November 12-15, 2015
Salisbury University (Salisbury, Maryland)
In recent years, the problems and contradictions intrinsic to capitalist
society have resulted in a number of manifest, seemingly permanent, crises.
Many researchers, academics, and activists have seized on the urgency of
recent coalescing crises—from environmental degradation to economic
inequality, political instability to social unravelling, and beyond—in an
attempt to ameliorate and analyze the consequences of these dilapidated
social relations. The work of Herbert Marcuse aims to radically re-envision
social relations via critical theory as a way to formulate a praxis of
liberation. However, if we live in a society, as Marcuse puts it, “without
negation,” how shall this critical rationality be cultivated?
The International Herbert Marcuse Society seeks papers for the 2015
biennial conference, “Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the
University,” that address the broad pedagogical concerns of cultivating
emancipatory rationality. Papers may want to address, but are certainly not
limited to, the following problematics:
● What role can and should critical pedagogy play in today’s
institutions of higher education? Given Marcuse’s emphasis on praxis,
critical pedagogy cannot be limited to classroom space in universities –
how can a critical rationality translate into programs of activism,
agitation, and organization?
● How is the work of Marcuse, the Frankfurt School, and/or critical
theory generally relevant to the current context of political, social,
economic, and cultural struggles?
● What is the meaning of praxis and critique today? Do Marcuse’s
contemporary interlocutors help us refine, understand, recast, or critique
visions of a critical rationality?
● What can we learn from activists and scholars from a wide range of
critical theories, dealing with liberation in areas such as critical race
theory, intersectionality, LGBTQIA studies, disability studies, and
● How does Marcuse’s critical theory provide a lens through which to
assess the current condition of advanced industrial society?
*Student participation: *Conference organizers Sarah Surak (
firstname.lastname@example.org) and Robert Kirsch (email@example.com) are
particularly interested in encouraging undergraduate and graduate student
participation. To this end we encourage faculty to teach related or special
topics classes in fall 2015 to bring students of all levels to the
conference. Undergraduate students will present papers in special
concurrent sessions. Undergraduate and graduate students will have the
opportunity to submit conference papers for publication to special