The future of conferencing?
The political philosophy group blog, Public Reason, invites submissions for a semester-long online symposium of papers in political philosophy during Fall 2008. Each week a paper will be podcasted on the website by the author and receive comments in response. Symposium submissions will be subject to a process of blind review by a committee of members of the website. The aim of the symposium is to utilise the tools of the internet to create a peer-reviewed conference experience accessible to every academic in the world, both as a presenter and as a participant. Participation in professional conferences is an important part of any academic’s research activities, but logistical difficulties and expenses can make conference travel very difficult. This is especially the case for academics who wish to collaborate with others at an international level. The function of the symposium is to create an online conference in a format designed to elicit as much feedback from fellow academics as possible whilst creating no significant financial or logistical difficulties for participants
whatsoever. Those selected will be able to present their papers to an unlimited number of colleagues without having to leave their offices. The papers will be presented on a weekly basis to allow a reasonable time period for comments. The papers will be podcasted to make them as accessible as possible to a wide audience.
Selected participants will be expected to do the following:
1. Complete a full draft of the paper by 5 September 2008.
2. Download and use a podcasting application to create an mp3 recording of the paper. (One such application is Audacity, which can be downloaded and used without charge.)
3. Use an ftp application to transfer the mp3 file to the website.
4. Join the site as a member and publish a post on the website for their assigned day containing both the mp3 podcast and a pdf file of the full draft of the paper.
Although most academics may be unfamiliar with podcasting and blogging software such as Audacity and WordPress, they are in fact remarkably user-friendly. As such, no-one should be inhibited from submitting a proposal because of any inexperience
with the technology. We will also be able to provide some assistance to those who may encounter difficulties in learning how to podcast.
Public Reason is a group blog that has a membership of over one hundred political philosophers and theorists in more than a dozen countries around the world. Any bona fide professional political philosopher or theorist who has completed a doctorate is invited to join the site as a full member. In addition students of political philosophy may join the site as participants. The website welcomes posts from members containing any manner of discussing or engaging in political philosophy. These include conference announcements, calls for papers, working papers, and reading groups, in addition to the podcast symposium. No member is expected to post regularly.
Papers in all areas of political philosophy or political theory are welcome. Although papers should be in English, Public Reason welcomes submissions from academics based in non-Anglophone countries. Submissions from graduate students are also welcome. There is no strict word limit on the length of the final papers, but they should ideally be presentable within roughly an hour. Participants are also free to include powerpoint presentations, or similar media, in their posts.
Please submit a pdf file of an abstract of your paper of no more than 300 words, excluding references, to email@example.com by 31 July 2008. Please submit only one proposal. Abstracts must be prepared for blind review. If you would be willing to comment on a paper, please indicate as such in your email and submit a pdf file of your curriculum vitae, including research interests and publications in political philosophy. Notifications of selections should be made by the end of August and the symposium should start at the end of September. As the symposium is experimental, we may make changes to the format prior to the Fall. Please direct any queries to Simon May (Philosophy, Virginia Tech) at firstname.lastname@example.org.