CALL FOR PAPERS – BTTTT! 2014
BACK TO THE THINGS THEMSELVES!
DOING PHENOMENOLOGY SINCE 2007
Since 2007, Back to the Things Themselves! (BTTTT!) has been an annual attempt to liberate
ourselves from textual exegesis, and return to the lived world to divine the essential structures of
experience through rigorous phenomenological description. While BTTTT! is guided by important
scholarly contributions about phenomenology, its main aim is to “do phenomenology”—that is, to
generate original descriptions of phenomena in the lifeworld.
THIS YEAR’S THEME: WEATHER
We particularly welcome papers and descriptions that take up this year’s theme of weather.
Weather is defined as the state of the atmosphere at a particular time and place, as related to
variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure. At the same time,
weather is an intensely experienced, and storied, phenomenon. Weather is both quotidian and
awesome; backgrounded and spectacular; pleasurable and lethal. We welcome descriptions of any
phenomena related to weather, including: weather events; climates; seasons; meteorological tools
and technologies; weather reports, maps, and advisories; the elements; or other weather-related
situations, experiences, events, people, places, and subjects.
Descriptions might engage questions such as: How are elemental phenomena such as wind, water,
air, heat, etc, experienced corporeally, transcorporeally, communally, or otherwise? Is weather
limited to outdoor spaces? Do we experience weather indoors, underground, of the imagination, of
the psyche, etc.? How are weather and temporality implicated? Or weather and place or space?
How do weather and mood, motility, sensuality, or other embodied modes of being affect or
determine one another? In what ways does weather impact not only natural processes, but also
social, cultural, political and economic ones (if such distinctions can be drawn)? What is the
relationship between weather and climate (and climate change)? Do experiences of weather
activate, obscure or otherwise affect environmental consciousness?
This list is meant only as suggestive, and we welcome broad and innovative engagement with our
WHAT WE WANT
We want phenomenological description, not scholarly exegesis or critique.
We want submissions that stay close to the phenomenon itself in order to be faithful to it and
describe it vividly to others. We are interested in the application of phenomenology’s insights and
the generation of detailed, rigorous, extended descriptions of the lived world, which can be
expressed in terms of essences or manifold matrices of meaning. Descriptions may arise from
phenomenological reflection broadly construed, so long as the phenomenon itself remains the chief
focus of the paper.
Papers for the 2014 panel must therefore bear this primary commitment to phenomenological
description in mind. At the same time, we would like authors to call attention to the
phenomenological method employed in generating their descriptions. This might be done in a
variety of ways, but the goal should be to show the audience how a description was generated.
Explications of method should be stated in broad terms, and overly-detailed textual exegesis should
be relegated to footnotes or appendices in order to preserve the “flow” of a description. We are
interested in how our panelists have learned from, applied, adjusted, merged, questioned, subverted
or otherwise deployed a variety of phenomenological methods in the development of their own
phenomenological practice. In sum, papers submitted to this panel must contain both:
1. A detailed, rigorous, extended and original description of a weather phenomenon in the lived
2. An explication of the method used to generate this description.
In the spirit of collaborative phenomenology, paper commentators for BTTTT! 2014 will view these
descriptions in light of their rigor, originality, and the application of method. In other words,
commentators for this panel will act less as critics and more as collaborators helping to extend,
refine and deepen a paper’s description. Criticisms of textual interpretation are welcome so long as
they further the aim of collaborative inquiry into phenomenological method.
WHAT WE DON’T WANT
We do not want scholarly exegesis and critique.
Though we are deeply aware that careful attention to important texts is essential in coming to an
understanding of phenomenology, we are explicitly not interested in submissions that engage in
lengthy textual exegeses, extended parsings of critical analyses of primary texts, or prolonged
retellings of how the major figures of the phenomenological canon have explained their “method.”
We are primarily interested in phenomenology as a way of seeing, as opposed to an area of
philosophical scholarship. It is our conviction that the actual practice of phenomenology is an
essential way of coming to understand not only the phenomena under investigation, but also the
texts which inspired this new and rich way of encountering the world. Accordingly, each
submission should place any scholarly apparatus into “deep background” (e.g., into footnotes
and/or appendices) so that both the description and the method whereby it was generated can be
discerned in sharp relief.
As always, the panel will be complemented by a half-day moderated workshop and discussion of
phenomenological method and practice. The work of the panel will culminate in this workshop,
which will take place at the end of the meeting. As always, all interested scholars and practitioners
are welcome to the workshop, which will provide a unique opportunity to dialogue and exchange
ideas with colleagues from various disciplines and with various levels of experience. Former BTTTT!
workshop facilitators have been Ed Casey (SUNY Stonybrook), Glen Mazis (Penn State – Harrisburg),
Rachel McCann (University of Mississippi), Helen Fielding (University of Western Ontario), and
David Koukal (University of Detroit Mercy).
BTTTT! is part of the Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture (EPTC),
which meets annually and concurrently with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Next year the Congress will be held at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada,
between May 24-30, 2014. The exact meeting dates of EPTC and other information concerning this
meeting will be announced as soon as possible.
Papers for BTTTT! 2014 should be submitted as PDF files by January 5, 2014. Papers should take no
longer than 30 minutes to read (generally less than 4000 words), should be prepared for anonymous
review (identifiable by paper title only), and include a separate abstract not exceeding 100 words.
The cover sheet should also list the paper’s title, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and email
address. Please note that papers will be initially reviewed by the panel organizers, and suitable
papers will then be sent for anonymous review.
Submissions and inquiries may be sent to backtothethingsthemselves[at]gmail.com.