2017 Interstices Symposium: The Arts of Spinoza + Pacific Spinoza


April 2, 2017

The Arts of Spinoza + Pacific Spinoza — Registration and programme

26-28 May 2017, University of Auckland and AUT University and St Paul Street Gallery.

Click here to register: http://aucklandspinoza2017.eventbrite.com

For further details, click on the images below and also scroll down.




Please click on the link below to register:


Payment is accepted in Visa and Mastercard. Please contact us on pacificspinoza@gmail.com if you require another method of payment. Some portions of the event are free to attend.

All delegates presenting a paper *must* register under one of the All Days options (either waged or concession) — and must register by Friday 19 May.

All others (e.g. those attending but not presenting a paper) may register up to the day of the event itself, and may either choose to mix and match selected portions of the conference or to register for All Days.

The conference dinner will take place on Saturday 27 May. The conference dinner will cost around NZD 40 and requires an additional ticket on top of the main registration options; it will not be included unless you select and buy a separate ticket for it when you register. Register by Monday 22 May for the conference dinner.



CLICK HERE to see the programme (final version, PDF, 1.8 MB).

Summary of plenary sessions:

Friday 26th May: An architecture-, planning-, and urban studies-themed opening night, with plenary talks on cities, urbanization, housing, and urban ecologies, featuring Susan Ruddick, Peg Rawes, and Beth Lord. Includes finger food and drinks.

Saturday 27th May: Centrepiece plenaries, featuring Moira Gatens and Anthony Uhlmann on ‘the arts of Spinoza’, and a ‘Pacific Spaces’ panel on Spinoza and indigenous ontologies, with Carl Mika and Albert Refiti, and Jacob Culbertson via videoconferencing. Includes afternoon tea at an exhibition finissage at St Paul Street Gallery (an opportunity to see works by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and Ngahuia Harrison on the last day of these shows).

Sunday 28th May: Closing plenaries, featuring Michael LeBuffe on citizen and state in Spinoza’s politics, and a roundtable discussion on ‘Spinoza Here and Now’. Includes afternoon tea.

For main venues, scroll down to VENUES / LOCATIONS section.



For the original call for papers and longer discussion document, click here.

The great Dutch-Jewish philosopher Benedict de Spinoza (1632-77) has long been a major figure of world intellectual life. This conference will be the largest gathering in New Zealand in recent times of international Spinoza scholars. All are invited to attend.

Spinoza’s influence can be seen in many different fields — politics, ecology and environmentalism, literature, art, architecture and planning, geography, education, neuro–science, physics, theology, and more. His magnum opus, the Ethics, contains a whole theory of existence in less than two hundred pages, while also effectively offering a manual for human life: what it means to live well and be happy, to join forces with the other forces around us, to reconfigure our raging doubts and natural appetites into a state of equanimity, and to manage the inevitable human suffering that comes with being finite and mortal. Spinoza was also a remarkable political thinker and is considered one of the intellectual progenitors of liberal, secular democracy — his ideas were generative of many of the principles that now underpin modern free societies..

Speakers at the conference will address general aspects of Spinoza’s philosophy, but the conference has a more specific twofold theme: firstly, to discuss Spinoza’s importance for the arts, and secondly, to situate Spinoza’s philosophy within the particular locus of New Zealand, Australasia, the South Pacific, and the Pacific Rim.

The first theme of the symposium (‘The Arts of Spinoza’) has been inspired by the pioneering work on Spinoza and the arts by Moira Gatens — who, along with Michael LeBuffe, Susan Ruddick, and Anthony Uhlmann, will be in attendance to deliver plenary lectures. Since this conference is taking place under the auspices of the architecture journal Interstices, there will be an architecture-, planning-, and urban studies-themed opening night that will include a film screening and additional plenary talks from Beth Lord and Peg Rawes via videoconferencing.

The second theme (‘Pacific Spinoza’) is intended to give geographic concreteness and local specificity to the interpretation of Spinoza — to see how Spinoza might be or has been read in New Zealand and the Pacific, and inversely to see how our ways of thinking about New Zealand and the Pacific might be productively inflected by reading Spinoza. A special plenary panel featuring Carl Mika and Albert Refiti, with Jacob Culbertson via videoconferencing, will discuss Spinoza and indigenous philosophy.

