Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy

SPEP Handbook


SPEP Policies and Procedures Handbook


  1. The SPEP Program
    1. Participation on the Program
      1. Individual Participation
      2. Executive Committee Participation
      3. Graduate Student Participation
      4. Local Host Participation
      5. Moderators
      6. Timeline for Comments and Responses
    2. Submissions
      1. Submissions of Papers and Proposals
      2. Format of Submissions
      3. Notification of Submission, Acceptance, and Rejection
      4. Prizes
    3. Nominations for Book Sessions
      1. Nomination Process and Eligibility
      2. Notification
    4. Funding for Speakers
  2. Selection of Papers, Panels, and Books for the SPEP Program
    1. Papers and Panels
      1. Papers
      2. Panels
      3. Prizes
      4. Feedback
    2. Book Selection Process
    3. Invited Sessions
      1. Plenary Sessions
      2. Scholar Sessions
      3. Contributions to Continental Philosophy Session
      4. Executive Committee Member Invited Session
      5. Standing Committee Sessions
      6. Graduate Student Session
    4. SPEP Supplement
    5. Affiliated Philosophical Societies at SPEP
  3. Committees
    1. Executive Committee
      1. The Executive Committee as a Whole
      2. Secretary-Treasurer
      3. Co-Directors
    2. Executive Committee Nominations and Elections
    3. Co-Director Nominations and Elections
    4. Standing Committees of SPEP
      1. Committee on the Status of Women
      2. Advocacy Committee
      3. Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee
      4. LGBTQ Advocacy Committee
      5. Book Selection Advisory Committee
  4. Operations
    1. Voting on Proposals, Resolutions, and Motions
    2. Business Meeting: Quorum
    3. Ranking
    4. Websites
    5. Future Meeting Sites



The SPEP Policies and Procedures Handbook is designed to serve as a guide for both the Executive Committee and the Membership in order to promote greater clarity and transparency regarding the various operations of the Society. Its composition spanned several years beginning in 2012 and is the result of consultation with former and present Executive Committee members. This is intended to be a living document reflecting current practices, policies, and procedures that can be revised. Any changes to the Handbook are made in full consultation with and by the approval of the SPEP Executive Committee.

Information regarding SPEP’s Bylaws, Articles of Confederation, activities, resources, membership, conferences, and composition of its various committees can be found on the Society’s website at:

Back to Top

I. The SPEP Program


1. Participation on the Program

A. Individual Participation
To participate as an individual on the program of SPEP, the person must be a member in good standing.

Only the author of the accepted paper is eligible to read the paper at the SPEP conference. Papers read in absentia, pre-recorded, or via electronic media are not permitted. The primary reason for this policy is to ensure the highest quality dialogue at the conference.

If one does not present the paper at SPEP for any reason, the paper cannot be considered for the special SPEP supplement.

Due to limited slots available on the SPEP program, and in order to encourage as many people as possible to participate, no one person can be on the SPEP program more than once, either as a presenter or moderator of a session. However, the same person can participate on the SPEP program proper and any of the other affiliated groups that meet in conjunction with SPEP.

B. Executive Committee Participation
The Executive Committee is a service committee to SPEP. Due to the Executive Committee members’ service to SPEP in both a governance and a program capacity, Executive Committee members are not permitted to participate on the SPEP program proper during the time of service (as an individual presenter or as moderator of a session). The one exception to participation on the program is the outgoing Executive Co-Director’s address.

An Executive Committee member can participate on one of the programs or sessions affiliated with and meeting in conjunction with SPEP.

Because Executive Committee members are not permitted to participate on the SPEP program during their service, each Executive Committee member is allocated one spot on the program per 3-year term of service after the completion of their duties.

C. Graduate Student Participation
Graduate students may submit papers for anonymous review to be included on the SPEP program. Like junior scholars, graduate students can self-identify to the Secretary-Treasurer for the special prizes or awards.

SPEP does not invite graduate students as presenters or moderators. There are several reasons for this. Primarily, this policy serves (1) to avoid the possibility of favoritism, and (2) to recognize the status of PhDs in the profession. For these reasons, graduate students cannot be invited by the SPEP Executive Committee and Standing Committees of SPEP, as presenters or moderators for sessions. (See the clarification and exception under Section II.3.F.)

D. Local Host Participation
Local hosts and the Book Exhibit Coordinators cannot participate on the program the year they are hosting SPEP.
E. Moderators
Moderators are selected by the Executive Committee after submissions have been chosen for the program. Moderators are not selected by those who submit single papers to SPEP. However, panel proposals may include suggestions for moderators. The moderator plays an integral role in the session.

