questions of ontology - what is Being, how is it articulated in
beings - are generally understood as merely theoretical abstractions
that never reach the concrete world. It is clear, however, that
the practices and habits of various secular, religious, literary,
legal, and philosophical traditions are often grounded in particular
and complex understandings of what Being is and how human beings
are related to its unfolding. Because new forms of authority and
power appropriate sources of legitimation grounded in specific traditions,
it is necessary to bring different traditions into dialogue on the
specific question of their respective ontological articulations.
Bringing to light the different and various ways in which these
ontologies (grounded in and informed by different historical traditions)
enable and facilitate contemporary social, legal, literary and political
practices, and how these practices organize power relations within
cultures (globally and locally), is a central and controlling concern
for our time.
Ontology is not just a theoretical
picture; it is always situated within a given tradition (or traditions)
as a determinate concrete program based on particular conceptions
of what Being is and how it is intrinsically and complexly ordered.
Traditions, as engaged practices in the world, work to develop and
flesh out an ontological picture - ontologies are always and already
in practice. This conference possesses three primary aims.
First, to provide a space in which different traditions (and perspectives
within a tradition) are able to identify, characterize and express
ontological understandings and basic commitments about existence.
The second aim is to analyze and trace how questions of Being (articulated
within a tradition(s)) are expressed in specific practices. The
third aim is to examine how certain cultural practices structure
various occlusions and insights of ontological possibilities.
Azadpur, Johns Hopkins University
Groenhout, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hardt, Duke University
Kaufman, University of Virginia
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota
B. Madison, McMaster University
Milbank, University of Virginia
Negri, Independent Researcher
in Rome, Italy
Ochs, University of Virginia
Prabhu, California State University, Los Angeles
Sachedina, University of Virginia
Schwartz, Northwestern University
Surin, Duke University
Zizek, University of Ljubljana