Incite Seminars is legally registered as an education nonprofit (501c3). In spirit, however, we are a worker-run cooperative. That means that we collaboratively share the vision, labor, and financial proceeds.
We also aspire to be member-influenced. That means we actively seek programming input from our membership. To become a member, visit our Patreon.
Our facilitators are an integral part of our community as well. Please visit the Facilitators page to read all about them.
Organizers & Programming Committee
Carlos Cavalie is on the programming committee. He is a native of Camden, New Jersey. He holds a master’s degree in research psychology from Rutgers University. He spent time as an adult volunteer in the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. Carlos was also a mentor for the SPARC program, a non-profit dedicated to increasing interest in STEM fields for students in the South Jersey area. He has been a research assistant in a wide variety of projects, including projects looking at the intersection of mental health in the criminal justice system and improving outcomes, and research seeking to improve digital accessibility for persons with disabilities. You can Carlos’s visual art used in some of the social media posts announcing upcoming Incite Seminars events.
Ken Scriboni I came to Incite Seminars in the Summer of 2020 when my critique of the academy had collapsed into total disillusionment and demotivation. I had abandoned a long and “promising” career in restaurants with the idealistic vision of returning to the vita contemplativa in a graduate program. I come to books like Mary Oliver—in order to save my life. I come to theory like bell hooks—as a place for healing. My return to the academy was an attempt to exit the precarity and burnout that described my restaurant career. I quickly learned that the academy was experientially no different than what I left: that it had done to books and theory what the restaurant industry had done to food and care; that the islands of refuge I once knew in the university had sunk so deep into the undifferentiated sea of objectivity that their days were numbered. Incite Seminars quickly became a place of refuge in a dark epoch, a community of fellow travelers who shared the trauma and critique of academic experience, and who still believed in the power of contemplation, aiming to wrestle its vital potentialities free from neoliberal hegemony, returning it to autonomous communitarian control. Incite became a healing and liberatory platform for me to reclaim my vita contemplativa from commodified subjugation and provided a strong intimate community for me to continue to grow as an intellectual, a reader, and a writer. I know many comrades who in the same sentence will express their deep nostalgia for “school” and say how they would “never” return to a graduate program. I hope that the flame held and cared for by Incite Seminars can grow and be shared with those comrades who are hungry for radical contemplative practice in accessible and non-subjugating ways.
I am a member of the programming and curriculum committees, I participate in the Anarchist Reading Circle and non-Buddhist Practice Posse, and facilitate seminars from time to time. I try to leverage my previous experiences as a critical pedagogy practitioner, maître d’, and world language teacher to create pedagogical structures that facilitate “student” autonomy and accessibility not for the transfer of, but for the production of liberatory knowledge and experiences.
Natalia Smirnov Forever a “good student,” I have felt like a rebel spy in traditional educational spaces, all the way into completing a doctorate in how people learn. Between producing legible lines for my CV, I started a critical research student collective, hosted humanizing writing retreats, organized anti-racist and anti-capitalist workshops, and experimented with forms of participatory research and dialogic pedagogy. I left academia buzzing with theoretical multiverses, exhausted and alienated from its hierarchical rites, and ready to abolish most kinds of “school.” Incite Seminars is a place where I feel at home with my intellectual revery and rebellion. Where I can learn as a process of both creation and destruction. Where I can conduct non-coercive educational experiments. Where my divergent ways of sensemaking are welcome but neither privileged nor used against me. I am deeply grateful for this community. Currently, I lead the monthly Ludic Liberation Lab where we make theory into practice through play, participate in the anarchist reading circle, and work with the programming committee to help facilitators craft engaging and accessible event descriptions.
Glenn Wallis My hatred of education began in the first grade. Although I lacked the language to articulate it, the oppressiveness of the classroom was inescapably visceral—the authoritarian bearing of Mrs. whatever-her-name-was, the herd-like obedience of my fellow students, the stultifying curriculum, the soul-crushing monotony of the daily routine. “Glenn! GLENN! Stop staring out the window!” I simply refused to go to school. Of course, I was forced to go. And so I did…until I was seventeen. Then I dropped out.
I dropped out of high school because of the most incredible educational experience that I could ever wish on anyone. This experience has informed all of my subsequent teaching, writing, and scholarship activities. It is at the heart of my involvement with Incite Seminars. In fact, it has informed my very life. Those were days of wild experimentation in secondary education. The Sudbury Valley School had opened not even ten years earlier, in 1968. Although it fashioned itself a “democratic” school, the Sudbury model could easily be adapted toward even more radical ends (“democratic education” was often code for “anarchist education”). It had no mandated curriculum; activities were driven by student curiosity and interests; no formal schedule; no age segregation; no ranking or unjustified hierarchies; no requirements, assignments, points, extra credit; no grades. Just mature, honest face to face dialogue, debate, discussion.
The first question put to me on the first day of school was, “what do you want to learn?” The second was, “what are your values.” Unfortunately, our school was not viable financially. When it closed its doors, I tried the local high school. Predictably, it was a disaster. So, at age seventeen, I dropped out for good. With Incite Seminars, my lifelong passion for a meaningful way to go about learning has found a new home. (You can read more about me at my personal website and at these other sites at Linktree.)
Cleo Kearns Cleo Kearns works in the fields of continental philosophy, anthropology and religion. She is the author of two books T. S. Eliot and Indic Traditions (Cambridge UP, 2008) and The Virgin Mary, Monotheism and Sacrifice (Cambridge UP, 2018). Her current research is on theory of religious sacrifice from Durkheim to Lacan and on contemporary global shamanism. She teaches classes on shamanism, comparative religion, literature and philosophy both online and onsite and is currently a Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College.
Philip Murphy Philip Murphy is a longtime student of Theravada Buddhism, having studied in the US and overseas with dharma teachers Larry Rosenberg, Sayadaw U Indaka, Shinzen Young, and George Haas. He has served as a director at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, the Insight Mediation Center of the Pioneer Valley (Easthampton, MA), and New York Insight Meditation Center. Philip is a founding member of the Buddhist Action Coalition NYC, and is a co-founder of the New York City chapter of climate and animal justice organization Animal Rebellion.
Joshua Ramey Joshua Ramey, PhD is a writer, educator, and shamanic practitioner based in Philadelphia. He is the author of The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal and Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency. Since earning his Doctorate in Philosophy from Villanova University in 2006, he has held positions at Grinnell College, Haverford College, and Rowan University. He is currently devoting his time and energy to writing in and teaching for counter-institutional initiatives like Incite Seminars. Support his work at www.patreon.com/joshuaramey. Learn more about his shamanic work at www.becoming-fluid.com.