Call for Papers

HM Marxism and Philosophy Stream

8th May 2018

Taking on the Right

Historical Materialism Fifteenth Annual Conference – Call For Papers

School of Oriental and African Studies, Central London, 8-11 November 2018

All queries to:


HM Marxism and Philosophy Stream – Call for Papers

All queries to:

Abstract submissions:

Deadline: 1 June 2018


Is It Possible to Be a Marxist in Philosophy? Or, coming even closer to the title of one of the recent posthumous publications by Louis Althusser: how is it possible to be a Marxist in philosophy today? Whilst touching on the forever recurring problem of the relationship of Marxism to philosophy that takes its origin in large parts from the uncertain and contested status of (critical) philosophy and theory in Marx’s own writings, this stream seeks to develop and bring together new answers that reflect recent debates and take into account the current status and configuration of Marxism and of philosophy.

Recent debates have, on the one hand, brought further into question the relation of Marxism to the philosophical tradition, by developing new readings of Marx’s relationships to a Spinozean immanent causality or even critique of ideology, to a Kantian epistemology and, maybe the most longstanding debate of all, to Hegel. The latter revolves particularly around the affinity or distance between Marx’s and Hegel’s conceptions of the dialectic, of form and abstraction and around the status and method of criticising bourgeois politics.

We have also witnessed new interpretations of Western Marxism, from new research on Gramsci’s ‘Philosophy of Praxis’, the new readings of Adorno and the Frankfurt School as well as of the work of Lukács to the continuous interest in the work of Althusser and in Marx’s relationship to French philosophers more generally such as Foucault and Deleuze.

At the same time, Marxists engaged in philosophical research are facing challenges from attempts to transcend or circumvent Marxism, often in the name of reclaiming some of the concepts that have always been central to the Marxist philosophical debates, such as materialism, speculation or ontology. How do we therefore engage critically as well as productively with the various strands of ‘new materialism’, post-humanism, ANT and “object oriented philosophy” from within a Marxist tradition? And how do we address the urgent demand posed to the discipline of philosophy as a whole, to decolonise its forms of knowledge production in terms of scope, epistemologies and references? Implicit in these debates is, moreover, the broader question of the particular status of philosophy within the broad spectrum of Marxist philosophy.

It is in light of the above possible topics for papers and panel proposals include, but are not limited to:


– The status and role of philosophy in Marx’s own writings

– Marx’s relationship to Spinoza, Kant and Hegel

– Revisiting the Frankfurt School: Adorno and beyond

– Gramsci and the ‘philosophy of praxis’ beyond the ‘historicism’ polemics

– Lukács and his relevance for contemporary debates

– Althusser, especially in light of the new wave of posthumous publication of unpublished work

– Ontological challenges to Marxism: from post-humanism and new materialism to ANT, speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy

– Decolonising Marxist philosophy

– What is the place of philosophy within Marxism, regarding ontological grounding, epistemology, ethics and conceptual experimentation?