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Power and Politics

The 2010 Program Committee seeks panel proposals that will focus on Power and Politics. Power is a foundational concept in history and the social sciences, and just as clearly a contested one. Traditionally, the understanding of power as the capacity to enact one's will against resistance and images of the coercive, central state apparatus held sway, and these are still compelling visions. More recently, we have seen the emergence of a rather different conception of power as a diffuse set of forces, at work in the practices of everyday life, which may entangle actors in their own subjection. Here, the analysis of power has expanded to include the constitution of domination outside the formal polity, in forms of inequality and difference such as race, gender, or sexuality, or in terms of capillary processes working through classification systems, therapeutic discourses, and other technologies of regulation. Similarly, notions of politics and the political are debated. Some focus on collective practices, formal and informal, directed at states, while others stress the ways in which "the personal is political," or examine individual or small scale acts of compliance, resistance or inauguration that may be carried into the polity. And which issues and relations are considered political is historically specific. Power and politics, then, have many faces, and we may trace their institutionalization in forms of rule and the formation of subjects in a broad array of spatial, national and historical contexts.

As historical social scientists and social science historians, we hail from many traditions and disciplines. But we share common ground in the weight we assign to historicizing our understandings of power and politics. SSHA is a site in which we may use our collective intellectual resources and disciplinary traditions to help us to challenge foundational concepts and conventional understandings within our own fields. More broadly, still, we can ask what the streams of social science history and historical social science imply for understanding power and politics in today's world, and in the future.

The Urban Network would like to encourage submissions that consider labor issue, Shelter, Order, and Food, Planning Ideology, Ancient City, African-American Urban Experience, Historical Trajectory of the Ghetto, Real Estate Markets and History, informal urban institutions, Jobs, Policy, and Urban Visual Culture, and Planning Practice. The 2010 conference will be held in downtown Chicago, in the Palmer House Hilton. Chicago has served as a stage for some of America's most memorable political events and has a rich history as a site of civil rights, labor, feminist, anti-war, student and other social movement organizing; many are fascinated by its municipal politics, its role in national partisan battles, and its emergence as one of North America's global cities. Thus, we also encourage panels and papers organized around Chicago themes. As ever, papers and panels on themes not related to the conference theme are also welcome.

Conference submissions are now being accepted. Individuals may either login to submit a conference proposal directly, or consult SSHA's system of scholarly networks and network representatives for further assistance. Individuals that are new to SSHA will need to create an account prior to using the online submission site. Paper and panel proposal require title, abstract, and contact information (address, phone number, and email) for each author. Panel proposals should include a panel title, paper titles and abstracts, and contact information for each panel participant.

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2010. For further information or assistance contact the Urban Network co-chairs, Julian C. Chambliss (jchambliss@rollins.edu) or Michael McQuarrie (mmcquarrie@ucdavis.edu)