The following are guidelines for moderators:

  • The moderator is responsible for the smooth running of the session. It is important that the session stays within its given timeframe, and therefore begins and ends on time.
  • It is not the role of the moderator to read a paper in the absence of a member who was unable to attend. In this case, the moderator may allot the other presenters(s) more time and/or extend the discussion as appropriate.
  • Because SPEP conference attendees do not always stay for the entire panel, but select papers to attend from different panels, it is important not to alter the order of the presenters as printed in the SPEP program.
  • So that each presenter has equal opportunity for the discussion of her/his paper, a discussion period should follow directly after the conclusion of each paper. Only if there is time at the end of the panel session should questions be directed to all presenters. In the case of single-paper sessions, the comments should be presented before the discussion is opened. In the case of Book Sessions, should the panelists so decide. Speakers and the respondent may choose to speak in succession, with the Q&A period reserved for the end.
  • The moderator is responsible for introducing the presenters. This is more than simply reciting the title of the paper and the name of the presenter. Aside from learning the correct pronunciation of the presenter’s name, the moderator is encouraged to introduce each presenter before her/his presentation by giving a brief biographical summary (for example, affiliation, rank, major publications, or work in progress).
  • The moderator is responsible for the following: keeping track of questions, noting the order in which questions were raised, managing the time so that no one person dominates the discussion, and ensuring that everyone who wants to ask a question has an opportunity to do so.
F.  Timeline for Comments and Responses
Speakers for book sessions, scholar sessions, and contributions sessions, and commentators for single-paper sessions are selected after the initial disclosure and notification of accepted and non-accepted submissions. In order to ensure that respondents for book sessions, scholar sessions and contributions sessions have ample time to receive and reply to the papers, all speakers for these sessions should provide the respondent with their completed text four to six weeks before the SPEP meeting. For single-paper sessions, authors are expected to send their papers to commentators by August 1. Commentators on single-paper sessions should send their comments to authors four weeks before the SPEP meeting.

Back to Top


2. Submissions

The Executive Committee of SPEP invites both complete papers and panels for the annual SPEP meetings. Papers are to be complete (not merely proposals), and are to consist of no more than 3000 words; papers are to be accompanied by abstracts of 75-100 words. Panel proposals consist of complete papers (no more than 3000 words per paper), and one panel abstract (no more than 500 words). Panels can consist of two or three papers. Because of time limitations, SPEP is unable to accept panels with more than three papers. Further, due to the large volume of submissions, we can only accept one submission per individual (either as an individual or on a panel). However, an individual can submit a single paper (not as part of a panel) and a nomination for a book session. If this is the case, only one of these can be accepted on the program, with preference given to the book session.
SPEP will not consider papers that are currently under review with an affiliated society that meets in conjunction with SPEP.


A. Submissions of Papers and Proposals
All submissions are considered under an anonymous review process.

All submissions must be submitted electronically. Submissions are to be sent directly to the Secretary-Treasurer. Electronic Receipt Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, January 20 of the SPEP-Year. The subject line of the email should read: <YEAR> SPEP Submission.

Each submission should contain two attachments.

  1. An abstract and a submission should be prepared for anonymous review in one document. Even if a panel proposal is being submitted, the panel abstract and all of the papers should be in one document. (See below “Format of Submissions.”)
  2. A cover letter that provides detailed contact information (including physical and electronic addresses) of the author(s), and where applicable, institutional affiliations, and word count of the paper(s). It should also indicate whether the author wishes to have the paper considered for “Best Submission by a Graduate Student,” “Best Submission by a Junior Scholar,” and/or for the “Iris Marion Young Prize for the Best Paper in Feminist Philosophy.” It is the individual’s responsibility to indicate how he or she meets the eligibility requirements. For a full description and eligibility conditions of each prize, please see below under “Prizes.” Finally, the cover letter should include the precise nature of audio/visual equipment needed in the event that the submission is accepted for the SPEP Conference.

B. Format of Submissions

  1. All abstracts for single papers must include five key words. This will help the Executive Committee group single papers into panels when the conference program is being organized.
  2. Single-paper submissions must include complete papers (of no more than 3000 words exclusive of notes and references) and abstracts (of no more than 100 words).
  3. Panel proposals must include a title, an abstract of no more than 500 words for the panel as a whole, five key words, and complete papers (no more than 3000 words exclusive of notes and references) for each paper in the panel.
  4. Since papers and panel proposals are chosen through an anonymous review process, names and addresses of authors must be stated only on one separate cover letter and omitted from the abstracts, papers, and notes. The word count for papers should appear on the cover sheet. Papers that exceed the 3000 word limit will not be considered. Please use gender-inclusive language in accordance with the “Guidelines for Non-Sexist Use of Language” published by the APA and available at:

C. Notification of Submission, Acceptance, and Rejection

Notification of receipt of submission: Upon receipt of the submission, the author will receive an automated electronic acknowledgement from the Secretary-Treasurer indicating he or she has received your email and its attachments. If the author does not receive a response within one day, a follow-up e-mail should be sent to ensure that the submission has been received.

Notification of Inclusion in the SPEP Program:

  1. Single Authored Papers: Authors of single-paper submissions and the panel organizers of panel-submissions will hear from the Executive Committee by June 1 of the SPEP-Year whether their submission has been accepted or rejected for inclusion in that year’s SPEP Program.
  2. Panels: The person who originally submitted the panel is responsible for notifying her or his co-panelists of the decision, since she or he is the only panel member who will have received this notice.

D. Prizes

  1. There are two monetary prizes available: the best submission by a junior scholar and the best submission by a graduate student. To be eligible for the SPEP Junior Scholar Award the author must have earned a PhD in the last five years (no earlier than January of the fifth year [e.g., for the 2014 SPEP, January 2009]). All currently enrolled graduate students at the time of submission are eligible for the SPEP Graduate Student Award.
  2. Each individual is eligible to receive each award only once.
  3. Currently, each monetary prize is $500.00 plus a limited travel and hotel allowance. In addition, two non-monetary honorable mentions may be awarded. All of the award-winning submissions will be selected through an anonymous review process. The author must declare her or his desire to be considered for an award; the author’s status as a graduate student or as a junior scholar must be included in the cover letter that accompanies the submission. Winners will be notified by June 1 of the SPEP-Year.
  4. There is currently one independent non-monetary prize entitled the “Iris Marion Young Prize for the Best Paper in Feminist Philosophy.” Members submitting a paper to SPEP should self-designate as wishing their paper to be considered for the Iris Marion Young Prize. Such papers will also be eligible for the regular SPEP prizes listed above, provided that they are designated as such by the author. Once the Executive Committee has completed review of the submissions, those papers that have been accepted onto the program and that self-designate as wishing to be considered for the Iris Marion Young Prize will be forwarded in anonymous form to the Committee on the Status of Women for review. Winners will be notified by June 1 of the SPEP-Year.
  5. All prize winners must attend the General Membership Business Meeting (Friday evening) to claim their respective prizes, unless special considerations prevent them from attending the meeting (e.g., religious observances).

Back to Top

3. Nominations for Book Sessions

In order for a book to be considered for a book session, an email from the author to the Book Selection Advisory Committee Chair and to both of the Co-Directors requesting such consideration is required. The deadline for the email and receipt of the books is January 20 of the SPEP-Year.

Copies of the books are to be sent to the Chair of the SPEP Book Selection Advisory Committee (which is posted on the SPEP Call for Papers).


A. Nomination Process and Eligibility
To be considered, the book must have been published within three years of the submission deadline. The publication can be on or after January 1 of that year (e.g., for the SPEP 2014 meeting, January 1, 2011). If a book is not yet published by January 1 of that SPEP-Year, it cannot be considered. Due to possible complications, e.g., delay in publication, SPEP cannot consider books in proof or digital proof stages. Because of the contingencies of publication, SPEP allots a 3-year timeframe for consideration. No book may be submitted more than three times. SPEP gives preference to single-authored monographs for the book sessions. SPEP does not consider edited volumes. Only books published in English will be considered. SPEP will only consider translations if there is a formal commitment from the book’s author to attend the session, in person, and respond to comments; translated volumes for which the author would not be present to respond to comments cannot be considered.

Members can submit both a book and a single-paper, but since a person can only appear once on the program, if both are accepted, priority is given to the book session. Because the Executive Committee does not break up submitted panels, authors should not submit as part of a panel in the year they nominate their book for a book session. If not accepted in a given year, authors are also encouraged to nominate books for reconsideration without prejudice.

B. Notification
The Book Selection Advisory Committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Committee, and the authors of the books chosen for Book Sessions will be notified by June 1 of the SPEP-Year by the Executive Committee.

Back to Top

4. Funding for Speakers

SPEP only provides funding for the invited plenary speakers and for the Best Submission by a Graduate Student and Junior Scholar prize winners. Only in exceptional circumstances will SPEP consider providing funds for other participants.

