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Call for Papers

Work and Compulsion: Coerced Labour in Domestic, Service, Agricultural, Factory and Sex Work, ca. 1850-2000s

The International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH), Austria, announces the 50th Linz Conference, 25-28 Sept. 2014.

Preparatory group:

Prof. em. Dirk Hoerder (Salzburg, Austria)
Prof. Marcel van der Linden (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam)
Dr. Magaly Rodríguez García (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Dr. Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk (Wageningen University)
For the ITH: Univ.-Doz. Dr. Berthold Unfried (Institute of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna), Mag. Eva Himmelstoss


The conference focuses on the exploitation of human labour in the range of forced labour and debt bondage, which contrary to chattel slavery, have received little scholarly attention. In spite of the gradual abolition of slavery (understood as the legal ownership of humans) in the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, other forms of coerced labour persisted in most regions of the world. Indeed, while most nations increasingly condemned the maintenance of slavery and slave trade, they tolerated labour relationships that involved violent control, economic exploitation through the appropriation of labour power, restriction of workers’ freedom of movement and fraudulent debt obligations. Hence the conference deals with historical situations of coerced labour worldwide.

The aims of this conference are five-fold:

 1.  To write a global and comparative history of the political-institutional and gender structures, the economics of and working conditions within coerced labour, as well as the evolution of forced labour (internal or cross-border) migration of male and female workers and the role played by intermediaries. In short, the whole praxis of coerced labour in colonized segments of the world, core countries, post-imperial states, new industrial economies and other low-income countries.
 2.  To problematize (the increasing) forced labour and labour mobility in colonial territories, in Africa and Asia in particular, and to relate them to developments in intra-European labour regulation and regimentation and to the expansion of North Atlantic capital across the world.
 3.  To deal with the twentieth-century forms of coerced labour, whether through confinement to labour camps or debt bondage of individual production and service workers to creditors (for the costs of the voyage) or to individual employers (for the duration of their stay).
 4.  To question whether the application of the forced-labour model to systemic employer-employee relations under constraining circumstances is justified, or whether the ILO’s differentiation between forced labour and sub-standard or exploitative working conditions can/should be maintained. These issues are related to the naming and conceptualization of “force”, “coercion” and “consent”, as well as to the utility of the notions of “human trafficking” and “modern-day slavery”.
 5.  To explore the experiences and aspects of human agency or resistance by forced/bonded workers, organizing initiatives and the silence or activity of non-state actors such as trade unions and NGOs.

Programme structure and themes


 1.  Agency of men and women under coercion.
 2.  A historical overview of the definitions of “slavery”, “forced labour”, “trafficking” and “modern slavery”, and their evolution within the realm of international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Section I – Coerced labour in the colonial and non-colonial world (ca. 1850-1940):
Working conditions, employee-employer relationships and migration patterns (who was transported in which direction) within systems of indentured labour, debt bondage, peonage, servitude, compulsory labour and so on. Examples are the twentieth-century credit-ticket migrations from Southern China; the British (and other) empire-imposed indentured labour involving long-distance migration in the macro-regions of the Indian Ocean and the Plantation Belt from the 1830s to the 1930s; European forced-labour regimes imposed on men, women and children within particular colonies; forced labour migration from the colonies to Europe during the First World War (the so-called “colonial auxiliaries”); and forms of involuntary (child) servitude in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.

Section II – Politically imposed labour on home territories: The labour relations, working conditions and agency of workers sent to concentration camps, remote labour colonies or industrial camps under Fascism or Stalinism, in Japan during the Second World War, as prisoners or under peonage in the (southern) United States, in communist China, in Cuba, or as persecuted minorities like the Roma as well as, in the present, use of forced labour from political and other prisoners from dictatorial or authoritarian regimes by Western companies, require further study.

Section III – Coerced labour since the end of the Second World War: The phenomenon of coerced labour – often called “modern slavery” since the last decades – concerns questions of global divisions of labour, economic, gender and racial inequality. While numbers and definitions are contested by academic, UN and ILO experts, official and unofficial data range from 17 to 27 million women, men and children worldwide. This section aims to include papers with empirical information on the extent to which debt, power relationships and poverty lead to the virtual “enslavement” of people through systematic recruitment by means of intimidation or threat of violence, aggressive control by labour intermediaries such as “coyotes”, “snakes” or procurers, and/or brutal enforcement of debt collection after arrival. The experiences and resistance strategies of the workers concerned will be fundamental to better understand the degree of labour constraints and/or the consent to so-called “3D jobs” (dirty, dangerous and demeaning).

Concluding discussion:
General debate on the accuracy of the current definitions used by state and non-state actors, the impact that new research can have on policies and the development or adjustment of analytical methods that can further the knowledge of coerced labour from past and present.

Call for Papers

Proposed papers need to address the conference topics mentioned above in section I, II or III and should include:

 *   An abstract (max. 300 words)
 *   The targeted thematic section
 *   A biographical note (max. 200 words)
 *   Full address and email-address

Sessions will be reserved for ongoing research on the level of doctoral dissertations and of postdoctoral research (depending on high-quality abstracts being submitted).
A special effort will be made to include paper presenters from all regions of the world and both senior and beginning researchers. The conference language will be English.

