Confronting Crisis: Left Praxis in the Face of Austerity, War and Revolution Historical Materialism Conference York University, Toronto, Canada May 8-11th, 2014



Confronting Crisis: Left Praxis in the Face of Austerity, War and Revolution
Historical Materialism Conference
York University, Toronto, Canada
May 8-11th, 2014

Confronted with a global context of austerity, exploitation, imperialist aggression, ongoing colonialism, and ecological crises, the world has been witness to growing social and political struggles over the past decade. A wide range of rural- and urban-based labour and social movements have fought back against the current ‘Age of Austerity,’ while new modes and geographies of resistance against dispossession and tyranny continue to inspire social change in the Global South. Against this backdrop, the 2014 Historical Materialism conference at Toronto’s York University invites proposals for papers, panels, and other kinds of conference participation that can contribute to a collective discussion on how to extend and revitalize Left critique and praxis in the current conjuncture.

We particularly encourage submissions that address the challenges and contradictions facing global anti-capitalist theory and action in the present. Some of the questions the conference strives to address include:

(Theme 1) What are the ideological blind spots of Left thought and practice, and how might they be redressed?

(Theme 2) How does the present historical moment challenge our understanding of the making of the modern global ‘working class’?

(Theme 3) How can Marxist theory be transformed to integrate an understanding of corporeality, identity and subjectivity in its analysis of capitalism and class politics?

(Theme 4) How might historical materialist theory account for the co-constitutive relationship between race, class, gender and sexuality, and what are the implications of such analysis for Left praxis?

(Theme 5) What are the contributions of anti-colonial struggles for internationalist Left politics and praxis today?

(Theme 6) What contributions and challenges do struggles for indigenous self-determination make to Marxist thought and vice versa?

(Theme 7) How can we read Marxist texts politically in the current conjuncture?

(Theme 8) What is the role of space, land, and urbanization in the development and crisis of imperialist, neo-colonial capitalism?

(Theme 9) What is the role of different modes of organization (e.g. parties, unions, student and social movements), and what challenges do they face in the fight against austerity?

(Theme 10) How might we conceptualize new modes of resistance, including the recent upsurge of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary currents, in the Global South?

(Theme 11) What is the specific role of spatial organization in the institution, reproduction and transformation of forms of imperialist, neo-colonial domination and relations of war?

(Theme 12) What are the contributions and challenges of anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist politics to existing ecological crises?

(Theme 13) How can historical materialism assist us in understanding the dynamics of agrarian change under contemporary capitalism, particularly the global food crisis?

(Theme 14) How might historical materialist theory account for the dialectics of the rural and urban geographies of accumulation, domination, and resistance?

(Theme 15) What roles might culture, art and aesthetics play in confronting the crisis of capitalism and building Left movements?

The organizing committee specifically welcomes panel proposals that directly address the above questions. To make a submission for a panel, please include a working title and anabstract of no more than 300 words for the panel, along with the individual paper titles andabstracts of no more than 300 words. Please make sure to also include the names, email addresses and academic affiliations of all panelists.

For individual submissions, please include a working title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as your name, email address and academic affiliation.

We strongly encourage all submissions to identify 1-2 themes from the above list that best describe the paper/panel topic.

The deadline for all submissions is January 10th, 2014.

For individual papers, please submit to:

For panel proposals, please submit to:

Please be advised that we cannot accommodate requests to present on a specific date or time slot and expect participants to be available for the full three days of the conference. The organizing committee also reserves the right to re-arrange panel proposals, if necessary. For more information please contact

Call for Papers: “New Cultures of the Left” – First South Asian Historical Materialism Conference (New Delhi, 3-4 April 2013)

The Delhi HM Conference “New Cultures of the Left”, the first South Asian Historical Materialism Conference, will be held at theConference Centre, Delhi University, on 3-4 April 2013. The conference occurs against several backgrounds that make the revival of the left and the reemergence of Marxist and other forms of radical theory and politics imperative. These ‘backgrounds’ include the massive convulsions in the world economy from the financial crash of 2008 onwards; the great uprisings in the Arab world that dominated the whole of 2011 with their remarkable mass-based struggles for democracy; the emergence in the West of spontaneous forms of resistance to Austerity politics and its fierce attacks on the lives of millions of people both in and out of employment. Continue reading