Back to Top

II. Selection of Papers, Panels, and Books for the SPEP Program


1. Papers and Panels

After the submissions of papers and panels are prepared for anonymous review, the papers and panels are distributed by the Secretary-Treasurer to the Executive Committee members according to areas of expertise.


A. Papers
Two Executive Committee members are initially assigned to review each paper submission.
B. Panels
Two Executive Committee members are initially assigned to review each panel submission. A panel is judged on its merits as a whole. Papers submitted as part of a panel will not be considered individually for placement on the SPEP program. Individual papers on a panel will also not be considered for awards if the panel as a whole is rejected. They are, however, eligible for individual prizes if the panel as a whole is accepted.
C. Prizes
After the final evaluations and decisions regarding inclusion on the program have been made, those papers that are eligible for the prizes are anonymously reviewed.
D. Feedback
It is the policy of the SPEP Executive Committee not to provide individual feedback for paper and panel submissions.

Back to Top

2.  Book Selection Process

To have a book considered for the book sessions, see section I.3.A. above.

The charge of the Book Selection Advisory Committee [BSAC] is to review books that have been submitted for possible inclusion in a Book Session on the annual program. The members of the BSAC are chosen by the Executive Committee to cover identified areas of specialization (e.g., phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, feminism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, social-political philosophy, history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, race theory, etc.) and books are distributed accordingly for review. The individual reader’s reports are forwarded along with the committee chair’s recommendations to the Executive Committee, which takes these reports under advisement. The final determination is made by the Executive Committee, which takes into account other factors not considered by the BSAC, such as the amount of time since publication, balance among publishers, and the need for a wide diversity of topics and areas on the program.

Back to Top

3.  Invited Sessions

The SPEP Program includes five types of invited sessions.


A. Plenary Sessions
Plenary Sessions are devoted to persons who in their distinctive ways have significantly contributed to or defined issues of importance to members of SPEP. There are two Plenary Sessions. For more than two decades, it has been the practice of the Executive Committee to strive for gender balance for these plenary sessions. In its present practice, the Executive Committee considers gender diversity and other forms of diversity among plenary speakers. (Here, and in the rest of this document, the term “gender diversity” is used without assuming a gender binary.)
B. Scholar Sessions
The Scholar Sessions are reserved for regular members of SPEP. The Scholar Sessions seek to foster discussion on a cumulative body of work by scholars who have established themselves through their publications. Whenever possible, the Executive Committee takes into consideration gender diversity and other forms of diversity for Scholar Sessions.
C. Contributions to Continental Philosophy Session
The Contributions Session is reserved for individuals who have made distinctive contributions to the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP with an influential and original idea or ideas. Unlike the Scholar Sessions, the Contributions Session may focus on the work of a non-SPEP member.

The aim of the Contributions Session is to provide a forum for highlighting and debating distinctive ideas and original perspectives of interest to current SPEP members. Unlike Book Sessions, the Contributions Session need not focus on individual books. Unlike Scholar Sessions, it need not focus on a cumulative body of work.

D. Executive Committee Member Invited Session
Each Executive Committee member is responsible for coordinating one session, which can be either a two- or three-person panel, or a roundtable [see section III.1.A.1]. The Executive Committee member cannot participate on this panel as a presenter or moderator.
E. Standing Committee Sessions
  1. Committee on the Status of Women. The goal of the Committee on the Status of Women [CSW] program session is to present topics that help secure and advance the status of women in continental philosophy, ranging from practical techniques for supporting women graduate students and junior faculty to philosophical explorations of cutting-edge feminist issues.
  2. Advocacy Committee. The Advocacy Committee Sessions are a mixture of career-focused themes and discipline-centric themes. The sessions will focus on advocating for continental philosophers’ careers or the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP in broader contexts. The Advocacy Committee Session is held every other year, rotating with the Graduate Student Session.
  3. Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee. Every year the Committee organizes a panel highlighting the racial and ethnic diversity of the interests and work of the SPEP membership. This includes multicultural and non-Western philosophies and perspectives.
  4. LGBTQ Advocacy Committee. The aim of the LGBTQ Session is to promote the LGBTQ community of SPEP and its intellectual and innovative contributions to the program of the annual meeting, and to promote scholarly activities that integrate LGBTQ issues into studies in continental philosophy and the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP.
F. Graduate Student Session
The Graduate Student Session (GSS) is a panel designed to treat issues of particular interest to graduate students and young professional members of SPEP. This may include scholarly or professional interests. The GSS is an invited panel, but it is distinct in several ways from the other Executive Committee and Standing Committee invited sessions. First, the GSS is organized solely by the graduate assistant of SPEP; it is not organized by a committee. Second, GSS rotates with the Advocacy Committee’s session every other year. Third, the GSS alone may invite graduate student speakers or moderators for the panel.