The organizers will not be able to reimburse costs for travel or hotel accommodation. However, we will establish a limited fund to which scholars with insufficient means of their own may write a motivated application for (partial) reimbursement of travel costs. Grants will be contingent on sufficient funding.

The conference fee includes accommodation (in shared double rooms provided by the ITH) and meals. Participants taking responsibility for their own accommodation will pay a reduced fee.

Proposals to be sent to Magaly Rodríguez García:

Time schedule:

Deadline for submission of proposals: 1 November 2013
Notification of acceptance: 1 December 2013
Deadline for full papers: 1 August 2014

A publication of selected conference papers is planned; final manuscripts due 1 April 2015.


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Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab

Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab


Call for Papers: In the framework of the 9th Historical Materialism Conference, ‘Weighs like A Nightmare’, SOAS, Central London, 8-11 November 2012

Feminisms and Marxisms 

A new generation of anti-capitalist feminists has emerged in the last years across the world. Although not without tensions and disagreements, these new feminist currents have been in constant dialogue with different traditions of Marxism and the Marxist critique of political economy in areas ranging from social science, philosophy to art history. With the aim of providing a space for this dialogue, the 9th Historical Materialism conference inLondonwelcomes presentations exploring the synergies between the feminist and the Marxist critiques of capitalism in their various articulations. 

Paper proposals (between 200 and 300 words) should be submitted by registering at: BEFORE 10 May 2012. Submissions will be peer reviewed. Please be aware that the conference is self-funded therefore we are unable to help with travel and accommodation costs.

Themes of particular interest for the conference include:

      Marxist and Socialist feminism in the 21st century

      The critique of the political economy of sex work

      Autonomia and Feminism: A legacy?

      Intersectionality theory and Marxism

      Feminist and Marxist critiques of liberal feminism

      Queer studies, LGBTQ and Marxism

      Feminist and Marxist critiques of gendered labour exploitation

      Feminist and Marxist critiques of racism and Islamophobia

      The political economy of gender and carceral detention

      Feminism, Marxism and art theory

      Women’s collectives and the contemporary art world

      Feminist, Marxism and the visual cultures of globalisation

      Gendered international migrations

      Commodification of care

      Social reproduction

Please note that the following donations are requested in support of conference costs:

£50 waged/15 unwaged on pre-registration
£75 waged / 25 unwaged at the door


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Call for Papers

BSA Ageing Body and Society Study Group Conference: Body Work in Health and Social Care

British Library Conference Centre,London

Tuesday 6th September 2011

Supported by the SHI Foundation and the British Library.


This day conference seeks to extend and deepen interest in the concept of ‘body work’ – understood here as work focusing on the bodies of others, typically undertaken in a paid context. As such it is a component in a range of occupations in health and social care, and beyond. We invite abstracts for papers that address the relevance of ‘body work’ to the sociology of health, illness and care, and to policy debates in these areas. Research on body work and ageing, including the experience of both providers and recipients of body work, is particularly welcome. We are also keen to include papers that draw comparisons with other areas of work such as personal services like hairdressing or sex work. Papers addressing methodological issues in studying body work (including, for instance, ethical questions, or the use of visual representations) are also welcome.

Topics of interest include:

  • The transformation and discipline of the body through health, care, and death work
  • The role of gender, class and racialisation on constructions of body work and body work interactions
  • The temporal and spatial organization of body work
  • Recruitment and training for body work and the embodied practitioner
  • Emotion, touch and reflexivity
  • Power, intimacy, and vulnerability
  • Dirty work and abjection
  • Formal and informal resistance by practitioners or patients or clients
  • The political economy of body work provision and its transformation over time

The Conference is organised by the BSA Ageing, Body and Society Study Group and supported by the Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation. It marks the publication of the recent Special Issue of Sociology of Health and Illness and the forthcoming monograph Body Work in Health and Social Care.  see (

Co-ordinators: Professor Julia Twigg (Kent), Dr Carol Wolkowitz (Warwick), Dr Rachel Cohen (Surrey) Dr Sarah Nettleton (York), and Dr Wendy Martin (Brunel).

Abstracts for papers and posters: max 250 words should be submitted by 27 June 2011 online at Acceptance confirmation by 12 July. Programme online from 22 July.

Registration:  £45 BSA members, £85 non-members, £35 postgraduates. Fee includes buffet lunch, refreshments and wine reception in the early evening. Online registration at For further information email

Join the Ageing, Body and Society Study Group: The group organises seminars, workshops conferences and other events. New members, including students, welcome. Information on how to join:


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No Future




January: Marketing in Non-Profit and other Social Purpose Organizations with Sharon Wood and Trish Krauss, The Belmont Group

Friday, January 28, 2011
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Room 5-240
252 Bloor Street West, Toronto (St. George subway station)

Cost: $140 + HST. Each additional participant from the same organization will receive a $15 discount, as will those who register for more than one workshop. Student rate available.
Refreshments, coffee & tea served,  but lunch not provided.