The conference will be opened with a mihi whakatau and by His Excellency Rob Zaagman, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.



– Challis Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney
– Baier Chair in Early Modern Philosophy, University of Otago
– Professor of Geography & Planning, University of Toronto
– Professor, Writing and Society, University of Western Sydney

Pacific Spinoza plenary panel:
JACOB CULBERTSON (via videoconferencing)
– Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Haverford College
– Tuhourangi, Ngati Whanaunga; Senior Lecturer, Education, University of Waikato
– Senior Lecturer, Spatial Design, Auckland University of Technology

Via videoconferencing:
– Reader, Philosophy, University of Aberdeen
– Professor, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London




Please note there is one additional event which is ticketed separately: a lunch with Moira Gatens and Susan Ruddick on Friday 26 May, hosted by Architecture+Women-NZ. All welcome, but this is particularly for women in philosophy and academia, and women in the architecture/planning/spatial professions. Please go to a separate website to book a place for this: http://architecturewomen.org.nz/news-events/aw-nz-interstices-lunch-26-may-2017


Susan Ruddick will offer a masterclass/seminar on Thursday 25 May, 10.00 am to 12.00 noon, followed by lunch. Venue: Ontology Lab (Building 302, 5th floor, Room 551), University of Auckland Science Centre, 23 Symonds Street.

Moira Gatens will offer a masterclass/seminar on Friday 26 May, 11.00 am to 12.30 pm. Venue: WF202, 2nd Floor, AUT Business Building, 95-97 Governor Fitzroy Place, Auckland University of Technology.

Limited places available. Both masterclasses are free to attend.

To register, go to aucklandspinoza2017.eventbrite.com

Please check the programme above (check back for updates or changes).




Click on each of the images to link to Google Maps.


University of Auckland Neon Foyer and Engineering Lecture Theatre, 22 Symonds Street (for all plenary sessions, except the Pacific Spinoza / Pacific Spaces plenary). Look for the bright red neon wall artwork:

Auckland University of Technology, 6th floor, Sir Paul Reeves Building aka WG building, Governor Fitzroy Place (for all delegate presentations). Look for the sculptural concrete corner pillar:

ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland University of Technology, 40 St Paul Street (for the Pacific Spinoza / Pacific Spaces plenary):



Ontology Lab, room 551, 5th floor, University of Auckland Science Centre, 23 Symonds Street, Corner of Symonds and Wellesley Streets (for Susan Ruddick’s masterclass).  Take the lifts to the 5th floor:

WF202, Auckland University of Technology Business Building aka WF Building, 95 Governor Fitzroy Place (for Moira Gatens’s masterclass). Take the escalator one flight up to the 2nd floor:


Click on each of the images to link to Google Maps.



Delegates should arrange their own accommodation in Auckland. Please do book your accommodation promptly.

We suggest the following, which are all within five to ten minutes walk of the conference venues:
– Quadrant Hotel, Waterloo Quadrant. Quote the code AUTUOA 5/17 to ask for special rates for conference delegates (but also check online).
– The Langham Hotel, Symonds Street
– Copthorne Hotel, Symonds Street
– Scenic Hotel, Queen Street
– VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites
– Quest on Queen Serviced Apartments, Queen Street
– Waldorf-St Martins Serviced Apartments, St Martins Lane
– Waldorf-Tetra Serviced Apartments, Wakefield Street
Budget options, also within walking distance:
– YHA Auckland City Backpackers
– YHA Auckland International Backpackers
Bed and breakfasts, further away from the venues, generally requiring a bus/train/taxi ride:
– https://www.bnb.co.nz/auckland.html
And of course AirBnB.



Hosted by the University of Auckland Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau and the Auckland University of Technology Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau.

Generously supported by the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, the Warren Trust, and Architecture+Women NZ. The Pacific Spinoza plenary panel has been organized with the assistance of St Paul Street Gallery and the Pacific Spaces research cluster at AUT. Susan Ruddick’s visit to New Zealand has been organized in partnership with the University of Auckland School of Environment, the University of Waikato and Victoria University of Wellington.
Thank you to our generous sponsors and partners.