For Phish aficionados interested in the neuroscience of the jam or Talmudic interpretations of the band’s improvisational technique, Oregon State University will host the first Phish Studies academic conference at its Corvallis, Oregon campus May 17th through 19th. The conference will feature over 50 presentations, as well as special events such as panels, an exhibition fair, art show and the soft premiere of a new documentary about Phish fans, We’ve Got it Simple.
Oregon State philosophy professor, and longtime Phish fan, Stephanie Jenkins organized the conference. Her credentials include a a Ph.D in Philosophy and Women’s Studies from Pennsylvania State University and an estimated 150 Phish concerts. Jenkins has also taught classes about the philosophy of Phish, hosted public philosophy events at Phish concerts and even organized class field trips to Phish shows.
“I was always interested in the connection between Phish and philosophy,” Jenkins said. “I just didn’t think it was something I was allowed to do. But I have really supportive colleagues here at Oregon State. They encouraged me to develop the class and that has now led to the conference.”
The panels and presentations for the Phish conference cover a diverse array of topics and boast delightfully academic titles peppered with Phish puns and references. A few examples are “Companions on this Ride: Phish Fan Community and Culture,” “People of the (Helping Friendly) Book: Jews, Judaism, and Phish” and “Buckets Full of Thoughts: Philosophical Approaches to Phish.”
For fans and budding Phish scholars, registration to the conference is open now. The early registration rate is $125 for the weekend and includes admission to all events. Day passes will be available for $75.