Back to Top


4.  SPEP Supplement

SPEP retains the right of first refusal for the publication for papers presented at SPEP. The SPEP Supplement is currently published by the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. If the author is unable to present his or her paper at SPEP, the paper cannot be considered for the SPEP Supplement.

Each presenter should forward to the current Co-Directors an electronic copy of his/her paper by December 1 of the SPEP-Year for consideration in the SPEP Supplement. If the paper is selected for publication, there will be an opportunity for minor revisions.

Only individual papers are considered, i.e., not full panels or book sessions.

The two plenary presentations and the two prize winners (Junior Faculty and Graduate Student) are automatically invited for inclusion. In the event of a Co-Directors’ address that SPEP-Year, the address is also included.

There is an overall 4500-word limit (inclusive of notes) for each submission. The submission deadline to the Co-Directors is December 1 of the SPEP-Year. The authors will be notified of the decisions by mid-February.

Manuscripts should be delivered in MS Word, double-spaced, with endnotes and a list of works cited following the text. On matters of style and documentation, authors should consult The Chicago Manual of Style and recent issues of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy.

Back to Top

5.  Affiliated Philosophical Societies at SPEP

Affiliated societies may hold sessions in conjunction with the SPEP meeting. The sessions are posted in the SPEP program.

Because there are more requests to meet in conjunction with SPEP than timeslots and rooms available, SPEP now requires that requests be submitted formally. The request to meet in conjunction with SPEP as an affiliated society should be sent to the Secretary-Treasurer by February 15 of the SPEP-Year. Decisions about which societies to include may be based on such factors as number of years of affiliation with SPEP, attendance at previous sessions held in conjunction with SPEP, and number of rooms available in a given year.

The contact person for the affiliated society will be notified by March 1 of the SPEP-Year whether the Society will be able to meet in conjunction with SPEP that year. If given a timeslot, the contact person for that Society will be expected to send the full program (titles, names, and affiliations of panelists) by no later than May 15 of the SPEP-Year to the graduate assistant at:

Information to be included in the request:

  • Date
  • Name of Affiliated Society
  • Addresses [street, email, and website (if applicable)]
  • Name and Information of Principal Contact Person (noting any changes from previous year)
  • Mission of affiliated society (this description should be brief and, if the society discusses particular philosophical figures, these figures should be indicated)
  • Year of first affiliated society session at SPEP (if applicable)
  • Year(s) in which the affiliated society last met during the SPEP annual meeting
  • Regular meetings of the affiliated society apart from the annual SPEP meeting
  • Description of how the affiliated society’s session at SPEP would enrich the SPEP conference program

Back to Top


III. Committees

1. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is a service committee of SPEP. Each member of the Executive Committee is elected to a 3-year, non-renewable term. The Co-Director also holds a 3-year term, but is taken from a pool of previous Member-at-Large Executive Committee members. For reasons of continuity, it is essential that the Executive Committee pass down working knowledge, in part, by ensuring that these 3-year terms both overlap and are staggered among the members.


A.  The Executive Committee as a Whole

The Executive Committee as a whole presently includes four Members-at-Large, two Co-Directors, and the Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer is the only position that is employed. The Executive Committee is otherwise an elected body.

The Executive Committee has two primary functions, namely, a program function and a governance function.

  1. Program Function. The Executive Committee as a whole (including the Secretary-Treasurer) organizes the annual conferences, in part by arranging venues, assisting in preparations, reviewing and selecting submitted papers, and organizing special panels that represent the interests of the membership.
    In addition to selecting papers from those submitted and arranging them into panels, the Executive Committee invites commentators and moderators, organizes Scholar Sessions, Book Sessions, and the Contributions Session, and makes decisions on plenary speakers. The Executive Committee reviews and in most cases adopts the Book Selection Advisory Committee recommendations. Each member of the Executive Committee organizes one invited panel per year on a topic of his/her choosing. One plenary session is reserved for an address by the outgoing Executive Co-Director.

    The Executive Committee also organizes the SPEP-APA session and reception.

