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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NALS will reschedule its 2020 and 2021 summer conferences. Previous conference plans for the “Solidarity and Community” conference, hosted in Vermont, have been postponed until summer 2021. In the interim, members of the NALS Board of Directors will organize a 2020 conference to be broadcast and shared by remote video with synchronous and asynchronous components. All are invited to submit proposals for our NALS 2020 video-conference. More details on conference platform and online technologies will be available soon.
 << UPDATED >> 
15th Annual [Remote] Conference of the
North American Levinas Society 
July 20 - 23, 2020, via Zoom


“The Face and the Interface:

Levinas, Teaching, and Technology”


The COVID-19 pandemic has engendered a great deal of economic and political turmoil around the world, not the least of which involves necessary campus closures across the globe. As communities and institutions struggle to adapt to the critical exigencies of this moment, the pandemic reveals a number of longstanding inequities and injustices that exacerbate the global crisis. From its beginning, nearly 15 years ago, the North American Levinas Society has postured itself as an organization concerned, first, with opening ecumenical pedagogical spaces wherein we take up the meaning of Levinas’ “ethics as first philosophy” across generations. A critical mission for NALS is to bring young Levinas scholars together with established scholars in efforts to effectuate the ethical across political, economic, and cultural horizons. In this moment of pandemic, we draw from this mission to organize a virtual conference on the theme, “The Face and the Interface: Levinas, Teaching, and Technology.”
As always, NALS welcomes submissions on all topics relevant to the work of Emmanuel Levinas, but we especially encourage topics that address this conference theme—including, but not limited to, the following topics and questions:
  • The ethical relation in cyberspace: How do the exigencies of cyberspace transform ethical relating?
  • Video conferencing and the Face: How do video conferencing technologies affect our encounters with “the face” of the other?
  • Proximity at a distance: What possibilities for ethical proximity are afforded or impeded by remote technologies?
  • Sociality and separation: How might Levinas’ “phenomenology of sociality” help us respond to the pandemic in pedagogically edifying ways?
  • Pedagogy and technology: What approaches to teaching Levinas by remote might we adopt? Alternatively, how does Levinas inform your pedagogy through this pandemic?
  • The question of progress: Especially at the intersection of face and interface, or teaching and technology, how are narratives of progress or histories of this moment being shaped?
  • Privacy and surveillance: Levinas writes about the need to afford the other their secrecy (“Secrecy and Freedom”). In what ways do online technologies and digital platforms inhibit the possibility of privacy and secrecy? What does this mean for thinking about totality and totalitarianism?
  • Presence and absence: How do we negotiate shifting expectations for being present? In the light of the face of the other, how are notions of “absence” changing? In digital platforms built on models of representation, how might we account for the diachronic?
  • The private life and the public life after confinement:  What has confinement or quarantine taught us that might illuminate Levinas’ ideas about the self?  About sociality?  About ethics? 
These questions only get us started, and we invite you to generate and propose your own concerns. The online platform we adopt for this virtual conference is still being determined by the organizing committee.
2020 Organizing Committee


Dr. Brian Bergen-Aurand
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Dr. Katie Kirby
St. Michael’s College, Vermont
Dr. Sol Neely
University of Alaska Southeast
Dr. Erik Garrett
Duquesne University
Dr. David Hansel
CNRS, Paris | SIREL, Paris and Jerusalem

The synchronous conference will meet from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm EST (UTC-4) daily


This timely conference uses the teachings of Emmanuel Levinas to engage the current pandemic of Covid-19 and the new virtual horizon in which we find ourselves engaging in pedagogy and praxis.  The 2020 conference features nearly 30 presentations from presenters from around the world.  There will be two book sessions, by Richard Sugarman and Annabel Herzog, highlighting their newly pub-lished books on Levinas, and two Keynote Addresses, by Georges Hansel and Sandor Goodhart.  The most up-to-date program and conference information can be found on the NALS facebook page:


The conference is free but requires registration.

To register:


We encourage all participants to join the North American Levinas Society at

Our requested membership donation is $30 USD for  full-time faculty and $15 USD for students and those in financial need.


Questions about the conference program: Katie Kirby at 

Questions about the North American Levinas Society: Erik Garrett at

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