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Inaugural University of Leeds Graduate Political Theory Conference

Within anglophone debates in political theory, the ideal-nonideal paradigm remains dominant. Broadening beyond Rawls’ initial distinction between full compliance and noncompliance, the ideal-nonideal binary places theories that begin from certain assumptions about society in relation to those that begin by accepting society “as it is”. Despite disagreement over the limits of ideal and/or nonideal theory, these debates nevertheless serve to reproduce the dominance of the ideal- nonideal paradigm and obscure alternative approaches to political theory. The aim of our conference is to dislodge the ubiquity of the ideal/nonideal framework and showcase alternative epistemologies and methodologies that sit entirely outside the ideal and nonideal approach. Within the history of political philosophy, the ‘continental tradition’ provides a wealth of alternative approaches. To name a few, Hannah Arendt, following Heidegger’s and Jaspers’s phenomenology, developed an original account of the political as an action in concert that brings novelty into the world. From a phenomenological perspective as well, Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon respectively gave an account of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be racialized. On another level, philosophers such as Nancy Fraser moved beyond the ideal- nonideal paradigm in order to provide a theory of justice rooted in critical theory. In addition to a keynote lecture given by Linda Zerilli (University of Chicago), this event will feature talks by PhD students. Please check the CfP for submission details.  Submissions are due by May 30, 2021.


Leeds, United Kingdom


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