Historical Materialism Sydney—LESS THAN 3 WEEKS TO GO

20th Nov 2017

From HM Australasia:

Dear HM supporter

I am writing to remind you that this year’s Historical Materialism Sydney conference, at the University of Sydney’s New Law Building, is less than three weeks away — on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th December, 2017.

N.B. This year’s conference will be held on a Thursday and Friday, not a Friday and Saturday as in previous years.


We have received a record number of submissions this year an updated timetable of panels and speakers is attached.

This year’s keynote speaker is Jason W. Moore, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Binghamton University, and Coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network. In 2015 Jason published the widely praised and debated Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. His research fields include political ecology, agro-food studies, historical geography, social and spatial theory, environmental history, environmental humanities, political economy, world history, and neoliberalism.

His keynote is entitled ‘The Biosphere Question: Nature, Class, and Re/Production at the End of the Holocene – and the Capitalocene’, and will be presented in conjunction with Sydney Ideas on the Thursday evening.

A major highlight this year is a performance of the play, Servant of the Revolution, directed by Anitra Nelson, to be performed during the session starting at 11.45am on Thursday. The play is a speculative account of the relationship between Karl Marx and his family’s housekeeper, Helene Demuth.

Other highlights include: Verity Burgmann speaking on trade unions and the anti-capitalist movement; a symposium on Geoff Mann‘s new book on Marx and Keynes, In The Long Run We Are All DeadDieter Plewhe on Trump, climate change and neoliberal networks; the launch of the new edition of Ariel Salleh‘s Ecofeminism As PoliticsJohn Krinsky on social movements and the politics of abstraction; papers and panels in the light of the centenary of the Russian Revolution; and papers and panels on the relevance of Marx’s Capital, 150 years on.


Jason W. Moore will also be speaking at Trades Hall, Goulburn St, Sydney, on Wednesday 6 December at 6-8pm, as part of a panel discussion on ‘Climate Justice, Workers’ Justice: Capitalism’s Ecologies and the End of the Cheap Nature’. He will be joined by Linda Connor (Dept of Anthropology, USyd, author ‘Environmental Change and the World’s Futures’), Penny Howard (Labour researcher, author ‘Labour, Environment and Capitalism at Sea’) and Colin Long(State Secretary, Victoria, NTEU; co-founder of the Cooperative Power Australia). The discussion will be chaired by Devleena Ghosh (Centre for Climate Justice Research, UTS). Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1156274624503122/. To register go to: https://climatejusticeworkersjustice-jasonwmoore.eventbrite.com.au

Marxist historian and HM Sydney regular Humphrey McQueen has kindly made his V. Gordon Childe Commemorative Lecture, given to the Blackheath History Forum, available for download: http://www.surplusvalue.org.au/McQueen/hist_ns/V%20Gordon%20Childe%20Lecture.pdf


Please go to https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/historical-materialism-sydney-2017-tickets-37828149012 to register in advance. We are committed to ensuring that the conference is open to all who wish to attend. We have a free online registration option to reflect this. For those with financial capacity to do so, we ask that you contribute to organisation costs and the expansion of the conference in coming years. The suggested contribution is $20 concession or $50 waged (plus processing fee charged by ticketing company).

If for some reason you cannot pay online via credit card, please get back to us ASAP so we can arrange an alternative payment method with you.


This year we are holding the conference at a different venue: the University of Sydney Law School’s New Law Building, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown NSW 2006.

The venue is located not far from the city centre — close to frequent buses on City Rd and Parramatta Rd. While we are not serving refreshments and meals at the conference, there are reasonably-priced sit down and takeaway food options on campus. A little further away, but still walking distance, are bustling King St, Newtown and Glebe Point Rd, Glebe.

As usual there will be a Historical Materialism bookstall, with many of the latest and past HM Book Series paperback releases from Haymarket Books, all at special conference discount prices, along with other bookstalls.


You can pick up your name tag & program from when registration opens at 9.15 am, 45 minutes before the first session on Thursday morning. Jason W. Moore’s keynote address will be on Thursday evening at 6 pm, followed by a dinner/social event at the Cornerstone Bar at Carriageworks. The formal conference proceedings will finish by 5.30pm on Friday and there will also be a social event at the Cornerstone Bar on Friday evening.


Unfortunately we are unable to organise accommodation for presenters and attendees. However, you can find reasonably priced hotel accommodation via TripAdvisor (click on “city centre”, “budget” and “mid-range”) here: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotels-g255060-Sydney_New_South_Wales-Hotels.html

A cheaper alternative may be to use Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com.au

HM Australasia is entirely volunteer-run and this has made providing professional childcare difficult given the cost and liabilities involved. Children are of course welcome to attend conference sessions with attendees. 

Looking forward to seeing you in December.


Tad Tietze

For the HM Sydney organising team