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PCT3: Upstate New York Workshop in Modern Philosophy (UNYWMP)


The Upstate New York Workshop in Modern Philosophy (UNYWEMP) is a group of philosophers from the upstate New York area who work in 17th-19th century philosophy, and who convene several times each semester to present and discuss works in progress.

Open to New People

Active since: 2013

  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rochester
  • Cornell University
  • Union College
  • Skidmore College

Collaborative Goals

Our main goal is to foster collaboration between scholars in modern philosophy in upstate New York and neighboring areas, in research and teaching alike, and to enable Corridor graduate students studying modern philosophy to engage with scholars from institutions other than their own. We hope to increase the visibility of central NY state as a center of excellence in modern philosophy – home to a cluster of institutions with accomplished scholars working in the area.

Group Organizers

Alison Peterman

Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Rochester

Justin Steinberg

Visiting Professor, Philosophy, Cornell University

Kara Richardson

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy, Syracuse University

Karin Nisenbaum

Renée Crown Professor in the Humanities and Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Syracuse University

Karolina Hübner

Associate Professor, Himan Brown Continuity Fellow, Cornell University

Larry Jorgensen

Professor and Chair, Skidmore College

Maité Cruz

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Union College

Group Outcomes

The conference made a lasting impact on our research, teaching, and scholarly collaborations. With respect to research, as noted above, the discussions were rich and substantial, and at least two participants have reported finishing articles in the months following the conference directly as a result of insights gained during discussion at the conference. We expect the conference had a similar effect on other participants' research as well. With respect to teaching, because the conference featured prominently papers on non-canonical philosophers from the early modern period, many of us learned about philosophers we had never or seldomly heard about before, as mentioned above. We were able to get a sense of key primary texts by these philosophers and some of their distinctive contributions to the history of philosophy. This knowledge is extremely valuable for our efforts to diversify our syllabi for courses on early modern philosophy. It is often extremely difficult to teach non-canonical figures due to a lack of scholarly resources. The conference allowed scholars of these figures to make progress on their ongoing research and it also gave students and instructors in the audience key insights to guide their study and/or teaching of these figures. Finally, with respect to scholarly collaborations, the conference allowed corridor participants to establish a sense of community. Our group had been inactive since before the pandemic. We now communicate periodically over email about plans for the group. We are already planning another conference in Fall 2023. Thanks to the success of our past conference, our group even expanded to include not only scholars of early modern philosophy but scholars of modern philosophy more broadly (17th-19th centuries). In addition, the conference allowed many participants (especially early-career participants and graduate students) to meet and establish professional contact with scholars in our fields who we wanted to meet but had not had a chance to meet before; in my own case (Maité Cruz), I was able to exchange a paper-in-progress with a senior scholar, who later sent me extensive and extremely helpful written comments on the paper. The turnout of Cornell faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students at the conference was high (between 30-40 people present at each talk), so the conference seemed beneficial for the Cornell philosophical community as well.