All posts by Aden Knaap

CFP: On Top of the World: Sizing Up Global History (Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 20-21, 2017)

As part of an explosion of recent work on the theory and practice of global history, the 2017 Great Lakes History Conference has issued a call for papers on the theme  “On Top of the World: Sizing Up Global History.” The conference is to be held at Grand Valley State University from October 20-21, 2017.

In recent years, historians embraced new approaches to world history that moved beyond traditional western Civilization models. The prolific expansion of empirical historical research about non-western regions enabled this transformation. However, much of this research remains concealed from the larger public. This conference proposes to explore the avenues that connect empirical historical research on global history and area studies to those who present it to the public, including teachers, journalists, digital humanists, archivists, and museum professionals. This conference also seeks to examine the ways that empirical research and global history and area studies inform contemporary political conversations. In essence, it contemplates the ways academic conversations move beyond pure research to public dissemination and political action.

To address these issues, our keynote speaker will be Michelle Moyd, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Associate Director of The Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of African soldiers in the First World War. She is the author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Ohio University Press, 2014) and the soon-to-be-published Africa, Africans, and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). She also has written for The Guardian and the popular website Africa is a Country.

This conference will follow a workshop-oriented format. It invites workshop proposals and papers that address new empirical research on global history and area studies. It especially encourages workshop proposals that focus on the intersections of research, teaching, public dissemination, and activism. The latter could include workshops with round-table discussions on pedagogical devices, teaching methods, digital humanities, and the presentation of history in the media. Research workshop formats typically include pre-circulated papers that receive extended discussion among paper commentators and other fellow readers. Workshop size can vary. However, four core participants are recommended. Some funds may be available for workshop organizers to offset travel costs. Individual paper submissions will also be considered for inclusion in relevant workshops.

If you are interested in organizing a workshop, please send a workshop abstract of approximately 300 words and curriculum vitae by July 15, 2017 with attention to Dr. Michael Huner at: hunermkh19@gmail.com Please include your institutional affiliation and email address and list of other possible workshop participants with their email addresses and institutional affiliations. 200-word abstracts for individual paper submissions (with CV, email, and institutional affiliation of author) can also be sent to the email address listed above.

CFP: The Holocaust in the Borderlands: Interethnic Relations and the Dynamics of Violence in Occupied Eastern Europe (Munich, February 7-9, 2018)

For readers interested in transnational histories of the Holocaust, here’s a recent call for papers for an international workshop to be held at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich from February 7-9, 2018:

The Holocaust, though initiated by the Third Reich, was by nature a transnational phenomenon: the majority of its victims came from outside Nazi Germany, and its bloodiest sites of genocide lay beyond Germany’s borders. During World War II, Europe’s contested multiethnic borderlands in particular saw unprecedented upsurges in violence against Jews, Roma, and other persecuted minorities. From the Baltic States to Transnistria to the Serbian Banat, Axis occupational authorities worked in conjunction with local populations to persecute, dispossess, deport, and murder millions. In this process, occupiers not only relied on pre-existing local ethnic and national movements and conflicts; they also spurred violence, which profoundly redefined notions of national, ethnic, and social belonging.

As recent research has shown, the Second World War, Nazi Germany’s occupational policies, and existing and shifting dynamics of local interethnic relations were crucial to the distinct unfolding of the Holocaust in different borderlands. This workshop sets out to explore this topic further and more systematically. It aims to bring together novel and critical insights on the borderlands of East, Central, and Southeastern Europe and the growing body of research on the dynamics of violence in the wider region. By placing the Shoah into larger contexts of different military occupations and interethnic conflicts during World War II, this workshop seeks to problematize the relationship between state structures and popular mobilization – perspectives “from above” and “from below” – in the unfolding of Holocaust violence. We are particularly interested in papers dealing with the status and role of ethnic Germans (“Volksdeutsche”) in relation to other groups.

