work through shared elements and problems, which have been developed by those working in the philosophies of A. N. Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze, Actor-Network-Theory, and Speculative Realism. The extensive work of Isabelle Stengers in its relation to Whitehead and Deleuze could be seen as indicative of the milieu which contemporary thought inhabits and the problems it is addressing. The importance of this major re-conceptualization of the demand for a renewed interrogation of the inter-relation of metaphysics and things is also evident in the work of Bruno Latour who has often discussed the importance of the work of both Whitehead and Stengers for his re-description of objects in terms of associations and networks. Speculative Realism has, recently, developed approaches to such questions which have a tensile but productive relationship with the concepts and approaches raised by Whitehead, Stengers, and Latour. This conference will include participants who are influential in all of these fields and its overall aim is to provide an open forum to further these important debates and to produce new modes of thought.

  • Call for Student Papers

    Date: December 2-4, 2010
    Location: Claremont, California
    Submissions Due: Friday, October 1 to

    The Whitehead Research Project (WRP) is hosting a major international event that will provide the opportunity to identify and work through shared elements and problems, which have been developed by those working in the philosophies of A. N. Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze, Actor-Network-Theory, and Speculative Realism. Confirmed attendees include Isabelle Stengers, Donna Haraway, Steven Shaviro and Graham Harman.

    The extensive work of Isabelle Stengers in its relation to Whitehead and Deleuze could be seen as indicative of the milieu which contemporary thought inhabits and the problems it is addressing. The importance of this major re-conceptualization of the demand for a renewed interrogation of the inter-relation of metaphysics and things is also evident in the work of Bruno Latour who has often discussed the importance of the work of both Whitehead and Stengers for his re-description of objects in terms of associations and networks. Speculative Realism has, recently, developed approaches to such questions which have a tensile but productive relationship with the concepts and approaches raised by Whitehead, Stengers, and Latour. This conference will include participants who are influential in all of these fields and its overall aim is to provide an open forum to further these important debates and to produce new modes of thought.

    In particular, we are asking students to focus on the challenges which face contemporary thought in accounting for the peculiar status of diverse things within a robust theoretical (metaphysical) framework which avoids essentialism or the creation of fixed categories of thought or being.

    Specific questions to address are:

    • How can we account for the thingness of things within philosophies of becoming?
    • What kind of metaphysics can meet both the demands of post-structuralist critiques of objects and subjects whilst also accounting for the diversity of things in the contemporary world?

    Submissions should be in the form of full-length papers and must make a philosophical contribution. Accepted papers will be distributed to the conference participants to be read prior to the conference. At the conference, students will have 15 minutes in which to present their ideas. Please include an abstract of no more than 250 words. All papers and abstracts should be sent to the co-organizer of the conference, Professor Roland Faber, no later than October 1st. Submissions should be sent electronically to , and should include:

    1. Your paper (with no identifications of the author within the text)
    2. Abstract (also without identifications)

    A separate cover page with your name, paper title, institutional affiliation, telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address.

  • Participants & Papers

    • Isabelle Stengers (Université Libre de Bruxelles) BIO
    • Michael Austin (University of Newfoundland) BIO
      "The Inner Life of Objects: Speculative Metaphysics for the 21st Century" ABSTRACT
    • Jeffery Bell (Southeastern Louisiana University) BIO
      "Between Realism and Antirealism: Deleuzian Metaphysics in the Style of Whitehead" ABSTRACT
    • Ian Bogost (The Georgia Institute of Technology) BIO
      "Process vs Procedure" ABSTRACT
    • James J. Bono (University at Buffalo) BIO
      "Atomicity, Conformation, Enduring Objects, and "Things": Science and Science Studies after the Whiteheadian Turn" ABSTRACT
    • James Bradley (University of Newfoundland) BIO
      "The Semiotic Object: Speculative Philosophy, Nominalism and Triunity" ABSTRACT
    • Nathan Brown (UC Davis) BIO
      "The Technics of Prehension: On the Photography of Nicolas Baier" ABSTRACT
    • Levi Bryant (Collin College) BIO
      "The Time of the Object: Towards the Ontological Grounds of Withdrawal" ABSTRACT
    • Roland Faber (Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University) BIO
      "Touch: A Philosophical Meditation" ABSTRACT
    • Andrew Goffey (Middlesex University) BIO
      "Magic Capture: Whitehead's Metaphysics as Experimental Activity" ABSTRACT
    • Michael Halewood (University of Essex) BIO
      "Facts as Social Things" ABSTRACT
    • Donna Haraway (University of California at Santa Cruz) BIO
    • Graham Harman (American University in Cairo) BIO
      "Occasion and Process" ABSTRACT
    • Judith Jones (Fordham University) BIO
      "Conatus and Concrescence: Stearns and Whitehead on Individuation" ABSTRACT
    • Beatrice Marovich (Drew University) BIO
      "Of Creaturely Things: Reflections on the Actual Entity" ABSTRACT
    • Melanie Sehgal (Technical University Darmstadt/Europa Universität Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder)) BIO
      "A Situated Metaphysics: Reading Whitehead on Things and History" ABSTRACT
    • Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University) BIO
      "Consequences of Panpsychism" ABSTRACT
  • Schedule

