Shifting the Geography of Reason XIV: Theorizing Livity, Decolonizing Freedom Jamaica – Summer 2017

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Shifting the Geography of Reason XIV: Theorizing Livity, Decolonizing Freedom Jamaica – Summer 2017

Jamaican Rastafari coined the neologism “livity” to denote a particular “way of life,” a righteous “way of life.” Comprehensive in scope, livity can refer to dietary habits, personal aesthetics, and/or the various beliefs, whether secular or metaphysical, that guide our actions in the everyday lifeworld. An unreservedly normative concept, livity concerns our daily existence as well as our most fundamental relationships – specifically, our relationships with nature, other human beings, and the divine, broadly conceived. The concept of livity calls into question the hegemonic conception of freedom – a largely colonial conception – which has been articulated and practiced in terms of hyper-individualism, insatiable acquisitiveness, and the will to domination. This is of particular salience in the modern Caribbean, which has been shaped by conquest, slavery, global capitalism, and the neoliberal turn as well as abolition, political independence, and the ongoing struggle for decolonization. To equate “liberation” or “emancipation” with this conception of freedom, therefore, belies the complexity of the decolonial project and risks further colonization.

We encourage proposals that explore these two themes – livity and freedom – and we invite, as always, proposals that otherwise reflect our commitment to “shift the geography of reason.” Submit your proposals online at by by Monday, December 19th and please include the full name, email address, institutional affiliation, and paper title of each potential participant. (Proposals from independent scholars are also encouraged.) Questions about this conference should be directed to Additional details, including specific dates and location, are forthcoming.

Founded in 2003 in Mona, Jamaica, the principal goal of the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) is to support the free exchange of ideas and foster an intellectual community that is truly representative of the diversity of voices and perspectives that is paradigmatic of, but not limited to, the Caribbean. The Caribbean is thus understood not solely as a geopolitical region, but as a trope to investigate dimensions of the multiple undersides of modernity. Likewise, philosophy is conceived, not as an isolated academic discipline, but as rigorous theoretical reflection about fundamental problems faced by humanity. Understood in this way, Caribbean philosophy is a transdisciplinary form of interrogation aiming to elucidate fundamental questions that emerge with discovery, conquest, racial, gender, and sexual domination, genocide, dependency, and exploitation as well as freedom, emancipation, and decolonization.

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