What was the effect of shifting borders and/or preexisting loyalties on the dynamics of violence in the borderlands? How did the experience of violence and occupation reshape interethnic relations and other social relationships in these regions? Can patterns of behavior be identified across the borderlands of East, Central, and Southeastern Europe? Ultimately, this workshop aims at gathering an unprecedented range of regional, transnational, and multiscalar approaches to the Holocaust in East, Central, and Southeastern Europe in order to create a comparative basis for the study of the Holocaust under different occupational regimes, and explore the potential of a borderland approach to the study of the Holocaust.

Proposed research topics include, but are not limited to:

Interethnic relations and the rise of antisemitism in Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe’s borderlands during the interwar period and World War II
Definitions, theoretical and conceptual approaches to the study of ethnicity, interethnic relations, and borderlands
The specificity of multiethnic borderlands and the dynamics of (Holocaust) violence
Comparative perspectives on Holocaust violence in different borderland regions
The role of minorities such as the “Volksdeutsche” (ethnic Germans) in Nazi organizations, military formations (Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS), concentration camps, and as the perpetrators and bystanders of local antisemitic violence
Participation in Holocaust atrocities by non-German minorities; questions and conceptualizations of resistance/collaboration with Nazi authorities
Multiethnic societies under occupation from the perspective of so-called bystanders, perpetrators, and victims
Postwar relations between Jewish survivors and other minorities (German expellees, DPs, new/remaining borderland populations)
Memory of interethnic relations and postwar narratives of the Holocaust among (former) borderland inhabitants, and their relationship to national historiographies
Presentations should be approximately twenty minutes long. The language of the conference is English. The conference will take place in Munich, Germany. Travel and accommodation costs for invited participants will be paid for by the organizers.

Applicants should send a short biography (max. 200 words), as well as the title and abstract (no more than 350 words) of their paper to Katarina Kezeric (kezeric@ifz-muenchen.de) by May 31, 2017. Invited participants will be notified of their acceptance by the end of July 2017.

CFP: Berkeley Global and International History (Big-H) Conference (Berkeley, September 2-3)

For our graduate student readers, please see this call for papers for the Fourth Berkeley International and Global History (Big-H) Graduate Student Conference, themed “The Contingency of Transmission: A symposium on transnational movements in ideas, people, and goods.”

Never has global history been as relevant, among both disciplines that study the global and fields of historical research. Even as the transmission of ideas and capital has reached new peaks, resurgent anxieties about the permeability of national boundaries have initiated profound policy changes regarding migration and international trade. These topics have also refreshed scholarly and popular debates that have raged for decades. As in the past, we may see a retrenchment of patterns in globalization that before seemed inexorable. This contingency of global integration only speaks to the need for historians to engage international dynamics with humility toward the power and specifics of change. We encourage submissions that address these issues from a variety of temporal and spatial perspectives.

The Fourth Big-H Conference will consist of panel discussions, running 20 minutes. Each presentation will be followed by a short reflections by a faculty commenter arranged by the conference organizers. Rather than a typical conference paper, we seek broad but concise overviews of dissertations-in-progress. While example, detail, and texture is of course welcome, the bulk of each presentation should focus on overall arguments and major scholarly interventions. We envision the Big-H conference as an opportunity for emerging scholars to engage a diverse audience of different methodological, geographic, and period specialties and ‘test drive’ their largest claims and interventions. Q & A will follow presentations and comments. Big-H will also include a roundtable discussion on teaching global history.

