This special issue brings together some of the highlights from the fifty-fifth annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP). Utah Valley University hosted the conference on October 20–22, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The title of this issue, "Placing Transcontinental Philosophy," attempts to capture a sense of the expanding diversity and depth of continental philosophy in the new millennium as it is practiced and advanced by SPEP. The neologism transcontinental philosophy signifies not only the growing global reach but also the profound developments of continental philosophy as it has been taken up through other cultural standpoints and linguistic orientations. The articles included in this issue exemplify moving beyond the parameters that have traditionally defined continental philosophy. Taking on philosophical standpoints from African American, Chicana, East Asian, and Indian cultures, the borders of Western philosophy not only are expanded but are also called into question as such. A rich and provocative variety of themes—for example, awakening, the body, capitalism, community, cosmopolitanism, epistemology, ethics, forgiveness, freedom, gender, habit, intimacy, myth, nature, refugees, [End Page 313] religion, sexual difference, and silence—are given expression here in the contexts of comparative cross-cultural philosophies, the history of philosophy, recent French philosophies, political philosophies, and decolonial and critical race philosophies.
The issue opens with Brian Schroeder's SPEP co-director's address. Modeled somewhat loosely on the American Philosophical Association presidential address, this relatively new session was designed to offer the outgoing co-director the opportunity to speak to the whole membership about his or her own work and to offer reflections on the state of the field and/or the discipline. Schroeder's article, "The Basho of Transcontinental Philosophy," addresses both of these tasks. Taking up the Japanese term basho, which means "place" or "location," Schroeder inquires about the place of transcontinental philosophy within the context of SPEP and in the philosophical profession in general. He also addresses the place of silence in philosophical discourse, arguing that this is inseparable from the place of the other to whom one listens and with whom community occurs. Here Schroeder draws on the thinking of Nishida, Nishitani, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze, Lingis, and Casey, among others. Rather than presenting a narrowly argued position on the complex concept of basho, however, Schroeder offers a series of reflections, or, rather, a constellation of places, that attempt to situate briefly his own philosophical orientation with respect to SPEP and the place that the SPEP way of philosophizing occupies in the broader context of our contemporary society and its relation to the non-Western world.
The next article is the plenary address that Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak delivered at the close of the 2016 SPEP conference. Titled "Celebrating Bimal Krishna Matilal: A Give and Take," this is an example of transcontinental philosophy in its fullest sense. Drawing on her rich command of Western philosophical sources, Spivak engages in a "'culturally different' philosophical/narrative discourse" by reading the great Sanskrit epics of ancient India, Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana, as narrative instantiations of philosophy. This is the result of Spivak's cross-disciplinary working relationship and friendship with Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935–1991), who was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University. Combining Matilal's expertise in Indic rational critique and her own as a feminist reader animated by deconstruction, Spivak presents some of the results of this engagement before building on this to present the case of Madhusudana Saraswati, a sixteenth-century philosopher who introduced various radical elements into existing Hindu monasticism. [End Page 314]
The next section of the issue contains the 2016 prizewinning articles by emerging scholars. The recipient of the Junior Scholar Prize was Adam Knowles, whose article "Hospitality's Downfall: Kant, Cosmopolitanism, and Refugees" applies Kant's conceptions of cosmopolitanism and hospitality to analyze the current refugee crisis. Knowles argues that the ethical demand put on a host nation by refugees is a duty to create hospitable spaces and questions whether the earth itself has been rendered inhospitable in the neoliberal age. The Graduate Student Prize was awarded to Robert S. Leib for his article "Homo Sacer...