Yet another conference with excessive participation fees- especially for PhD students

Concerning the 300 Euro registration fees of the “Philosophy Conference
Athens Greece”, whose CFP was just a while ago posted on Philos-L list:

Yet another conference that de facto excludes PhD students from
participating. The conference fee and other extras are prohibitive.

I would be interested to see how many PhD students actually attend this
conference. Let me make a prediction: five?

Whenever I see these really irrational prices, I can’t help it but wonder
where is all this money going to? Is everything outsourced and there is a
huge and unnecessary cost in everything? Why are costs so high? Where is all
this money going? Who makes a profit?

300 Euros JUST for registration. That must be close to a world record.

Basically, a PhD student, say from a UK university, would need about 1000
Euros to fully attend this conference.

Please do let us know, after the conference has taken place, how many PhD
students have actually attended and given a presentation. I really wonder.

There is more to be said, and more importantly, more to *be done* concerning excessive conference fees, which cannot be organized through Philos-L. But it *must be done*.

I am hinting at boycotting such conferences so that we effectuate a change, from within this market logic.

I would love to see the same comments that were made there, repeated here, so that I could incorporate them in a main text and enable a sort of critical campaign to begin and have some international real effect.

The reasons *why* we, philosophers, complain were well covered by colleagues on Philos-L.

I found the question of the organizer as to why are we *philosophers* complaining more than other disciplines, indicating a fundamental insensitivity and ignorance to the realities of the academia. The answer is simple: Apart from our ethical sensitivity, it is also because we, philosophers, *suffer more from the budget cuts than other disciplines*, all over the world.

God Bless my parents, for they kept assisting me financially for attending some conferences.

Christos Hadjioannou
Associate Tutor & DPhil Candidate in Philosophy
University of Sussex


About Christos Hadjioannou
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2 Responses to Yet another conference with excessive participation fees- especially for PhD students

  1. Henny Blomme says:

    What puzzles me, is that Patricia Hannah (the editor of almost all volumes with papers from earlier such “general conferences in philosophy”) states explicitly that these conferences are “sponsored by the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER)”.

    But where does the sponsor get the money to sponsor? Is it the money of the participants, cq of the participant’s respective (rich enough) parents or (rich enough) academic institutions?

  2. gamanrad says:

    Are you going to compile the reasons laid out on Philos-L for/against the high conference fees? If you asked each commenter on your post there, either privately or on Chora, I’m sure you would get positive response from most. The issue seems to illustrate the entire disconnect between what is going on in academia (and how it ought to be funded) and what is going on in business. Is conference-holding a business, or is it a not-for-profit endeavour that will allow ideas to be shared through active face-to-face presentation and discussion? What should it be? The death of Aaron Swartz underlies this disconnect, the two views of how the world ought to be juxtaposed as he hacked JSTOR while the federal law pursued him with a vengeance.
    Conferences cost money to organise, no doubt. Skype and other facilities (online conferencing and so on) offer somewhat limited benefits as an alternative (I was an OU student and our tutors held online tutorials periodically. These were inevitably frustrating – I’ve participated in them for work, too – but it was possible to get some kind of debate and discussion going. Very different from face to face. Not necessarily worse. Certainly less sense of the personalities behind the ideas, which can be a loss). But actual, physical meetings still have a place. Who should pay for them? It depends, doesn’t it, on what you think the role of the state is in providing fora for thinking. Private money with no strings is another possibility but philanthropists almost always have a particular point of view, political or ideological. I don’t think I can recall any who didn’t. Even governments are ideologically driven, are they not? (I’m not sure.) So we’re back to whether conferences ought to be self-financing which means, in essence, that they are businesses. Businesses have the most obvious vested interest in ensuring that some material benefit creates the direction of the conference (which is why, one would imagine, philosophers find such an approach so abhorent). I think you’ve made an important point. My personal experience is limited, but I had a paper accepted for a conference in Gaza and had no funding to attend, and was not, at that stage, affiliated to a university. Last year I attended and gave a paper at a conference in London and, after enquiring about the possibility of financial support, was given a generous grant (200 euro) from my then-university for travel and attendance (supplying receipts for the cheapest transport and accomodation options).

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