Papers may address a variety of themes, including but not limited to:
Medicine, Public Health, and Microbes
Capital, Development, and Multinational Corporations
Human Rights in Theory and Practice
Codifying and Enforcing the Law Globally
Diasporas throughout Time, from Beringia to the 1990s
Local Resistance to Centralizing and Global Forces
International & Regional Organizations
Globalization Before or After the State
Imposing Cartographic Order on Borderlands and Frontiers
Attempts to Control the Natural World and Environmental Impacts on Human Society
Transmission of Science and Knowledge across Borders
Violence and the Global Arms Trade
Migration, Refugees, and Human Trafficking

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are interested in participating in the conference should submit a 350-word proposal and one-page curriculum vitae (in Word, RTF, or PDF format) to bighist@berkeley.edu. Presenters will also pre-circulate their paper drafts. We will not accept panel proposals. Proposals must be received by April 21, 2017, in order to be considered. Notification of acceptance will be made in early May. For additional information, please e-mail the conference organizers at bighist@berkeley.edu.

CFP: Global Decolonization Workshop: Concepts and Connections (Paris, 6-7 July)

From our friends at the School of Advanced Study, University of London and the Department of History, New York University, comes the Global Decolonization Workshop (GDW), a global forum for knowledge exchange the field of decolonization studies. The theme of the upcoming July 6-7 University of London in Paris workshop of the GDW is “Concepts and Connections.” The abstract explains more:

The fields of decolonization and postcolonial studies have hitherto been defined by a focus on the post-war dissolution of the modern empires of France and Britain. Consequently, the Cold War ‘last wave’ in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean has been privileged. Meanwhile, the earlier, ‘first and second waves’ of decolonization in the Americas, Eastern and Southern Europe, Russia, and parts of the Middle East play little, if any role in most general historical accounts of decolonization. A symposium held at the University of London in March, 2015, however, has confirmed Latin America’s vanguard role in the global history of decolonization. The July Paris meeting of the GDW will explore and debate the connections among and key concepts animating the three waves of decolonization.

We seek papers that address any of the following:

  • Key concepts of independence and decolonization movements
  • Intellectual history of independence and decolonization leaders
  • Connections among empires before decolonization
  • History of inter-imperial and anti-colonial warfare
  • Connections between global, imperial and local political concepts
  • Historical narratives of decolonization in the various ‘waves’
  • Translation and traffic in colonial and anti-colonial discourses
  • Archival sources of decolonization studies
  • Memory of colonialism and decolonization (monuments, museums, etc.)

A 200-word abstract, paper title, and one-page biographical note should be submitted to Professor Philip Murphy (philip.murphy@sas.ac.uk) or Dr. Mark Thurner (mark.thurner@sas.ac.uk) by 5 May 2017.

CFP: Chronologics: Periodization in a Global Context (7-9 December 2017, Berlin)

For scholars interested in questions of historical periodization in a global context, see this call for papers for a conference to be held in Berlin in early December:

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung invite submissions for a three-day conference in Berlin on concepts of historical periodization in transregional perspective. The conference is convened by Thomas Maissen (Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris, DHIP), Barbara Mittler (Heidelberger Centrum für Transkulturelle Studien, HCTS), and Pierre Monnet (Institut franco-allemand de sciences historiques et sociales, Frankfurt am Main). The conference will feature a keynote lecture on December 7th and several topical panel sessions on December 8th and 9th. It is arranged in cooperation with the Einstein Center Chronoi and the Graduate School Global Intellectual History at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Concept

Epochal divisions and terminologies such as “antiquity”, “baroque,” the “classical age,” the “renaissance,” or “postmodernity,” the “long 19th!” or “short 20th” centuries are more than mere tools used pragmatically to arrange school curricula or museum collections. In most disciplines based on historical methods the use of these terminologies carries particular imaginations and meanings for the discursive construction of nations and communities. Many contemporary categories and periodisations have their roots in European teleologies, religious or historical traditions and thus are closely linked to particular power relations. As part of the colonial encounter they have been translated into new “temporal authenticities” in Africa, Asia and the Americas, as well as in Europe. German historians in particular, in C.H. Williams’ ironic description, “have an industry they call ‘Periodisierung’ and they take it very seriously. (…) Periodisation, this splitting up of time into neatly balanced divisions is, after all, a very arbitrary proceeding and should not be looked upon as permanent.” In producing and reproducing periodisations, historians structure possible narratives of temporality, they somehow “take up ownership of the past,” (Janet L. Nelson) imposing particular “regimes of historicity” (François Hartog). Accordingly, periodisations are never inert or innocent, indeed, they have been interpreted as a “theft of History” (Jack Goody).

