Call for Papers

Reminder: Utopia & Post-Capitalism 

13th May 2019

Utopia & Post-Capitalism 

Open Call for Papers for the HM London 2019 Conference

(This is not a stream throughout the conference but rather a theme around which we would like to particularly emphasise our desire for submissions.) 

Historical Materialism Sixteenth Annual London Conference 2019

Claps of Thunder: Disaster Communism, Extinction Capitalism and How to Survive Tomorrow

Central London, 7-10 November 2019

Call for Papers, Deadline 15 May 2019

For all queries, email only please:

Utopia & Post-Capitalism 

What would relations of production, exchange and social reproduction look like in a post-capitalist society? How can individual desires and the collective good be reconciled? What past and present experiments, successes and failures haunt our utopian dreams? How would our embodied experiences of time and space alter in a post-capitalist future? How would our relationship with nature change in a non-human centred universe? What kind of emotions induce or inhibit revolutionary change?

In a period where  there is a need and desire to not only criticise but also build concrete alternatives to capitalism, our 2019 Conference invites examinations of historical and contemporary cases including commons, communes, workers’ cooperatives, sharing economies, complementary currencies, peer-to-peer lending, multiple monies. We welcome papers that revisit old debates (Socialist Calculation) and engage with new ones (De-Growth, Post-Work society, Eco-Feminism, Fully Automated Luxury Communism). We are particularly interested in contributions, which investigate how technologies (Chilean Cybersyn algorithms, digital platforms, open source softwares) can be used for common good and communist design. We would like to examine policy experiments and proposals at various scales: local (participatory budget and planning, common resource management practices), national (expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, commonfare, universal basic income), international (global clearing house for financial stability). Papers engaging with economic and literary science fictions are also welcome. In our panels, we aim to question colonial, patriarchal, heterosexist and Taylorist imaginaries of some past socialist experiences and de-colonise utopia by examining and conceiving feminist, trans, queer and black utopias.

The stream also opens up to a rather overlooked aspect of utopias and revolutionary politics, the constitutive role of emotions. It invites participants to reflect on the contemporary sentiments of resentment, rage, envy, suspicion, which not only divide societies on political, racial and gender-based conflicts but also revolutionary groups and social movements. What is the place of feelings in revolutionary movements and why have they been so little examined? What energies are offered by Walter Benjamin’s politics of hate? We suggest taking seriously the affective swing from intense periods of euphoria, solidarity, joy, comradeship and optimism during social upheavals, strikes or even during everyday life in a revolutionary party to left-wing pessimism and melancholia in times of defeat, reaction, loss of momentum or party break up. In addition, what models exist to explore how positive emotions or atmospheres can be collectively shaped to counter defeatism and build a sustainable movement  towards a post-capitalist future? In what analysable ways do new technologies of communication produce and stoke emotional responses? Do older analyses of the psychologies of crowds play a role here, in an age of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, crowd simulation? Are there communist emojis? What might be a Marxist approach to atmosphere, their analysis, manipulation as hostile environments or production as hospitable reams for free living?

Please Note: Although we welcome preconstituted panels, after extensive feedback from previous years we are tightening up on panels with just titles or incomplete names. Panels should provide title, abstract and full names, emails of each participant and abstract/note of contribution (where relevant). Incomplete panel proposals will be put on the reserve list and may ultimately be rejected. We also reserve the right to reject certain papers in a preconstituted panel and to reconstitute panels as we see fit.