Conference Call for Proposals

2016 Annual Meeting
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society (OVPES)
September 16–18, 2016
Dayton, Ohio

Proposals due: May 15, 2016

Articulating and Performing a Philosophy of Activism: How Are We to Reclaim Education from the Menacing Neoliberal Beast?

The President and Program Committee of the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society (OVPES) invite proposals that broadly interpret the theme—Articulating and Performing a Philosophy of Activism: How Are We to Reclaim Education from the Menacing Neoliberal Beast?—for its annual meeting, to be held at the Bergamo Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, Thursday through Saturday, September 16–18, 2016.

Here in the Ohio Valley and stretching across the U.S., public education has long been under stealth neoliberal assault at the hands of the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its well-funded band of merry corporate members through its support of “school-choice” organizations. ALEC is, of course, the same weighty influence that conspires “to dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote [through its successful campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act], and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers—each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it.”1 Perhaps you’ve noticed a marked uptick in the number of times you hear the Walton Family Foundation’s sponsorship on NPR2 in a largely uncriticized attempt to normalize its name among the left-leaning with its “pro-education” message. These are among the powerful discourses demeaning U.S. public education heavily afoot.

Although the “crisis” in public education is arguably a nearly entirely manufactured political phenomenon, it becomes more difficult to shrug off “crisis” as mere rhetoric, particularly given recent and anticipated changes to higher education. As I write, in Illinois the budget impasse, stalemate, trainwreck, threatens our colleagues’ livelihoods, indicative of the “business-focused” governor’s un-secret, hell-bent, neoliberal agenda to privatize higher education. HBCU Chicago State faculty recently received pink slips and in the last few days have been told to turn in their keys, while IL system directional schools have cut whole programs, faculty, and staff and are instituting furloughs. Panicked students are fleeing hard-hit IL publics for institutions perceived as fiscally “sound.” Steve Mims’ recently debuted film at SXSW, Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities, created a wave by exposing the insidious, “coordinated assault on public higher education…going on right now across the country.” As a result, while I would much prefer to offer an OVPES annual meeting theme focused upon hope, on inspiration, on education’s place in the greater good and for the benefit of humanity, with such change afoot—and given so much deserved worry and anxiety over the future of public higher education in particular—what better time to challenge the pens and voices of us colleagues? So, I challenge us to think through, to cogitate and ideate upon, to plot and plan and ploy a philosopher’s activism so we may together lead and inspire the reclamation of education from the menacing neoliberal beast.

The OVPES annual meeting’s President and Program Committee invite proposals that engage the theme directly, as well as those proposals that do so more obliquely—or not at all, come to that; please propose whatever work you are doing currently, mindful of what you would like to gain from arguing it before a social, critical, supportive community of colleagues. All authors are encouraged to consider OVPES as a site for engaging their best and latest thinking in a critical and uniquely social environment of mutual benefit. Let us come together to expand each others’ thinking, strengthen our philosophical networks, enjoy the company of critical colleagues, and create something new.

PRESENTATION FORMAT, DEADLINE AND NOTIFICATION: Proposals for individual papers, alternative sessions, and panels or symposia involving two or three speakers on a single topic are welcomed. All proposals should be blinded of all author details and will undergo peer review. (See Conference Proposal Guidelines, which follow). Submissions should be made via email with proposals attached as Word documents (.doc or .docx format). All proposals should be received on or before May 15, 2016. Submit to: Dr. Eric Sheffield, Program Chair, at Proposals accepted for presentation at the conference will be notified by June 30, 2016.

FINAL PAPERS AND JOURNAL CONSIDERATION: Full-length conference papers should be no longer than 4500 words, including footnotes, following the Chicago Manual of Style. Papers presented at the conference and meeting all the editorial requirements will be considered for publication in Volume 47 of Philosophical Studies in Education, the refereed journal of OVPES, following a separate, peer review process. Conference participants should submit their final papers to session moderators in advance of the conference; final papers are due to the journal’s Contributing Editor in late fall 2016 for consideration in the journal (see manuscript requirements at

PART 1: In the body of your email message, please indicate:
1. Proposal title
2. Presentation format (e.g., paper session, panel, symposium, or alternate format)
3. Your name, title, and institutional affiliation (as you would like it listed/spelled on the program; this should be the main contact person)
4. Your address, phone, and email
5. The name(s) of other authors or presenters, if applicable (as you would like them listed/spelled on the program)
6. An abstract of up to 100 words
7. The subject of your email message should read “OVPES 2016 Proposal”
PART 2: In a Word attachment:
8. Indicate the proposal title and presentation format
9. Provide a summary of up to 500 words. Describe how you will address your topic and/or its line of argument, explain its significance, and indicate several major references you will draw upon to make your argument and to place it into scholarly conversation. Make the connection to philosophy of education clear, and if applicable, explain how your proposal relates to the conference theme.
10. Remove all author-identifying markers, including references to your prior work
11. The Program Committee reserves the right to request you resubmit electronic proposals, submit them in the body of an email message, or submit a paper copy within a reasonable time frame in case of technical problems with electronic submission
12. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your electronic submission

1 Bill Moyers, United States of ALEC, Moyers & Co. [television program transcript], 28 September 2012, accessed 5 August 2013,
2 Diane Ravitch, Diane Ravitch’s Blog, 29 April 2014, accessed 30 March 2016,