Call for Abstracts: Time and History in the Age of Capital
Seventh Annual Conference of the Danish Society for Marxist Studies
7–8 October 2022
We know only a single science, the science of history.Marx & Engels
For a brief moment in time, history was thought by some to be dead. The world market was hailed as the great harbinger of liberal democracy, leaving room for nothing outside it. But since the turn of the century, economic crashes, the pending climate catastrophe, and recurring imperialist wars have repeatedly demonstrated the falsity of this narrative. History is very much alive and kicking. Today, it seems clear that the colonial fantasy of universal neoliberalism is unable to grasp the critical state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
For the seventh annual conference of the Danish Society for Marxist Studies, we therefore invite papers that reflect on history and time. History, understood both as a science and as the object of that science, is never neutral but rather a continual battlefield for class struggle. In propagating the narrative of progress, liberalism seeks to project the past onto the future and secure the status quo of the present. In order to challenge this ideology, we need critical concepts of time, history, and the methods of their narration. By centering this year’s conference on time and history in the age of capital we wish to engage and develop critical thinking on these key concepts.
We welcome participants from all disciplines and invite contributions on a range of topics: From the role of history and collective memory in workers’ struggles, through longue-durée histories of commodities and markets, to theoretical discussions on the recent shift away from postmodern network theories to a renewed focus on structural analyses or grand narratives. As Marxism and post-colonial as well as critical theory continually remind us, history is most often written by the victors. Where does that leave the histories of anti-capitalist struggles today?
As different concepts of history imply different notions of time, we also encourage examinations of temporality: Can critical history writing make use of standard liberal time concepts, or must it produce its own? How is our understanding of temporality challenged by, for instance, the dizzying time perspective of the climate crisis? Are we living in a time of permanent crisis, and if so, how does that influence the possibility of shaping our future?
Examples of topics might include (but are not limited to):
- Historical materialism(s) as methodology
- The return of the longue durée
- Intersectional history writing in a Marxist framework
- The relation between economic and cultural history
- History of perception and aesthetics
- Marxist uses of history – what have they been, and what should they be?
- Histories of meaning and the meaning of history
- Histories of world-commodites, e.g. the importance of sugar for the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century
- Narratological studies of history
- Crisis temporality and rupture
- The quantification of time under capitalism
- What is the relation between labor time and free time?
- The creation of collectives in history writing
- Is the capitalocene a historical, a natural, or some other kind of era?
- The exploitation of future labor
- Utopian and dystopian visions past and present
- Periodization of the history of capitalism
- The possibility of writing a contemporary intellectual history of 21st century fascism
- Marxist historiographies
- Time and temporality in Marx’s writings
The Danish Society of Marxist Studies is committed to providing a common platform for critical and emancipatory research in Denmark. For this reason, we also welcome papers that do not directly touch upon this year’s theme but contribute to these research traditions.
Please submit yourabstract of 200-300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 1 June 2022. Abstracts and presentations may be in Danish or English.