CFP – Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University

International Herbert Marcuse Society Sixth Biennial Conference

Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University

12-15 November 2015, Salisbury University (Salisbury, Maryland, USA)

CALL FOR PAPERS: Abstracts due May 20, 2015

gskiido004In recent years, the problems and contradictions intrinsic to capitalist society have resulted in a number of manifest, seemingly permanent, crises. Many researchers, academics, and activists have seized on the urgency of recent coalescing crises—from environmental degradation to economic inequality, political instability to social unraveling, and beyond—in an attempt to ameliorate and analyze the consequences of these dilapidated social relations. The work of Herbert Marcuse aims to radically re-envision social relations via critical theory as a way to formulate a praxis of liberation. However, if we live in a society, as Marcuse puts it, “without negation,” how shall this critical rationality be cultivated?

The International Herbert Marcuse Society seeks papers for the 2015 biennial conference, “Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University,” that address the broad pedagogical concerns of cultivating emancipatory rationality. Faculty, independent scholars, activists, artists, and others are invited to submit papers. Papers may want to address, but are certainly not limited to, the following problematics:

●     What role can and should critical pedagogy play in today’s institutions of higher education? Given Marcuse’s emphasis on praxis, critical pedagogy cannot be limited to classroom space in universities – how can a critical rationality translate into programs of activism, agitation, and organization?

●     How is the work of Marcuse, the Frankfurt School, and/or critical theory generally relevant to the current context of political, social, economic, and cultural struggles?

●     What is the meaning of praxis and critique today? Do Marcuse’s contemporary interlocutors help us refine, understand, recast, or critique visions of a critical rationality?

●     What can we learn from activists and scholars from a wide range of critical theories, dealing with liberation in areas such as critical race theory, intersectionality, LGBTQIA studies, disability studies, and postcolonial theory?

●     How does Marcuse’s critical theory provide a lens through which to assess the current condition of advanced industrial society?

Student participation is also encouraged. The conference organizers are particularly interested in encouraging undergraduate and graduate student participation. To this end, we encourage faculty to teach related or special topics classes in fall 2015 and to bring students of all levels to the conference. Undergraduate students are invited to present papers in special concurrent sessions. Undergraduate and graduate students will also have the opportunity to submit conference papers for publication to special conference editions.

This conference is an interdisciplinary, multimedia engagement with the many dimensions of Herbert Marcuse’s work. So, in addition to the presentation of papers, the conference will also present artistic work.

Artistic Presentations:

The Salisbury University Gallery will present two related exhibitions.

The first is “Versprechen, dass es anders sein kann” (Promises that it can be different) by painter Antje Wichtrey.
Salisbury University Gallery Director, Elizabeth Kauffman, will curate the second exhibition.

For more information, contact the conference organizers:

Dr. Sarah Surak ( and Dr. Robert Kirsch (

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