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1968

1968

BEFORE ‘68

Conference—”Before ’68: The Left, activism & social movements in the long 1960s”

Conference Dates: 13 and 14 February 2016

Venue: School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK and hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with the journal Socialist History and the Institute of Working Class History (Chicago).

The events of 1968, particularly those in France, have achieved a mythical status in both the memory and the historiography of the 1960s. For some, 1968 marked the end-point of a realignment of the European ‘New Left’. For others 1968 represented a student generation in revolt, and many of the first accounts which sought to explain the history and meaning of ’68 were written by that generation.

More recently historians have tried to demythologise ’68, looking both at less ‘glamourous’ locales and at the deeper histories of anti-colonial struggles and worker activism prior to the events of that year. The aim of this conference is to explore the diverse histories of social activism and left politics in Britain and elsewhere, and how they prepared the ground for and fed into ‘1968’.

Themes might include, but are not limited to:

  • Anti-nuclear & peace movements
    Civil Rights struggles
    The Black Power movement
    Anti-colonial politics
    The activities of the Labour movement and the ‘traditional’ Left
    The grassroots activism of the ‘New Left’
    Far Left challenges: Trotskyism & Maoism
    Campaigns around housing and the built environment
    Campaigns around race and discrimination in the workplace and housing
    Solidarity movements with struggles abroad (e.g. South Africa, Vietnam)
    Campaigns for Homosexual Equality
    Second Wave Feminism

We are seeking papers of 5,000 to 10,000 words on any aspects of left activism and social movements in the period preceding 1968 to be presented at the conference. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Socialist History. Attendance at the conference will be free of charge, but we ask that anyone wishing to attend registers in advance.

Proposals for papers and any enquiries should be submitted to Ben Jones.

Email: b.jones5@uea.ac.uk

Deadline for proposals for papers: 31 October 2015

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RETHINKING 1968

Call for Papers
“Rethinking 1968”
PhaenEx: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture
Special Issue

The events of 1968 shook the world. On the 40th anniversary > of the protests in France, Germany and the United States, the EPTC organized a series of panels to investigate these industrial and student actions, and whether they can serve as a basis for critiquing our current political climate. We want to ask if the philosophical underpinnings of these revolutionary acts have continued relevance today.

For example, in France, the French phenomenologist and existentialist, turned Marxist, Jean-Paul Sartre was held up as one of the intellectuals who could provide an intellectual basis for the revolution. Alongside structuralists like Althusser, Sartre was viewed as an intellectual god-father of the movement, not only because of his writings critical of capitalism and the bourgeois system, be they his early writings on existentialism, or his later reformulation of Marxism in the Critique of Dialectical Reason, nor because he linked left-wing activism in the first world with support for the oppressed elsewhere, but because he was willing to lend his name and support to the Maoists against the Gaullist government.

Similarly, in Germany, two philosophers, the phenomenologically-inspired and Marxist Herbert Marcuse and the neo-Marxist and member of the Frankfurt School Jürgen Habermas were central figures for the student revolutionaries. As a member of the Frankfurt School’s second generation, Habermas was viewed by the students as safely removed from the alleged post-World War II conservatism of Adorno and Horkheimer. For the first several years following its publication, Habermas’s habilitation thesis, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, was a text central to the student struggle in Germany. Similarly, Marcuse’s texts, Reason and Revolution, Eros and Civilization, and One-Dimensional Man, as well as his occasional writings, were used as rallying cries by the left both in Europe and in the United States.

The question we propose for this volume is: what relevance do these philosophers’s works have today, in light of the continued expansion of the capitalist system, and the fact that student leaders like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Bernard Kouchner, and Joschka Fischer have renounced extra-political activities and joined the political mainstream? We are interested in papers that explore the relevance of the philosophical critiques that inspired the movements of 1968 for present day radical politics, including papers that use the philosophical inspirations behind 1968:

(1) To critique global capitalism while providing a positive way forward,
(2) To examine American hegemony,
(3) To examine possibilities for overturning existing political structures in either the developed or developing world,
(4) To examine issues surrounding the environment or environmental justice,
(5) Or any other topic, provided that the paper deals extensively with the philosophical ideas of 1968 and their relevance for today’s changed political landscape.

Interested authors should submit a copy of their paper in RTF or WORD format to PhaenEx’s website: http://www.phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/phaenex

Queries should be sent to Kevin W. Gray at: kevin-william.gray.1@ulaval.ca

The submission deadline is July 1, 2009.

Contact: Kevin W. Gray, Faculté de Philosophie, Université Laval,Québec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada. Phone: +1 845 228.8548, Skype: kevinwgray, Email: kevin-william.gray.1@ulaval.ca
Web: http://www.phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/phaenex

 

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