Monday, October 18, 2010

CFP: Rethinking Reification


Panel to be held at the 2011 meeting of the Society for Existential and Phe-nomenological Theory and Culture, May 31–June 3, at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, in conjunction with the Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

For much of the twentieth century, the concept of reification was a powerful tool in the intellectual arsenal of Marxist social critique. Beginning with Georg Luk√°cs, and continuing through the work of figures such as Horkheimer, Ador-no, and Marcuse, the concept provided critical social theory with an incisive analytical capacity that also lent normative support to emancipatory goals. Along with much of the conceptual apparatus of Marxism, however, during the latter decades of the twentieth century the idea of reification grew increasingly marginalized within humanistic and social-scientific disciplines. With the new century, though, there are signs of renewed interest in the concept—for exam-ple, Timothy Bewes’ Reification, or the Anxiety of Late Capitalism (2002), Axel Honneth’s Reification: A New Look at an Old Idea (2008), and Kevin Floyd’s The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism (2009). While such contribu-tions differ considerably in terms of their disciplinary foci and underlying theo-retical commitments, they nonetheless jointly attest to the idea that there may be an important place for a renewed concept of reification within contempo-rary critical social theory. The aim of this panel is to explore — from phenome-nological and existential perspectives — the potential value and feasibility of such a conceptual retrieval. Papers may address any aspect of reification, al-though those with a contemporary focus and/or interdisciplinary approach are especially welcome.

Paper proposals should be sent to Bryan Smyth ( by December 1, 2010. Proposals should include the title, author’s name, institu-tional affiliation, and a detailed abstract of approximately 250 words. Propos-als will be initially reviewed by the panel organizers, and acceptance will be conditional upon the author’s ability to submit a complete paper (not more than 4000 words) by February 1, 2011 for anonymous review.

For further information, contact Bryan Smyth (