Call for abstracts: Southern African Society of Environmental Philosophy (SASEP) inaugural conference | 22 -24 March 2024

Venue: Nombolo Mdhluli Conference Centre, Skukuza camp, Kruger National Park

Thanks to a generous grant for the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, alongside the School of Philosophy and the Institute for Contemporary Ethics (contemporaryethics.org) at the North-West University, we are able to establish the Southern African Society of Environmental Philosophy (SASEP) and host an inaugural conference. 

SASEP hopes to bring philosophers and others from tangential fields (e.g. such as environmental and animal law, conservation, environmental management) together to consider issues related broadly to the environment and its inhabitants. Furthermore, SASEP, and its associated conferences, will provide space for established and emerging environmental philosophers from Southern Africa and beyond to share their research and exchange ideas that focus on all aspects of the environment from  philosophical perspectives. The society will welcome a diverse range of philosophical approaches, and also encourage interdisciplinary dialogue with those from nascent academic disciplines, such as the environmental sciences, social sciences, and others.

Rationale for the venue: The choice of venue is not accidental. National Parks in South Africa were created to preserve (and later conserve) wildlife, however, these parks forcibly removed Africans who had, for generations, lived on the land. While this is something to be condemned, it is also the case that these parks are extremely important as conservation spaces. In a changing world that is increasingly populated and constructed, for many species these spaces represent the only places where they can live relatively intact lives. The Kruger National Park, therefore, provides a conducive, interesting, and contentious backdrop to consider issues relating to environmental philosophy.

Theme: All aspects of environmental philosophy are welcomed, including environmental and animal ethics. The following are guiding questions but they should not serve as  a limitation.

  • How can we critically reflect on humanity’s relationship to nature?
  • How do we conceive of nature from a broadly African perspective?
  • How can we decolonise conservation?
  • What kinds of contributions can philosophers make to addressing the environmental crisis?
  • What does an African Environmental Philosophy look like?
  • How can we philosophise around climate change from an African view?
  • How can laws aid/negate human-animal relationships?

Submission of Abstracts

Please send a 500 word abstract for blind review to sasenvironmentalphilosophy@gmail.com. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 August 2023. Notification of acceptance will be sent latest by 15 September 2023.

Full paper: The full paper should be no more than 3500-4000 words for a 35-40 min. presentation.

Proposals for panel discussion are also welcome.

Conference fee

The fee for the 3-day conference (including tea and lunches), conference dinner, and a game drive is R1000 (US$55 or £45) for tenured academics and R500 (US$28 or £23) for postgraduate students (can be waived if requested). The mentioned fees also include membership of SASEP for one year.

Accommodation and travel are for your own account.

Postgraduate Conference Sponsorship

Five postgraduate sponsorships for South African students are available. This will cover domestic travel to and from the conference, 4 nights accommodation, as well as the conference fee.

Masters and Doctoral students (and current Honours students who plan on pursuing an MA related to environmental philosophy in 2024) are eligible to apply for this sponsorship. When submitting your abstract, please indicate that you want to be considered for the sponsorship by including a 250 word motivation along with your abstract.

Special issue

A special issue with a reputable journal will be published after the conference.Full papers will have to be submitted in May 2024 (more information to follow regarding the special issue).

Accommodation

More information on accommodation is available here: https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/skukuza/tourism/availability.php

Travel

There are flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town and George to Skukuza. More information here: https://www.flyairlink.com/en-za/flights-to-skukuza

The drive from Johannesburg to Skukuza is between 4 and 6 hours.

For more information about the conference and/or SASEP, please feel free to email Yolandi.coetser@nwu.ac.za.

This project is generously supported by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.