  2. Governance Function. Intimately related to its program function, the Executive Committee has a governance function, dealing with policy, procedure, and governance issues as they arise. The Executive Committee also runs the annual business meeting and oversees the content of the website.
    For example, the Executive Committee functions as a liaison to the Standing Committees of SPEP. Individual members of the Executive Committee are assigned to work with each of the committees, in order to facilitate communication between the Standing Committees and the Executive Committee. This amounts to both a program and a governance function because while the committees have an invited panel each year on the program, they also have other business to propose, which is discussed with the Executive Committee prior to presentation at the business meeting.
    Moreover, the combination of program and governance, intellectual and administrative functions is important for the effective and informed functioning of the Executive Committee, which strives to make considered administrative and executive decisions that contribute to the flourishing of the Society as a whole.
    In order to fulfill its program and governance functions, the Executive Committee meets onsite at least twice but often three or more times at the regular annual SPEP meetings. The Executive Committee also gathers for several days in April for the SPEP program planning session, and to discuss other program and governance issues.
B.  Secretary-Treasurer

The Secretary-Treasurer serves for a 3-year term and receives an honorarium. There is a possibility of extending the term.

The tasks and duties of the Secretary-Treasurer include:

  • Maintaining all accounting and treasury records for the Society. This includes preparing and submitting (with the help of an accountant) annual or quarterly filings to the appropriate municipal, state, and federal entities (e.g., employment reporting, income reporting, payment of relevant taxes and fees, etc.). This also includes running annual profit and loss reports for the Executive Committee and the membership.
  • Maintaining SPEP’s compliance with municipal, state, and federal policies regarding the practices of non-profit corporations with the aid of an accountant and, if necessary, an attorney.
  • Maintaining SPEP’s relationship with the Philosophy Documentation Center [PDC], which includes updating financial records and membership data on a quarterly basis and working with the PDC on conference preparation and registration.
  • Maintaining all official documents and records of/for the Society. This includes preparing and sending out the annual call for papers, and maintaining all banking and financial records and data.
  • Reviewing any and all contracts that SPEP (or any local host) enters into; serving as the signee for such documents on behalf of SPEP.
  • Working with the SPEP Webmaster to maintain accurate and current information on the SPEP website, and ensuring that the website is running smoothly and is easily accessible to SPEP’s members.
  • Processing submissions, assigning readers, and maintaining a database of reviewed submissions for the spring Executive Committee meeting.
  • Working in close contact with the Executive Committee and the SPEP Graduate Assistant to maintain agenda items and important information for all Executive Committee meetings.
  • Fielding general questions related to SPEP by the membership or interested parties.
  • Utilizing QuickBooks, Adobe Acrobat Professional, and Microsoft Access, and other appropriate software.

Helping to run the annual conference by:

  • Preparing, overseeing, and running the registration desk (including preparing all registration documents before the conference and updating records throughout).
  • Overseeing all faculty, students, and staff who work as volunteers before, during, and after the conference.
  • Working with hotel staff involved in the conference before, during, and after the conference to ensure the proper set up and operation of all breakout rooms, receptions, publisher exhibits, plenary sessions, and social events.
  • Preparing all documents used by the Executive Committee and the membership during the conference (including, but not limited to, agendas, minutes, motions, and information items)
  • Settling payments with all necessary parties during and after the conference.

Like other Executive Committee Members, the Secretary-Treasurer has voting power and voice in all SPEP-related matters equal to the other Executive Committee members. However, the Secretary-Treasurer does not formally review submissions.

C.  Co-Directors
  1. Co-Directors and the Executive Committee. In addition to the above functions, listed under Section III.1.A., the Co-Directors are also responsible for the general oversight work that goes into the production of the SPEP meetings. One Co-Director is responsible for the final editing and production of the program, the other is responsible for the editorial work of the SPEP Supplement. Some of the specific duties of the co-directors include:
    • Producing the program (May and June).
    • Finding new host institutions (ongoing).
    • Inviting two plenary speakers each year on the basis of membership input and Executive Committee decision.
    • Introducing plenary speakers and moderating plenary sessions.
    • Securing a graduate assistant for a 2-3 year period to assist the Co-Directors and the Executive Committee as a whole.
    • Scheduling rooms and flow of conference in consultation with local hosts and meeting centers.
    • Managing relationships with the Affiliated Societies.
    • Corresponding with local hosts.
    • Selecting and preparing articles for publication in the SPEP Supplement overseeing additions to and modifications of the website.
    • Addressing governance, policy, procedure, and other issues that arise within the membership.
  2. Co-Directors and Graduate Assistant. It is preferable for each Co-Director to supply a graduate assistant from her or his home institution to work with the Executive Committee so that terms of the Graduate Assistants can overlap. However, the SPEP Executive Committee must have at least one Graduate Assistant at all times. Ideally, the outgoing Secretary-Treasurer and Graduate Assistant will be shadowed by successors for the April planning session, and/or the annual conference meeting.
    The SPEP Graduate Assistant works closely with the respective Co-Director, and the Executive Committee as a whole. The SPEP Graduate Assistant’s duties may include the following:

