An International Philosophical Project
This conference is dedicated to all those who have fallen victim to the superiorist violence we are trying to understand in our collaborative work.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
It seems Western thought, to this day, has not sufficiently recognized its superioristic danger as the danger that it is! When considering contemporary contexts, this danger remains real. The foreign, the other, is stigmatized or re-stigmatized. Western thought remains dangerous. The West must finally take this seriously and critically evaluate its value as a normative authority. It would hardly be surprising if we indeed find that a lot of contemporary problems have grown forth from the pseudo-self-evident superiority of the white, heterosexual, male human being many of the Enlightenment thinkers tried so vigorously to defend by manipulating philosophy. The West needs to understand itself, needs to understand all the intricacies of its superiorism, its superalternity and finally start working on the desuperiorization of its thought.
We want to stimulate a discussion that Western thought must understand that its central task must be its Desuperiorization. We need to establish Superaltern Studies. We need to understand the superiorism of Western thought. We need to understand it deeply to be able to identify and avoid it. We need to understand why Western thought and Western action so often brought exploitation and humiliation with it. The Enlightenment did not only introduce a new understanding of the value of the human being, it also introduced a new level of dehumanization. Philosophy did not only argue to treat all human beings humanely, it – implicitly and explicitly – worked at the same time on reducing the numbers of those who were human enough to be treated humanely. This seems to have been one the most important intellectual self-deception moves that enabled so many philosophers to be humanist and anti-humanist at the same time: to simply disregard the humanness of those mistreated.
We want to understand how superiorism has, and continues to play out, in terms of the colonialism and neocolonialism that has continued to affect much of the global south. We need to see how decoloniality expresses itself, and should express itself, as a necessary response to superiorization and inferiorization, as well as the psychological baggage that comes with it. We need to also examine the epistemological effects of superiorization, which has presented itself in what scholars have termed "epistemic injustice", "epistemic harm", and/or "epistemic violence". How has this affected scholarship and knowledge production and must it be resisted? How do we balance identity and pride with the devastating effects of superiorization and Othering?
We are committed to accessibility. We would thus be very thankful if you could let us know if you have any accessibility needs. We would then try to find a solution that will allow you to participate without any difficulty!
ROBERT BERNASCONI (HE/HIM)
Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies, Pennsylvania State University
BENDA HOFMEYR (SHE/HER)
University of Pretoria, Department of Philosophy
ELVIS IMAFIDON (HE/HIM)
SOAS University of London, Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies
VELI MITOVA (SHE/HER)
Professor in Philosophy and Director of the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (ACEPS), University of Johannesburg
WOLBERT C. G. SMIDT (HE/HIM)
University of Jena
BOAVENTURA DES SANTOS SOUSA (HE/HIM)
University of Coimbra
University of Wisconsin-Madison
NATSU TAYLOR SAITO (SHE/HERS)
Regents Professor and Professor of Law
Georgia State University College of Law
Conversational Society of Philosophy