Thursday, October 13, 2011

A CSCP Roundup

Over the previous weekend I attended this year's meeting of Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy in St. John's, Newfoundland. Which brought with it a number of firsts, including the first time I had participated in a CSCP conference, and first time I had traveled that far east--at one point I visited Cape Spear--in North America. I found the locals--the organizers and participants from Memorial University--and the CSCP committee to be a welcoming and hospitable bunch, and most importantly, I left the conference feeling that I wanted to dive into more:  more reading, more writing. A paper here, a book review there, and an abstract for the first annual SSNA meeting.

The conference ended, on Saturday night, with a panel on the 'Theological-Political Schelling,' featuring papers by Joseph Carew and myself with Sean McGrath and James Bradley of Memorial. Sean likes to say that one of the great benefits of Schelling research is that everybody has their own favored 'period' of his thought, which means a plurality of Schellings (Sean's comment is actually wittier), and this panel was no exception.

Nevertheless, it stands out in my mind as the first time that an important conference event (for instance, a concluding panel on a Saturday night) that I had participated in, at a big tent thing like the CSCP, was oriented around Schelling. It, of course, is not the first time for others, but it provided a stark contrast with those three years during which I was writing my dissertation and later book. During that time, I don't think I ever gave a paper at a conference that had more than one paper on Schelling. This sounds like a complaint, but I would like to stress that it seems that Schelling has slowly become a more prominent figure for those who are interested in German idealism in particular (recall that many of these scholars still say 'German idealism' and mean "Kant or Hegel maybe Fichte") and 'continental' philosophy in general. Until the CSCP I had never received that impression.

Before closing, I must thank Peter Gratton for his hospitality during my stay in St. John's, and also the APTPUO (the part-timer's union at the University of Ottawa) for funding my travel.

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