ICNAP I 2009 Business Meeting Minutes & Bylaws

ICNAP (Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomelogists)

Inaugural meeting – Business meeting

held on May 8, 2009 in Ramapo College (NJ)



(1) Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by L. Embree


(2) Approval of Agenda

The submitted agenda was approved unanimously.


(3) Remarks of Precipitator


Dear Colleagues,

Since I am the instigator or catalyst or precipitator of this organization we are founding, it seems appropriate that I convey my intentions and hopes and do so in writing so that they can be retained in its archive for reference down through the ages. Please excuse some autobiographical immodesty in an old man.

I became a phenomenologist in a course of Edward Ballard at Tulane University in 1961, that led me to graduate school with Dorion Cairns and Aron Gurwitsch at the New School for Social Research in the 1960s, and I have been in on or near the beginning of quite a few phenomenological organizations since then and this could be my last.

In my home country, I was at the second meeting of the Husserl Circle and spoke at the second meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Phenomenology (SPEP) in 1969 and at the first meeting of the Merleau-Ponty Circle in 1976. I am also a founding member of the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (SPHS) and was also President of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, Inc. (CARP) for 20 years.

            Outside the USA, I witnessed and/or found support for the founding of a number of regional phenomenological organizations, beginning with the Circulo LAtinamericano de FENomenologia (CLAFEN) in 2002, the Central and Eastern European Conference on Phenomenology (CEECOP), the Nordic Society for Phenomenology (NSP), the Phenomenology in East Asia CirclE (PEACE), the Rete Euromediterranea di Fenomenologia per il Dialogo Intercultural (REN), as well as the planetary Organization of Phenomenological Organizations (OPO) in 2003.

            Except for OPO, the foreign organizations just mentioned are regional and are accompanied by various numbers of local phenomenological organizations in their regions of which my latest total count for the whole planet is 174. For a long time there did not seem need for a North American regional organization because we had SPEP. But for some years now SPEP has become more and more “Continental,” a label I now regret originating in the 1970s, particularly since phenomenology has seemed increasingly crowded out by other tendencies, as has been SPHS, which has suffered from the positivism-like disciplinary arrogance of even Continental philosophy that disparages the three dozen disciplines beyond philosophy with phenomenological tendencies in them as just so much sociology. So for some time I have been increasingly feeling the need for a regional North American organization composed just of phenomenologists.

Another motive for my precipitating this organization began for me at the New School where the Continental European practice continued of requiring a minor in a non-philosophical discipline and I took graduate courses actually in sociology (don’t tell anybody!) with two students of Max Weber. As for philosophical phenomenology at The New School, it continued in the teaching and writing of Cairns, Gurwitsch, and of course Alfred Schutz the often overlooked focus of Edmund Husserl on Wissenschaftslehre (theory of science or science theory as I often like to call it) and my own efforts continue that with a focus on the cultural sciences, archaeology in particular, along with extensive scholarship on the writings of the mentioned three New School figures. This focus was further developed by some 20 years at Duquesne and in friendships there with phenomenological psychologists. Hence, when I led the editing of the Encyclopedia of Phenomenology (1997) I got entries on over a score of disciplines beyond philosophy included because I recognized that phenomenology was a multidisciplinary as well as planetary (and multilingual) tradition.

In recent years I have become increasingly bothered by how much soi disant “phenomenology” is actually not reflective investigation of things themselves but scholarship on texts, something the hermeneutical stage of our tradition has fostered. The phenomenological tendencies in non-philosophical disciplines do not suffer from this philologism, as I call it, nearly so much. Accordingly, I have been urging that phenomenologists actually do phenomenology for awhile now. But then two other things happened to me. One was that I participated in interdisciplinary phenomenological conferences in Taiwan and Korea and the other was that when Tom Nenon and I wrote the Editor’s Introduction to the volume on North America of Phenomenology 2003 we discovered that the distinctive feature of phenomenology in our region is its interdisciplinarity.

Elsewhere there are signs of our planetary tradition getting beyond the hermeneutical stage, e.g., work on interculturality coming from Germany, work on religion coming from France, work on nonhuman animals in Spain, work on ecophenomenology in the USA, etc. I even have hopes for the wider return phenomenological science theory. Yet in relation to these developments I believe that our overall future lies in interdisciplinarity, which already plays a role in the relationship of hermeneutical phenomenology with Classics and in the relations of constitutive and existential phenomenology with Psychiatry and Psychology, and this because—phenomenologically speaking—exciting new issues and ideas arise for colleagues in one disciplinary perspective when they encounter phenomenological research done in other disciplinary perspectives.

