Political Paralysis: The Global Contemporary (SECOND EXTENSION)

deadline for submissions: 
February 20, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
The Marxist Reading Group at The University of Florida
contact email: 

   Political Paralysis: The Global Contemporary 

   The Twenty-First Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group    

   Keynote speakers: George Ciccariello-Maher and Andrew Ross

    21-23 March 2019

    University of Florida, Gainesville, FL



I hear it every day on the radio

Somebody shoots a guy he don't even know…

 --“Turn on the News,” Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade, 1984


In the age of Trump, mass shootings, climate change, and a host of other woes, paralysis seizes the political subject with a vise grip. Under the hegemony of late-stage capitalism, to imagine an alternative present seems like an exercise in quixotry, a last-ditch tilt at the windmills. However, this historical situation has not prevented Marxist cultural criticism from trying: thinkers such as Wendy Brown, George Ciccariello-Maher, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Andrew Ross theorize not only the contours of the contemporary but also its potential closures, ruptures—its radical possibilities. This conference seeks to investigate how current Marxist cultural criticism continues to enable utopian horizons in the face of a seemingly static present.  


The MRG invites scholars of any discipline to clarify and explore questions such as: What is the contemporary? What kind of cognitive map(s) can we use to navigate our political moment? What role does Marxist cultural criticism play in dark times? How do we theorize political paralysis in late-stage capitalism?


Papers and panels addressing any aspect of Marxism and the contemporary will be considered, but possible topics of interest include: 

  • Neofascism
  • Neoliberalism 
  • Globalization 
  • Digital rhetorics and cultures
  • Post-2008 financialization 
  • Activism and commodification 
  • Climate change
  • Transitioning modes of labor
  • Queer utopias
  • Political discourse in popular culture

Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words with 4-5 keywords for a 15-20 minute presentation, along with contact information, to theufmrg@gmail.com by Wednesday 20 February 2019. We will also consider panel proposals, but do ask that panelists represent multiple institutions and provide a brief description and rationale along with the panelists’ abstracts. Please indicate any a/v requests, and let us know if you have participated in past MRG conferences or if you are a UF-MRG alumnus. For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at theufmrg@gmail.com. For more information, visit our website: https://ufmrg.wordpress.com.