The aim of this conference is to uncover some of the dynamics behind particular cultural and historical uses of periodisation schemes, as concepts for ordering the past, and thus to reconsider these terminologies “devised to think the world” (Sebastian Conrad). Periodisations are culturally determined. They beg for systematic comparison in order to identify the contextual specificity and contingency of particular understandings of particular historical epochs. An interdisciplinary and transregional perspective allows for a reconsideration of the (non-)transferability of historical periodisations and the possibility to work out categories of historical analysis that go beyond nation-bound interpretative patterns. The conference aims to show where and how periodisation reveals clear cultural, social, and national leanings and predispositions. We will discuss the making of these chronologics, the variable systems and morphologies it takes, e.g. religious, spatial and other models (e.g. linear, spiral, circular). We will focus on different agents and modes involved in the making of periodisation schemes (institutions ranging from the university to the school or the museum but also genres such as the documentary, the historical novel or local communities). We will discuss how European attempts at structuring the History, and along with them, particular chronotypes have been translated worldwide into universal and/or national, and communitarian models. At the same time, we will also focus on alternative, complementary and or silenced models of periodisation and epoch-making. By bringing together scholars with an expertise in different regions of the world, we hope to better understand the importance of temporality in the making of global history.

Application Procedure

This call is open to emerging as well as established scholars on all levels. Abstracts should address themselves to some of the following issues and questions:

1. The Making of Periodisation Schemes

2. Morphologies and Models of Periodisation

3. Axial Times and Epochal Breaks

4. Time and Power: Periodisation in a Global Context

5. Popular and Pedagogical Dimensions of Periodisation

As the institutions involved have French, German and English as working languages, papers can be held in all of these three languages while the working language at the conference will be English. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words for paper presentations of 20-25 minutes. Please submit, along with a brief biographical statement, to initiatives@trafo-berlin.de by April 30, 2017. Selection of papers will take place in May, applicants will be informed by the end of May. The Forum Transregionale Studien will cover participants’ travel and accommodation expenses. Participants invited for presentation will have a version of their paper published online at “Trafo – Blog for Transregional Research” and may have the option to publish their papers in an edited print/open access format as well.

CFP: After Socialism: Forgotten Legacies and Possible Futures in Africa and Beyond (October 13-14, 2017, Bayreuth)

For readers interested in global histories of socialism and development, see this call for papers for a conference to be held from October 13-14, 2017 at the University of Bayreuth:

After years of neglect, a burgeoning scholarship has recently emerged on African socialism, Second-Third World relations, anti-colonial radicalism, and state-directed modernization. This new research turn has productively revisited the history of socialism in the postcolonial world from various angles to reassess its historical dimensions and significance.

This workshop builds on this scholarship with the aim of pushing this broad investigation further. We seek to explore the intellectual transformations that have occurred since the end of “scientific”, “African” or “Arab” socialisms—political ideologies that were once confident, but have since faded. Though neither a universal red line nor a mono-causal explanation exists, this decline gained momentum during the 1980s through growing disillusionment with socialist experiments and the New International Economic Order, the promising luster of East Asian economic achievements, China’s gradual turn to capitalism, and, finally, the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the Soviet Union, which dealt the strongest blow. This demise of a socialist utopianism left a big void. And yet the socialist option has remained an approach and strategy at the grassroots level, as seen in popular movements in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia against growing discontent over forms of ultra-nationalism and global inequality.

In light of these past and present considerations, the workshop intends to address two sets of questions.