So this is the story of how I have come to try to found this society as one that is (1) for North Americans (but with guests from other regions), (2) phenomenological (and not Continental), and (3) vigorously interdisciplinary (and thus with philosophy as but one among many other disciplines represented).

We need a regional organization for phenomenologists in North America and I for one believe that the future of phenomenological investigation of things and not scholarship on texts is interdisciplinary, something that I hope the encountering work done in other disciplines can persuade others of as it has persuaded me.

– Lester Embree


(4) Decision to Found Society

It was unanimously decided to found the society according to the principles delineated by the precipitator.


(5) Decision on Name

The name ICNAP (Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists) was adopted unanimously.


(6) Decision on Bylaws

There was discussion on the submitted draft for bylaws of the association (see attached draft).

After discussion, it was decided that Christine Daigle and Mary-Beth Morrissey will revise and finalize the document, following the suggestions and requests from members.


(7) Decision on Where and When to Meet Next

Maureen Connolly and Christine Daigle have proposed to host the next meeting of ICNAP at Brock University. This was accepted unanimously by members. Information on dates will be circulated by email.


(8) Election of General Secretary, Local Coordinator, Secretary Treasurer, etc.

The following members have been unanimously elected to serve as executive officers:


President:                    Lester Embree

            Secretary:                    Jackie Martinez

            Treasurer:                    Michael Barber

            Members-at-large:       Erick Garrett,

Mary-Beth Morrissey,

Lori Schneider


(9) Decision on Dues Structure

The dues indicated in the draft of the bylaws will be observed.


(10) Need for Bank Account

Our newly elected treasurer, Michael Barber, will take care of setting up an account for the association.


(11) Decision concerning Essays for OPO

The procedure delineated in the bylaws will be followed. The members agreed that the association should be part of OPO and should send representatives.


(12) Decision concerning Publication

Saulius Geniusas and Richard Lanigan will coordinate a publication featuring papers presented at the inaugural meeting of the association.




ANNEX – Draft of Bylaws (as of May 18, 2009)



Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists





ICNAP is an association that fosters interdisciplinarity by encouraging the building of connections between colleagues in various disciplines. The focus is on phenomenology but the aim is interdisciplinary. ICNAP wishes to promote phenomenological work as it is done in various disciplines and across disciplines. It is an organization subscribed to OPO (the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations) and agrees with its aims and objectives.



Any person interested in pursuing the aims and objectives of the association can become a member. One becomes a member by paying their membership fees annually. The following schedule of fees will be observed:


            Tenured, tenure-streamed, full-time               20$


            Independent scholars, graduate students,

underemployed, retired                                   10$


Membership fees do not include conference fees which will be calculated every year to cover the costs of the conference organization, venue and activities. These will be announced when the conference program is publicized.

Membership fees will be paid to the treasurer of the association, no later than December 30 for the following year.



The association members will elect an executive committee from among themselves to oversee the activities of the association. Elections will take place at the annual business meeting. The executive committee shall comprise a president, a secretary, a treasurer, and up to 3 members-at-large from different disciplines. The responsibilities of the executive committee are the following:

  • The executive committee will be in charge of organizing the annual meetings. The executive committee will be in charge of forming an editorial committee with at least 2 members from every discipline involved in the coalition.
  • The executive committee will be responsible for sending representatives to the meetings of OPO.
  • The executive committee will conduct its business electronically in between annual meetings.
  • The executive committee will hold a general business meeting for all members at the annual meetings of the association.



The association shall meet every year at a time that members agree upon. The meetings will be hosted by association members who will then act as local organizers taking care of meeting rooms and any other needs of the association for its meeting (such as coffee breaks, travel arrangements, hotel room reservations, etc.).

The executive committee will ensure that a local organizer is in place for each annual meeting and that arrangements are made for the meeting.

The executive committee will act as the program committee for the annual meetings, evaluating the abstracts and/or papers it will receive in response to its call for papers.


Amendments to the By-laws

The by-laws of the association may be amended through a vote held at the annual business meeting. An amendment will be made when at least 2/3 of the members present vote in favor of it.


© ICNAP 2015