    • Recording, organizing, and submitting to the Secretary-Treasurer the Executive Committee business meeting minutes, when the Graduate Assistant is available maintaining, updating, and recording contact information for SPEP’s sponsorship and advertising database.
    • Soliciting (both electronically and by USPS) sponsorship-advertisements in order to raise funds for the SPEP program, as well as receiving, maintaining, and assisting the Secretary-Treasurer with sponsorship orders and billing.
    • Coordinating and organizing a panel designed with graduate student interests in mind for the annual SPEP conference, every other year (this panel alternates with the Advocacy committee panel).
    • Maintaining, updating, and recording SPEP’s Affiliated Society database.
    • Assisting the Co-Director in constructing the final SPEP program.
    • Drafting an Executive Committee responsibilities list and ensuring confirmation of completed panels.
    • Maintaining a running draft of the program for the Executive Committee for planning purposes.
    • Collaborating with the Co-Director(s) to design a schedule for panels and assign rooms.
    • Typesetting all completed panels for the main SPEP program and the programs of the Affiliated Societies.
    • Assisting the Co-Directors and the Secretary-Treasurer with the proofing of all typescripts of the SPEP program.
    • Coordinating and supervising the student staff at the SPEP Conference.
    • Supervising and operating the registration desk.
    • Cooperating with the local-host graduate assistant in the training of SPEP student volunteers and the deployment of A/V equipment.
    • Acting as one of the liaisons between the SPEP Executive Committee and hotel staff.

2.  Executive Committee Nominations and Elections

The Executive Committee strives to represent a number of currents within the traditions represented by SPEP. These have included German and French phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, post-structuralism, deconstruction/post-modernism, feminism, critical theory, philosophy of race, social-political theory, and psychoanalysis. Over time, these areas have shifted and have been embodied by specific members of the Executive Committee in different ways, and we expect that they will continue to shift in response to changes in the interests of the membership and the development of new currents in the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP. All members of the Executive Committee have varied expertise, allowing both overlap in areas covered, and the accommodation of a plurality of perspectives in a transparent manner.

When the Executive Committee nominates individuals for open Member-at-Large positions, it strives to achieve broad coverage in these areas and currents, with an eye to best fulfilling its program and governance functions. The Executive Committee also strives to nominate faculty members with strong academic profiles who have been active and longstanding members of SPEP, and who have served the Society in other capacities (e.g., as a member of one of the SPEP standing committees). The Executive Committee is responsive in nominations to the concerns of the membership and the standing committees of SPEP. Gender diversity and other considerations of diversity are also factors in nominations.

There is an online form on the SPEP website to make a suggestion for a nominee to the Member-at-Large position on the SPEP Executive Committee. One may offer her or his own name or another member’s name. The Executive Committee can only consider people who are current members of SPEP in good standing. Please note that each member may suggest more than one person, but we ask that each member not suggest the same person more than once.

The SPEP Executive Committee presents two nominations for the election but the election is open for nominations from the floor. Biographical information must be available in writing prior to the meeting for any nominations from the floor.

Individuals who are nominated for a position on the Executive Committee are expected to attend the annual meeting of that SPEP-Year, the business meeting during which they stand for election, and all meetings of the Executive Committee during their term, starting with the meeting that immediately follows the conference Sunday morning.

Back to Top
3.  Co-Director Nominations and Elections

The role of Co-Director demands continuity and working knowledge of the organization. There is a steep learning curve on the Executive Committee, and having already served on the Executive Committee for three years greatly enhances the successful management of the organization. For these reasons, nominees for the Co-Director position are drawn principally from a pool of previous Members-at-Large or Secretary-Treasurers of the Executive Committee. The Co-Directorship can take place any time after the Executive Committee member’s term is served. Past practice has been to maintain gender balance between the two Co-Director positions. Looking forward, the Executive Committee will take into account gender diversity and other forms of diversity in nominations for the Co-Director position.

The SPEP Executive Committee presents one nomination for the election, but the election is open for nomination from the floor. While nominations are possible from the floor, the position requires significant monetary and staff support from the nominee’s home institution. For nominations from the floor, we request that biographical information and official information regarding institutional support be available prior to the meeting.

Back to Top

4.  Standing Committees of SPEP

All members of Standing Committees should be members in good standing of the Society and are expected to attend the annual meeting during their tenure on the Committee and to attend the business meeting during which they stand for election. Failure to attend may result in removal from the Committee.


