It is our pleasure to invite you to attend the 48th annual Jean Gebser Society Conference, which will be held at the Nalanda campus (room 9235) of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, from Oct. 12-14. There is no fee for attending, which means faculty, students, staff, or members of the public who wish to attend are invited to drop in for the full or part of the weekend. However, we do invite all prospective attendees to fill out this registration form (optional) so we can contact you with details prior to the event. We will also post an event page on Facebook for communicating with conference attendees.
The Gebser Society is an academic society dedicated to exploring the life, work, and interdisciplinary contributions of the Swiss-Austrian scholar Jean (Hans) Gebser (1905-1973). In his time, Gebser was interested in transformations of culture and the phenomenology of consciousness, drawing from a multitude of disciplines, but always stemming from his background in the humanities as a scholar of Rilke’s poetry. Our conferences tend to blend poetic explorations and consciousness studies with rigorous academic presentations across academic fields. Members of the Gebser Society often arrive from different areas of study: communications, economics, law, architecture, religious studies, and philosophy, to name a few. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join and involves a small fee (discounted for graduate and undergraduate students). You do not need to join the Society in order to attend the conference.
Some of participants may have encountered Jean Gebser’s name through the work of integral philosopher Ken Wilber, whose early writings and models were deeply influenced by Gebser’s thought. This is particularly relevant for attendees who live in the Boulder area, where an Integral Center dedicated to Wilber’s writings has been located for over a decade. There are some distinctions worth noting between the two philosopher and their approaches. If you would like to get a better sense of Gebser’s work, here is a link to a biobibliography for Gebser written by former Gebser Society President Aaron Cheak. This essay traces some of Gebser’s influences and explorations, including his encounter with the integral structure of consciousness in the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. You will also find some interesting information about Gebser in this informational overview on Gebser’s thought created by current Gebser Society President Jeremy Johnson (direct link to part 1 & part 2 here).
Our theme for the 2018 conference is “Gebser and Asia: Theory, Practice, Engagement,” a theme that we chose in conjunction with Naropa’s tradition and contemplative education vision. In fact, the event is being co-sponsored by Giovannina Jobson and Naropa’s Contemplative Practices Office. You can view the full conference description here. If you would like to view past conference proceedings, you can access those at this link.
We plan to offer an introductory session to Gebser’s work during the weekend, and we will also offer experiential activities interspersed between the panel presentations throughout the event and starting on Thursday afternoon. The conference activities will go through Sunday afternoon. Our conferences tend to be small, so the supportive and intimate setting allows for lots of good conversations and connections to happen over the course of the weekend.
Here’s a handout with more information on travel, lodging, and attractions in the Boulder area to help you plan for the event. If you sign up to receive updates using the registration link below, we’ll email you a draft of the conference program around the first of October.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
The Conference Planning Team
GEBSER AND ASIA: THEORY, PRACTICE, ENGAGEMENT
48th Annual Jean Gebser Society Conference
Nalanda Campus (Room 9235) // Naropa University
Boulder, Colorado // October 12–14, 2018