International Bilingual Conference Justice and Catastrophes: Silent, Slow Moving, Invisible Catastrophes

published: 2014-11-20

March 23, 24 & 25, 2015, Ritsumeikan University, Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto
Soshikan Hall, Conference Room

Call for Papers

We usually view catastrophes as sudden events, an earthquake or a major industrial accident that strikes in a moment and brutally transforms people life. Silent, slow moving, invisible catastrophes are changes, for example global warming, but sometimes also political changes, economic mutations or environmental transformations, that take place slowly, which we often fail to perceive before it is too late; that is, before they have actually taken place. Such slow moving, invisible transformations constitute catastrophes when, like the more sudden events we usually associate with that term, they introduce a rupture, a discontinuity that makes irrational or simply meaningless numerous expectations that weave people's life together, and which, until then, were perfectly rational. What was normal, to be expected upon and counted on has disappeared or become wildly uncertain. Can we anticipate such catastrophes and protect ourselves? Also, and perhaps mainly, how we should react once they have happened? Sudden catastrophes awaken a sense of urgency and no matter how terrible they may have been the spontaneous feeling is that something can and must be done to mitigate their consequences and to prevent their recurrence. To the opposite slow moving invisible catastrophes tend to leave us helpless, for they are often perceived simply as the way the world is, or has become, something against which nothing or very little can be done.

All papers concerning the relationship between issues of justice and silent, slow moving, invisible catastrophes are welcome. Priority will be given to papers from students and postdoctoral fellows.


should be made in the form of a long abstract – approximately 400 words with the title of the paper. Final date for submission is January 7, 2015. Candidates will be informed if their submission has been accepted or not no later than January 19, 2015. Speakers should aim at a presentation of 20 minutes and should take this into account when preparing their abstract. Submissions should be directly made in electronic form at:

(Note: All participants are required to submit full papers by early March, 2015.)

Languages and publication:

The languages of the conference are Japanese and English, submissions can be made in any of the two languages. A selected number of papers presented at the conference will afterward be published in the bilingual journal, Ritsumeikan Studies in Language and Culture.

Invited participants:

T.K. Aladjem, Social Studies, Harvard University; P.-H. Castel, Philosophy and Psychiatry, CNRS, Paris; S. Caney, Politics and International Relations, Oxford University; F. Keck, Anthropology, CNRS, Paris; E. Uslaner, Government and Politics, University of Maryland; M. Osawa, Kyoto University of Art & Design; W. Sano, Philosophy of Public Policy, Kyoto University; M. Matsumoto, Political Theory, Kansai University; K. Shimizu, Economics, Waseda University.


Paul Dumouchel & Akira Inoue (Ritsumeikan University), Reiko Gotoh (Hitotsubashi University)