Unscholarly Lectures by Scholarly-Type People

Bored of the slew of academic conferences and intellectual puffery in graduate level Philosophy by the end of the academic year of her Masters’ degree, Kale decided to take matters into her own hands and put out her own call for titles for something non-conferency: papers on something grad students have learned through personal experience, not books.

The first ‘Unscholarly Lectures by Scholarly-Type People’ was born, where five grad students gave talks on topics they have become knowledgeable on through the school of hard knocks.

The lectures would act as an opportunity for graduate students to establish and share personal knowledge, practice delivering a talk in front of a group (essential know-how for academic philosophy), and with luck, help open up new conversations.

With the the room full, students were invited to grab a pint before taking a seat. There were a few rules. There was to be no talking or getting drinks while speakers were delivering their talk, but each talk would be followed by ten minutes of discussion. This however would not be a purely intellectual exercise, but also shouldn’t diverge into personal chit-chat or a therapy session. Students had the challenge of engaging with personal content in an appropriate and constructive manner and seeing where the conversation would lead.

The titles:

  • Mechanical Actions For Philosophical Thought or How I Came To The Ontology of Turkey Dinosaurs
  • On the (Un)Translatability of Jokes, Or How (Not) To Be Funny in your Second Language
  • Someones and Someone’s
  • The Gravity of Intangible Gestures is Never Fully Realized Until they are Lost in the Irish Post
  • Learning to Like Your Own Company
  • Are You Sitting Uncomfortably? Towards a Phenomenology of Being Super Depressed
  • Brainwashing and Self-Development
  • The Vastness of the North American Continent as Some Sort of Metaphor for a Peculiar American Understanding of Loneliness
  • The Lost Art of Scratching


The success of the initial Unscholarly Lectures led to a second event in the summer of 2015, and the series continued in winter of 2016.