A.  Committee on the Status of Women
The Committee on the Status of Women was established in 1984 for the purpose of increasing the participation of women in SPEP. To that end, it requests information on the participation of women in the Society, creates a program session, and (with financial sponsorship from a university press) has, in the past, hosted a reception at conferences of the Society. Each committee member serves a staggered 3-year term and becomes chair of the committee in her or his third year.
B.  Advocacy Committee
The Advocacy Committee is an advisory committee to the Executive Committee of SPEP. Its mission is to explore and suggest ways in which SPEP can become more active in furthering the interests of its members and in representing those interests to the wider philosophical community. The committee will attempt to assist SPEP members and the organization in attaining greater visibility and recognition in the profession. The Committee is constituted to foster an open-minded community of inquiry and therefore rejects the framing of issues in divisive “us versus them” terms. Respecting all philosophical directions, and motivated by a spirit of pluralism, the Advocacy Committee shall help SPEP become a more effective forum for the voice of the SPEP membership. Each member serves three years, chairing his/her last year.
C.  Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee
The aim of the Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee is to facilitate within SPEP the representation of philosophers of color. The Committee will assess and report on the status of these constituencies, identify discriminatory practices, and make recommendations to the Executive Committee concerning ways in which full and meaningful participation in the Society can be open to all. In addition, every year the Committee organizes a panel pertaining to its charge.
D.  LGBTQ Advocacy Committee
The aim of the LGBTQ Advocacy Committee is four-fold. It seeks to promote the LGBTQ community of SPEP and its intellectual and innovative contributions to the program of the annual meeting; to promote scholarly activities that integrate LGBTQ issues into studies in the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP; to communicate concerns of the LGBTQ community of SPEP to the Executive Committee; and to defend the rights and interests of LGBTQ members within the Society, and to advocate for the LGBTQ members within the profession.
E.  Book Selection Advisory Committee
The Book Selection Advisory Committee (BSAC) is composed of SPEP members, who are appointed by the Executive Committee. The BSAC consists of nine members excluding the Chair. Each member of the BSAC serves a 2-year term. The Chair of the BSAC, who is also selected by the Executive Committee, may occasionally serve more years on the committee, since he or she is selected from the membership of the existing committee. Usually, the Chair does not review books because he or she distributes the books to the BSAC members, and compiles and writes the reports for the Executive Committee. Terms of service are staggered. The members of the BSAC are chosen by the Executive Committee to cover identified areas of specialization (e.g., phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, psychoanalysis, feminism, contemporary French philosophy, social-political philosophy, history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of race, etc.).

Those who serve on the BSAC cannot have their own books considered for the Book Session.

Back to Top


IV. Operations

1. Voting on Proposals, Resolutions, and Motions

All items to be voted on at the business meeting must be distributed to the SPEP membership no less than one month before the date of the business meeting. Since the Executive Committee sets the agenda for the business meeting, anyone wishing to introduce an agenda item is required to send that item to the Co-Directors no less than two months before the date of the business meeting. The Executive Committee will then distribute an agenda for the business meeting, including any proposals or motions to be voted on by the membership, to the membership by email. These items will also be made available on the SPEP website as well as at the registration desk.

This provision allows that all members will know in advance what is going to be discussed at the upcoming business meeting, and will therefore have the opportunity to make arrangements to be there for the discussion and vote. New business can, as always, still come up from the floor, but it could not be voted on until the next year’s business meeting. This provision is intended to apply only to voting for proposals, resolutions, and motions, not to our voting procedures for new members of the Executive Committee or Co-Directors.

2.  Business Meeting: Quorum

The quorum necessary for voting on proposals, resolutions, and motions shall be equivalent to 10% of dues paying members at the time that the agenda is published. Information about the number necessary to constitute a quorum for the upcoming business meeting would be provided to the membership by the Secretary-Treasurer at the time that the agenda is circulated via email and posted to the website.

3.  Ranking

SPEP remains independent of all rankings of departments and does not endorse any of them.
SPEP does provide a list of programs that have requested to be included as friendly to continental philosophy and the intellectual traditions represented by SPEP.

4.  Websites

SPEP posts announcements, such as calls for papers, job announcements, and other relevant notices on its website. SPEP does not link personal websites of any kind to the SPEP website. As an organization, SPEP can accommodate links to other organizations relevant to the mission of SPEP and the interests of its membership.

5.  Future Meeting Sites

The Executive Committee solicits proposals or expressions of interest to serve as local host for the annual meeting. On request, the Secretary-Treasurer will provide detailed information to interested parties.

Back to Top