    Unless otherwise noted, all events will be held a Albrecht Auditorium, CGU.

    Thursday, December 2nd

    6:30-8:00pm

    Welcome: Roland Faber

    PUBLIC LECTURE I
    Isabelle Stengers

    Respondent: Donna Haraway

    8:15pm

    Dinner (for presenters)
    School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

    Friday, December 3rd

    8:30am

    Breakfast (for presenters and paid registrants)

    9:00-10:30am

    DOUBLE LECTURE
    Jeffrey Bell
    Michael Halewood

    Moderator: Nathan Brown

    10:30-11:00am

    Break

    11:00-12:30pm

    DOUBLE LECTURE
    Levi Bryant
    Roland Faber

    Moderator: Luke Higgins

    12:30-2:00pm

    Lunch  (for presenters and paid registrants)

    2:00-3:30pm

    DOUBLE LECTURE
    James Bono
    Andrew Goffey

    Moderator: Ian Bogost

    3:30-4:00pm

    Break

    4:00-5:30pm

    STUDENT PANEL
    Michael Austin
    Beatrice Marovich
    Melanie Sehgal

    Moderator: Richard Livingston

    5:30-6:30pm

    Break

    6:30-8:00pm

    PUBLIC LECTURE II
    Steven Shaviro & Graham Harman

    Moderator: Jim Bradley

    8:15pm

    Dinner (for presenters)
    School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

    Saturday, December 4th

    8:30am

    Breakfast (for presenters and paid registrants)

    9:00-10:30am

    DOUBLE LECTURE
    Jude Jones
    James Bradley

    Moderator: TBA

    10:30-11:00am

    Break

    11:00-12:30pm

    DOUBLE LECTURE
    Ian Bogost
    Nathan Brown

    Moderator: Andrew Goffey

    12:30-1:30pm

    Lunch (for presenters and paid registrants)

  • Registration

    1. The public lectures are free, open to the public, and do not require registration.
    2. Registration is free for faculty, students, and staff of the Claremont Colleges and Claremont School of Theology.
    3. For all other individuals, the fees are as follows:
      Entire Conference: $125 | Daily Rate: $50

    Registration provides the following: participation in the non-public portions of the conference, the opportunity to engage in the discussions of the panelists, snacks and lunch each day, and a conference packet with a copy of each of the papers written by the panelists.

    REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

  • Logistics

    Conference Locations

    The conference will be held in Albrecht Auditorium (in Stauffer Hall) on the campus of Claremont Graduate University. Click here for a map of and directions to campus, a google map, or a mapquest map.

    Conference Meals

    Provided meals will be creative, local, vegetarian/vegan fare; food that lets us "put our metaphysics where our mouth is!"

    Hotel Information

    Either of the following hotels should be able to nicely accommodate most any of your needs: The Doubletree Hotel Claremont or the Hotel Claremont & Tennis Club. The Doubletree is within walking distance of campus, but both are equally recommended. Shuttle service to and from the airport is available, and service to and from CGU will be provided for conference registrants.

    Contact Us

    Click here to submit a question or comment online.

    Offline Contact Information

    Whitehead Research Project
    Attn: Metaphysics & Things Conference
    1325 North College Ave.
    Claremont, CA 91711
    Phone: (909) 621-5330
    Fax: (909) 621-2760

    Our office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST.

  • Sponsors

    We would like to express our appreciation to the following:

    • Whitehead Research Project info | website
    • The Center for Process Studies info | website
    • Claremont School of Theology info | website
    • Thornton F. Bradshaw Endowment Fund at CGU info | website
    • School of Arts & Humanities at CGU info | website
    • The School of Religion at CGU info | website
    • Transdisciplinary Studies at CGU info | website
  • Photos

    stengersIsabelle Stengers
    austin Michael Halewood
    marovichBeatrice Marovich
    bradleyJames Bradley