To Register:  Access the online registration form at, or contact Lisa White at, or 416-978-0022


January 7, 2011
7:30 – 9:30pm
Centre of Gravity
1300 Gerrard St. East, Toronto

You are invited to a free screening of the film, ‘Why We Fight’ – which deals with the concept and escalation of the ‘military-industrial complex,’ generally, and that phenomenon in the U.S. more particularly.

Helping us through discussions of issues associated with this film will be Dr. Peter Langille, PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, Advisor to the UN and other governments about issues of international peacekeeping. Dr. Langille also has authored several books, including Changing the Guard: Canada’s Defence in a World in Transition.



January 29 – 30
Ryerson Student Centre – Oakham House
63 Gould Street, Toronto

The Labour Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (GTWA) is organizing a conference where activists can come together to talk about the attacks on the working-class in every dimension of our lives, reframe the public discussion and launch a united activist network of workers from all sectors, unions and precarious workers, new immigrants and non-unionized workers to mobilize a new kind of working class movement. 

The conference is a chance to come together to build the fight-back we’ve all been waiting for, but which will never happen unless we make it happen. We need a new kind of fighting working-class movement – a movement that builds across workplaces, communities and unions and the non-unionized majority of the working class.

Registrations are now open! Please visit our website for more details and to register:



January 5
10:00 am – 12:00 noon
208N – North House, Munk School, 1 Devonshire Place, University of Toronto

Speaker: Emily van der Meulen (Lupina Post-Doctoral Fellow)

Sponsored by Comparative Program on Health and Society

Register online at:



February 8 – 10, 2011
80 Hayden Street (Bloor and Yonge Streets)

Carleton University and PWRDF are pleased to offer a SAS2 Introductory Workshop.

In the workshop you can expect:

* Three days of hands-on learning using Participatory Action Research
* Tools for group-based inquiry and problem-solving
* Time to work on issues and problems that matter to you
* A chance to appreciate and acquire the skills to adapt SAS2 to your context
* Engaging and fun approaches designed to make SAS2 easy to grasp, and even easier to use.

For more information on the workshop click here:

For information on the SAS2 approach to Participatory Action Research see:




by Richard Wolff,

Recent decades have seen a massive redistribution of wealth, imposing the cost of successive crises on the poorest. Enough!

Read more:



by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

John Steinbeck observed that “a sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”

That insight, now confirmed by epidemiological studies, is worth bearing in mind at a time of such polarizing inequality that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess a greater collective net worth than the bottom 90 percent.

Read more:



by Ish Theilheimer, Straight Goods

Canada is facing a crisis of seniors’ poverty as millions of Baby Boomers retire from, get forced out of, or simply lose their work. Most privately employed and self-employed Canadians don’t have pensions or adequate savings to retire in security. Adding to the number of seniors in poverty, pensioners from companies like Mitel have seen their pension plans consumed as their companies folded, leaving them with nothing but public benefits.

Read more:



Ontario’s university libraries appear to be bearing a sizeable share of the cuts as universities grapple with budget cutbacks. A new report, based on a questionnaire sent to Ontario’s academic librarians, describes widespread staffing reductions, neglect of library collections, and delays in technology investments.

“Ontario’s academic librarians are at the forefront of supporting students and faculty in their research and teaching, tending to extensive collections, and introducing new technology advances to keep up with the demands of the digital world,” said Constance Adamson, an academic librarian at Queen’s University and vice-president of Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).

Read more:




Happy new year rabble readers! As we round out another decade, thoughts turn to the future, and our partners at the The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have weighed in on the issues facing Canada in the years ahead. They flag the economy, social unrest, drift, democracy, dirty oil and corporate Canada as things to watch in 2011 and beyond.

Read more:



by Jordy Cummings and Patrick D. LeGay, The Bullet

Nearly six months have gone since the G20 Summit in Toronto when we supposedly entered what some have referred to as “permanent austerity” – the “new normal” of capitalist social relations. Whilst using the significant resources of the state to inject liquidity into markets and ensure corporate and banking profits, ruling classes simultaneously are cutting public services across the board, imposing user fees and letting public transit rot, and, in the specific case at hand, kicking labour’s ass while convincing the public bureaucracy that there is no alternative.

Read more:



Changing the Climate: Ecoliberalism, Green New Dealism, and the Struggle Over Green Jobs in Canada
James Patrick Nugent
Labor Studies Journal published 28 December 2010


“The Very Model of Modern Urban Decay”: Outsiders’ Narratives of Industry and Urban Decline in Gary, Indiana
S. Paul O’Hara
Journal of Urban History published 30 December 2010


The Connection Between Latino Ethnic Identity and Adult Experiences
Vasti Torres, Sylvia Martinez, Lisa D. Wallace, Christianne I. Medrano,
Andrea L. Robledo, and Ebelia Hernandez
Adult Education Quarterly published 29 December 2010

Occupations, Human Capital and Skills
Alec Levenson and Cindy Zoghi
Journal of Labor Research
Volume 31, Number 4, 365-386




Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit:

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