10 April 2024

Workers’ Inquiry Stream Call for Abstracts – Twenty-First Annual Historical Materialism London Conference

Twenty-First Annual Historical Materialism London Conference

Countering the Plague: Forces of Reaction and War and How to Fight Them

 7-10 November 2024,

SOAS, Russell Square, Central London

Deadline for abstracts: Friday 31 May 2024

 Submit paper or panel proposals here

For inquiries contact:

Notes from Below is hosting the “Workers’ Inquiry” stream at this year’s Historical Materialism London Conference in November 2024.

We are inviting submissions to the conference that focus on work and class composition. In particular, we welcome submissions that present workers’ inquiries. There is no previous experience of presenting at an academic-style conference needed and we are keen to support first-time presenters.

We understand “Workers’ Inquiry” as a Marxist method that combines research with organising. This involves trying to understand the labour process at work, forms of exploitation, technology, management strategies, socialising, union participation, class relations, and capitalism, from the perspective of workers. It can also explore workers’ struggles and ways of organising. As a method, it may involve traditional forms of research, like interviews, surveys, ethnography and autoethnography (presenting own experience). We also welcome more collaborative methods of co-research with or led by workers, such as worker testimony or a campaign presentation.

This year’s London conference comes after waves of strike action and the resurgence of the international Palestine solidarity movement. For the stream, we are particularly interested in contributions on the following topics:

  • Papers authored or co-authored by workers about their experiences.
  • Workers’ inquiries – plans for the undertaking, initial results, or reflections on them.
  • Experiences of organising in new kinds of workplaces.
  • Reflections on rank-and-file organising projects.
  • The politics of international solidarity in the workplace, particularly with Palestine.
  • Analysis of class composition.

The stream is open to contributions from participants with any or no experience of presenting at academic conferences. As with previous years, we hope to have a stream that brings together workers, organisers, and Marxist researchers. We will, of course, be organising a social event as part of the stream. We are not inviting submissions to the stream that are about work or theory in general. Abstracts must involve workers’ inquiry in some way or be connected to workers’ struggles. Other approaches or topics may be suitable for the general call or streams at the conference.

If you want to take part, you can submit an abstract (a short explanation of what you will talk about) to the Historical Materialism call for papers and indicate that it is a submission to the “Workers’ Inquiry” Stream. If you are interested in taking part but have any questions about the process you can contact the Notes from Below editors at the email address below.

At Notes from Below we are always keen to support participation, including developing initial ideas, helping draft abstracts for papers, the preparation of presentations, or anything else that can support new speakers at the conference. While many papers at the conference take the form of a panel of speakers each talking for 15 minutes or so, we have used different formats like roundtables, shorter talks, Q&A, and so on in the past and are open to alternative suggestions.

Please note that this is an in-person conference only – a rationale for which can be found in the general call for papers. Online presentations will not be permitted.

For further information, any questions, or support with taking part, please email

Individual proposals for papers and panels must include: i) Names of participants with e-mails, phone numbers and institutional affiliations. Where there is more than one participant, we require a clear indication of a corresponding author, ii) Title and abstract of the paper or panel. In the case of a paper, please submit an abstract of no longer than 300 words. In the case of a panel, please submit an overarching description of 300 words, names and details of each participant and abstracts for individual papers.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 31 May 2024. Partial submissions may be rejected.

Submit a paper or panel proposal here:

 For all enquiries about the Workers inquiry Stream, please contact:

For all enquiries about the conference, please contact: