CFP: [20th] Crisis, Contradiction, Contestation: Postwar Economy and Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Annie McClanahan
contact email: 


“Crisis, Contradiction, Contestation: Postwar Economy and Culture”

The Interdisciplinary Marxism Working Group at UC Berkeley invites graduate
students and independent scholars in the humanities and social sciences to
submit proposals for a conference, taking place on Friday March 6 and
Saturday March 7, 2009 at UC Berkeley, on economy and culture in the
post-WW2 era.

Recent crises in global capitalism have functioned, as crises often do, to
reveal the historical contours of the present, providing new opportunities
to read history against the grain. This call for papers proposes that as
our economies enter a period of potentially profound structural
transformation, it is all the more necessary to examine the relationship
between the economic mode of production and cultural and social forms.

For this conference, we seek work that brings together analysis of the
modes of economic accumulation which have characterized the last 60
yearsâ€"their actors, institutions, histories, and structuresâ€"with analysis
of the forms of subjectivity, ideology, culture, and resistance they have
produced and been produced from. How have attempts within sociology,
geography, political science, and history to explain the economic
transformations of the 70s influenced accounts of cultural forms before and
after this shift? Where do considerations of the novel, of poetry, of film,
of visual art, and of architecture stand in relation to broader economic
and political histories? How does work in sociology, cultural studies, and
anthropology on the collectivities and cultures of economic productionâ€"from
day traders to migrant workersâ€"negotiate the relationship between subject
and structure? How can analysis of economic processes like risk management,
collateralization, foreign and consumer debt structuring, privatization,
and data collection give us access to related transformations in national
security, war, and neoimperialism? What has been the social or cultural
effect of new forms of labor, including not only new modes of “immaterial”
knowledge work but also the labor being done in sweatshops and
maquiladoras? Other potential topics of interest include, but are not
limited to, the following: cultural globalization and uneven development;
anti-capitalist social movements; experiments with value in literature and
the arts; the management, exploitation, or creation of risk; other capitals
(cultural, social) or other economies (symbolic, affective, libidinal,
spectacular); financialization and culture; class contradiction and
conflict in literature and the arts; technological transformations in
economy and culture; race, gender, or sexuality and the economic.

We hope this conference will provide an opportunity for dialogue between
all participants of the sort often not possible at larger conferences. As
such, we will not schedule panels concurrently, and request that papers
presented not exceed 20 minutes so that each panel is followed by ample
time for Q&A. All panels and events will be free and open to the public
and accepted participants are expected to attend as many panels as possible
to enable a sustained conversation over the 2 days of the conference. On
Friday, March 6th we will feature a keynote presentation by New York
University Professor of Art and Public Policy Randy Martin, whose most
recent books include The Financialization of Everyday Life and An Empire of
Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management,
searingly critical and engaged interdisciplinary accounts of how life is
lived, war fought, and ideology sustained within a financialized present.

Paper proposals should be no more than 600 words (1-2 pages double spaced)
and should be accompanied by a brief cover letterâ€"this letter may (where
applicable) describe any larger project from which the proposed paper
emerges, list other conferences or symposia in which the submitter has
participated, and should provide contact information. Proposals and cover
letters should be submitted via email to as
attached documents by Monday, December 1st and all accepted presenters will
receive their invitations to participate no later than January 1st. This
conference is intended to be primarily an opportunity for graduate students
to present their work, but postdoctoral and early-stage independent
scholars are welcome to submit proposals as well. One or two meals will be
provided by conference organizers and if housing costs are a prohibitive
burden, arrangements for housing with local participants can potentially be

This event is organized by the Interdisciplinary Marxism Working Group, a
group which has, for the last ten years, provided an opportunity for
graduate students, faculty, and others to read and discuss together works
of both classical and contemporary Marxism and to frame those conversations
around interdisciplinaryâ€"historical, structural, and theoreticalâ€"concerns.
The conference is additionally funded by the Doreen B. Townsend Center for
the Humanities and affiliated departments and groups across UC Berkeley.

Deadline for proposals: Monday, December 1st
Email address for proposal submission:
Conference date: Friday March 6-Saturday March 7, 2009
Contacts for conference co-organizers: Jasper Bernes (
& Annie McClanahan (

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Received on Wed Oct 15 2008 - 14:09:16 EDT