Inaugural Essay Contest

Night Owls: Moving Life Online

Along with this Spring’s events, we will be sponsoring Night Owls essay contests! We would like to invite you to participate in the inaugural Night Owls essay contest on the topic of online communities. We want to hear your thoughts on the character and significance of our increasingly rapid movement towards living online. Please submit your essays of approx. 800 words in response to the following prompt:

In the last few weeks, in response to COVID-19, many of our everyday activities have moved online—including Night Owls! What does it mean for our communities, philosophical and otherwise, to become online communities (or: dot-communities?)? How much, and in what ways, does it change the character of our interactions and relationships, which already have relied so much, perhaps too heavily, on virtual modes of communication? Are we lonelier in this new reality, or more connected than before? Is the internet serving us better than it ever has, or are we settling once and for all for a life together that is not just mediated, but exhausted by the platforms we use to connect?  We particularly encourage essays that reflect philosophically on these questions, as well as other related themes and issues that you might think of. Possible angles include:

  • Philosophy without a body
  • Internet space and time
  • “Real” and “Fake” news/people/opinions
  • Social media “bubbles” and the public sphere
  • Longing in long distance relationships
  • Life affirmation/negation?
  • Being all alone

This essay contest is open to all interested philosophers and future philosophers. Please email your submissions to The essays will be judged by a team of University of Chicago philosophy graduate students, and winners will be announced at the first Night Owls event.  Prizes include: a Night Owls t-shirt, gift card to the Seminary Co-op bookstore, publication on the Night Owls website. The best essay will be considered for publication in The Point magazine.

Essays for this week’s contest will be due by next Wednesday, April 8 at 3 pm. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


Post a comment