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Tag Archives: Historical Materialism Sydney Conference 2014






We call this conference in a historical moment marked, at the level of public discourse, above all by uncertainty in the face of a continuing crisis of both capitalist production and the ideological, political and social forms that have hitherto underpinned it. This uncertainty is expressed, implicitly or explicitly, not just by the managers, functionaries and prognosticators of capital and state, but also by those movements that claim to systemically oppose it.  Additionally, our conference coincides with the centennial of the outbreak of World War I.

Eulogies to bravery aside, this conjuncture – of present distemper and historical disaster – allows us to ask again, and hopefully ask differently, many of the questions considered central to the broad Marxist tradition. The Great War, for many in that tradition, marked the spectacular limit point or exhaustion of a particular configuration of capital accumulation, the result of which – as figures as preeminent as Engels had prophesied – could only be bloody. To what extent do we face a similar limit point today, even if we have thus far been spared the scale of sacrificial slaughter of that previous one?

This question cannot be answered by scholars and activists operating in isolation; instead, it requires sustained theoretical and practical activity across virtually the entire field of Marxist research and practice: the critique of political economy opening out to critiques of the state; examinations of the relationship between the state, capital, and the social movements that contest both; investigations into the specificity of class and its relation to other structural forms of oppression; considerations of the nature and form that a communist revolution will take today (1914 marking too, of course, the failure of one such conception); interrogations of the relevance of imperialism and settler colonialism to the current conjuncture; and critical analyses of the production of nature on a world-scale. To answer or even just correctly pose these questions requires an engagement with Marxism’s multifarious inheritances, but will also imply openness to new data, integration with the experience of new social struggles, and fresh theoretical perspectives informed by these.

We ask for submissions of 250 word abstracts for papers on these and other topics that engage with this broader tradition, critically or otherwise; panel proposals should include short abstracts for each paper coupled with an outline of the panel as a whole. We especially welcome contributions from activists and scholars outside of (or peripheral to) the academy.


All submissions should be emailed to hmaustralasia [at]




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