This year marks some major milestones for the Modern Stoicism organization and the broad movement of modern Stoics worldwide! This will be the 10th international STOICON conference and the 10th year running the Stoic Week course. The smaller, local Stoicon-X events haven’t been around quite so long as these, but there have been plenty of them throughout the years, and we’re hoping to see many of them this time around as well!
The STOICON Conference
STOICON Number 10 will be held online again this year, and is currently planned to take place from 10 AM – 5:30 PM on October 29. We’ll be publishing a full schedule and opening up a site where you can get your tickets for the event later on in August. There is quite a bit that we can tell you at the present time, though. This will indeed be the 10th STOICON conference. The first in 2013 was held at Birkbeck, University of London. 2014 and 2015 were both also held in London at Queen Mary University of London. It then shifted across the Atlantic in 2016 and 2017, to New York City first, and then Toronto next. 2018 saw the conference shift back to London again, hosted at the Senate House at the University of London. In 2019 STOICON went somewhere new, and also somewhere very old in the history of Stoicism, the original home of the philosophy, the city of Athens in Greece. STOICON 2020 had to go online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it worked out so well that we decided to continue holding STOICON online for 2021 and 2022. It allows us to open the event up to people all over the world (though some time-zones will have a tougher time!), and accommodate far more people than the in-person version.
This year’s STOICON will incorporate a number of great talks, panels, and a workshop. We don’t have the complete lineup of the speakers entirely confirmed, but we can tell you about most of the plans at this point. We will kick off with a welcome to the conference by John Sellars, one of the founders of Stoicon, Stoic Week, and the Modern Stoicism organization. He’ll be joined briefly by Greg Sadler, the MC for this year, and by Andi Sciacca, Harald Kavli, and Phil Yanov, who are co-organizing Stoicon. Our keynote address will be delivered by another of the founding members, Christopher Gill, familiar to many of our readers, I expect as an important, influential and innovative scholar of Stoicism and of ancient philosophy more broadly. It is a real honor to have him as our keynote speaker this year!
Last year’s death contemplation by Kathryn Koromilas was one of the most popular talks of STOICON 2021, so we asked her to come back and provide a similar talk structured as a workshop. We’re happy to say that she accepted right away, and we’re very much looking forward to that talk. We have three shorter talks followed by Q&A lined up. These will be given by Piotr Stankiewicz, Brittany Polat, and Rob Colter. We are organizing two panels this year as well. One will be focused on “Stoicism Around The World,” and includes (confirmed so far) Aldo Dinucci (Brazil), Kellys Andreina Rodriguez (Spain), Sascha Rother (Germany), Piotr Stankiewicz (Poland), and Judith Stove (Australia). The other panel will feature authors and editors of recent books on Stoicism, including Donald Robertson, Karen Duffy, Leah Goldrick, Kevin Vost, and David Fideler.
One other feature of recent STOICONs that we will be continuing is the pre-recorded “Lightning Round” talks. These are short (5 minute or less) talks recorded in advance, which we then assemble into one hour’s worth of talks running one after another. We will be running another post specifically about these in the coming weeks. But for now, if you’re considering producing a Lightning Talk, you might reach out to Harald Kavli, who will be coordinating them again for this year.
This year it starts on Monday, October 24 and runs through Sunday, October 30. Stoic Week offers participants the opportunity to “live like a Stoic” (the original title for the week the first year it was offered), by participating in a structured set of daily Stoic exercises and short readings from Stoic texts. These can be found in a downloadable handout, which we update each year, and make available here on the Modern Stoicism site shortly before Stoic Week begins.
Another key feature of Stoic Week is the free online course which we offer each year. The course contains useful resources for participants and discussion forums, in which participants from all over the world can discuss their experiences and insights as they work through the exercises and readings. We will open enrollment for the online class a few weeks before Stoic Week kicks off, and we will post the link to the course here once enrollment begins (you’ll also see posts in the Modern Stoicism social media as well).
Each year we have offered the online course has seen thousands of new students enroll in the Stoic Week course. Most people who take the course once repeat the course year after year. There are always some new materials from the previous year, but even better, working through the course (in my experience) offers a great opportunity for a weeklong Stoic “tuneup”.
For a number of years now, in addition to the main Stoicon conference, followed by Stoic Week, local organizations, schools, and institutions have hosted their own events. Early on these were listed as “Stoic Week” events, but in recent years they have developed into Stoicon-X events. We picked that name “Stoicon-X”, by analogy to the larger TED and smaller, local TED-X conferences. Stoicon-X offers local Stoic communities a chance to put together and put on their own events, whether in-person or online, throughout the “season of Stoicism” before and after Stoicon and Stoic Week.
As with previous years, most likely some of the Stoicon-X events will be online, and some will be face-to-face events in different locations around the world. So there’s somewhat less of a concern with overlap in dates and times than last year, when due to the pandemic, all of the Stoicon-X events (with the exception of Stoicon-X Moscow) were held online.
Just to be clear, Stoicon-X events are not run by us at Modern Stoicism; they are run by you, the Stoic community. We don’t control them and so cannot take any liability for them, although we are happy to publicize events here on our website and via our social media channels. If you would like to attend an event, but there isn’t one planned near you, perhaps this is your chance to organize one. You might be the first person ever to organize a Stoic event in your city or even your country!
If you are planning, or even just considering organizing a local Stoicon-X event, there’s several bits of information that you’ll want to know, a few things you’ll need to do, and several people you’ll want to (sooner or later) be in touch with.
First off, there are clear guidelines and helpful advice for how to organize and put on a “Stoicon-X” event. If this is your first time putting on one of these events, you’re going to want to check out that short document (developed a few years back), and give some thought to the event you’re planning. If your local Stoic organization already has experience in putting on Stoicon-X events from previous years, you’re probably set.
Second, if you want to bill your event as a “Stoicon-X”, and use that name, you must download, fill out, and sign the licence agreement with the Modern Stoicism organization (you can get that here). You will then return that signed agreement to John Sellars (click here to email him). This is not optional, and you will want to handle that sooner than later.
Third, in order to publicize your Stoicon-X event here in Stoicism Today, once you have your event planned, and you have created a page for your event, you should contact Greg Sadler (email here) and Harald Kavli (email here), the editorial staff of Stoicism Today. Do not wait until the last minute to get in touch and provide information about your Stoicon-X (posts are written in advance in this blog).