Call for Papers

Historical Materialism Istanbul

Systemic Fragilities and Counter-strategies

April 15th-17th 2022

Kadir Has University

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe implications at local, national and global scales. From health systems and social services to international trade and supply chains and food provision, and from local solidarity networks and family relations to large-scale organisations and networks, every aspect of life was subjected to unprecedented tests. Almost two years after Patient Zero, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the immunity mechanisms of the global system (from economic to ecological) that we live in are critically low.

Although there have been authoritarian tendencies in both the Global South and the Global North, the possibility for democracy retreated even more during the pandemic. HM Ankara which had been planned for April 2020 – and postponed due to the pandemic – called for contributions on debates on authoritarianisms. Pressures on democratic politics, limitations on liberties and the abuse of surveillance under the disguise of states of emergency and exceptions have further jeopardised freedom in large. The popularity of the right-wing movements, and the success of their leaders in holding on to power, became an even bigger challenge of the left. The new challenges posed by autocratic leaders and fundamentalisms require careful analysis and powerful responses.

At the same time, the pandemic brought to the fore new cracks in the façade of global capitalism. Systemic contradictions have never been so clear. Pandemic is a symptom of ecological breakdown as climate change and biodiversity loss are seen in tandem with diseases and epidemics. In the face of a major public health crisis, government responses tended to target “the markets” (and reward corporate contacts in “market” responses) and sought to stabilise the business sector as a priority. Households were seen as consumers, customers and borrowers and the risks of the pandemic were socialised. The pandemic revealed the importance of class dynamics and class formations such as essential workers from health care to logistics. Pauperisation and precarisation have been accelerated due to the responses to the pandemic: capital accumulation is running against the reproduction of life. Organizing social production is a question broader than simple resource allocation better than markets which were in coma during the pandemic. Organising social reproduction and care is a question that no class politics could neglect.

Historical Materialism Istanbul invites contributions that enrich critical understandings of the present conjuncture. There is an urgent need for counter-strategies against authoritarianism and the crisis of reproduction to strengthen the working-class’ struggle in intellectual ways. All contributions analysing chronic failings and fragilities of the capitalist system, and proposing effective responses and resistance strategies are most welcome. Papers and panels are encouraged, but not limited with the following themes:

·       Implications of the pandemic on global economy: International trade, logistics and supply chains

·       Changing conceptions of national security and democratic openness

·       Authoritarianism in times of pandemic

·       Political theory of state of exception: the legacy of the states of emergency/exceptions

·       Pandemic in Global North vs. in Global South

·       The COVID-19 pandemic and health policies

·       Financialisation and COVID-19

·       Digital capitalism and surveillance

·       Feminist, social reproduction, queer and racial critiques

·       Culture, literature and the arts in times of pandemic

·       Inside the vortex: Pandemic and ecological crisis

·       Political economy of post-pandemic

·       Challenges and alternatives for political strategy at the current times

·       Rethinking bottom-up resilience and political agency during and beyond COVID-19

The conference will also include the following streams:

Other papers and panels that enrich Marxist understandings – historical and contemporary – of theory and philosophy, culture, politics, political economy and societies under modern capitalism are also welcome.

Important Dates:

Panel/Paper Submissions: November 22, 2021

Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2022

Early Registration: February 10, 2022

The organizational committee of Historical Materialism Istanbul 2022 can be reached at: hmistanbul2022@gmail.com

This conference is organised under the aegis of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory (http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/), which supports a journal (http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/journal) a book series (https://brill.com/view/serial/HM) and Marxist conferences across the globe.

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