Spindel Conference Sept. 25-27 Will Examine Race, Racism, and Liberalism University News
For release: September 22, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

When distinguished scholars of philosophy gather in Memphis this week for the 2008 Spindel Conference, they will debate emerging and critical issues concerning the future of racism and the discussion of race. “Race, Racism, and Liberalism in the 21st Century” is the theme for the annual conference, Sept. 25-27, hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Memphis. 

“Race and race relations are highlighted at this moment in history, given the political ascendancy of Barack Obama as a presidential candidate,” said conference director Dr. Bill E. Lawson, distinguished professor of philosophy and a scholar in the study of race, racism, and liberalism. “While the conference does not focus on Obama’s candidacy, it cannot be overlooked as a factor in race relations and our understanding of race relations in the country’s future.”

Philosophers participating in the 2008 Spindel Conference are experts in the study of African-American philosophy, race theory, and feminist ethics. During three days of symposia, scholars will wrestle with the questions affecting a changing America: Will the 21st century be remembered as the century when the concept of race was put to rest?  And how should the “browning” of America be understood?  Lawson said these are critical questions that must be addressed.

In addition to Lawson, presenters will include Howard McGary of Rutgers, Paul Taylor of Temple University, Kathryn T. Gines of Vanderbilt, Naomi Zack from the University of Oregon, Linda Martin Alcoff of Syracuse University, Bernard Boxill from the University of North Carolina, Charles Mills  from Northwestern University,  and Tommy Shelby of Harvard.

Since 1981, a select group of philosophers, experts on special topics in philosophy, have met at the University of Memphis to present papers and comment on a wide range of philosophical questions.  Now in its 27th year, the Spindel Conference has established itself as one of the most distinguished philosophy conferences in the nation. The papers and commentaries presented during the conference are published in the annual Spindel Conference Supplement to the Southern Journal of Philosophy. Spindel Conference Supplements are widely regarded as containing cutting-edge scholarly papers on specific philosophical issues and are used worldwide by scholars for their research and as texts for graduate courses.

More information is available by phone at 901-678-2535, via e-mail at belawson@memphis.edu, or online at cas.memphis.edu/philosophy/Spindel_2008.htm

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