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Spectrum Journal of Global Studies
Conference on:
Historical Sociology, Historical Materialism and International Relations

November 1-3, 2012
Middle East Technical University
Department of International Relations
Ankara – Turkey

The discipline of International Relations (IR) known as an “ American” social science has in the last decade or so been discovering the importance of alternative forms of explaining international relations. More so than any other field of social science, IR has been dominated by positivist conceptions of scientific inquiry. However recent approaches in the philosophy of sciences as well as the sociological turn in IR has changed the boundaries, assumptions and methodologies of our discipline.  Critical realism as an alternative to positivist as well as post-positivist understandings of social science is increasingly becoming the dominant form of philosophyzing about IR.

Historical sociological approaches are taking over the static, a-historical forms of theorizing. Marxist social theory has become more and more relevant to explain the current of changes in the international system. Internationalisation of capitalism has made the concerns of Marxism increasingly relevant to understand and explain the “international”. Recent controversies on the relation between the state system and capitalist mode of production have made important contributions to understand the link between what is traditionally understood from international relations and capitalist relations of production. These efforts have to go on as there are yet many other untouched aspects of international relations that require deconstruction and de-reification. This conference attempts to further our understanding of the links between historical sociology, critical realism and Marxism. Empirical works combining the insights of Marxist historical sociology and historical materialism with that of international relations is particularly welcome. We are extending an invitation to all researchers to present research that address the following issues and similar topics:

    • How does a historical materialist geopolitics address the traditional issues of IR?
    • Geopolitics of state formations
    • What is the relation between the state system and capitalism?
    • In what ways does critical realism help Marxism to analyse the international?
    • What are the limits and the potentials of he theory of combined and uneven development to explain the international?
    • Historical materialist analysis of international law
    • Contemporary forms of imperialism
    • International State Apparatuses and their role in the reproduction of capital
    • Marx’s method and the world market

We hope to see both individual papers and panels discussing these themes from different disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

We encourage scholars from all around the world to participate in this exciting attempt to link our conceptions of praxis and change with that of what constitutes the “international”.

Most papers presented in the conference will later be published in a special issue of the Spectrum journal or in a separate book.

We look forward to welcoming you all at METU in Ankara.
Key note speakers for the conference will later be announced.

For more information and to submit your papers and panel proposals, please contact


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