The first aims to study how political actors, social groups, intellectuals, and artists experienced these developments during the Cold War period, reacted to their demise, and, at times, reinvented themselves after the end of the Cold War. We are particularly interested in investigating conversions from socialism to new futures or alternative utopias, including the options of religion, human rights, liberal/social democracy, and more broadly within the field of culture. We seek to understand these new rationales as embedded in particular historical settings. What new ideas and futures that filled the void of socialism and how did they relate to it? And how did socialism – for some a political religion, for others a secular master narrative – pave the way for what came next? How were these shifts reflected in the academia, the media, literature, and arts? Furthermore, we seek to examine whether the demise of forward-looking, future-oriented political ideologies, like socialism, fostered a change in time regimes and temporal orders in a broader sense.

For instance, did linear notions of time lose currency? Or did they remain in force, but geared toward another “end of history”? Was the space of the future and its horizon of expectations diminished in favor of the present, or of the past? To what extent were these changes in time regimes transnational or a global phenomenon? Beyond these questions related to temporal orders, we are also interested in concurrent geographical orders (respatializations) triggered by these wide-ranging processes.

A second set of questions focuses on the afterlives of socialism. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, this component of the workshop intends to reflect on the broader impact of the Revolution through Third World socialisms. Despite later disillusionment, Third World socialisms left an important and sometimes unexpected legacy. The democratic movement, Le balai citoyen, which brought down the corrupt government of Burkina Faso in 2014, drew inspiration from the socialist icon of Thomas Sankara. The Kurdish fight for democratic federalism in the Middle East and for the emancipation of women, which has historically drawn and still draws on Leninism, is another important example. Besides these political afterlives in social and national liberation movements, we encourage participating scholars to think of other connections and their complex legacies within present-day struggles for democracy and human rights, education and economic justice, as well as in the realm of popular culture, literature and arts. The question of socialist legacies and representation in current political, social, and cultural movements is a central topic, be it as fragmented symbols, such as the red beret in South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party, or as direct reference to political icons such as Samora Machel and the usage of his speeches as mobile ring tone.

Following the path of our fellow historians and cultural scientists of Sudan (South Atlantic Quarterly 109, 2010), we wish to pursue the question: “What’s Left of the Left?”.

Practical information – Calendar

Abstracts (max. 500 words) and full papers (8,000-10,000 words including references) may be submitted both in English and in French to aftersocialism@yahoo.com. The workshop language will be English. The papers will be published in a special volume in the first half of 2018. Accommodation and travel costs will be covered (tickets may exceptionally be booked) by the Bayreuth Academy for Advanced African Studies.

Abstracts (max. 500 words, in English or in French) should be emailed to aftersocialism@yahoo.com by April 30 . Accommodation and travel costs will be covered by the Bayreuth Academy for Advanced African Studies.

CFP: Spaces of Interaction between the Socialist Camp and the Global South. Knowledge Production, Trade, and Scientific-Technical Cooperation in the Cold War Era (Leipzig, October 26-27 2017)

For readers interested in East-South relations during the global Cold War, see this call for papers for a conference to be held at the University of Leipzig from October 26-27 2017:

International studies on Cold War history have overcome the simplified model of two superpower–dominated blocs defined by a rivalry along an impenetrable Iron Curtain. Transnational history approaches have reintroduced the explanatory axis of an economic divide between the Global North and the Global South. Other than in previous Cold War approaches, the (semi-)peripheries have taken centre stage. The recent debate has highlighted the significance of relations between Soviet bloc and developing countries in shaping the spatial order of the Cold War. “Socialist globalization” has become an integral part of the global post-war economic expansion. Contributing to this debate, our conference will focus on concrete spaces of economic East-South interactions. Transnational hubs, institutions, and infrastructures will be taken as a starting point to identify actors, interests, and power relations.

The conference is organized by Project B3 “East-South Relations during the Global Cold War”, which is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition” at the University of Leipzig. The SFB is developing a historical narrative about the change of spatial orders under global conditions and a systematic approach that establishes a typology of spatial formats by exploring different scales of territories, networks, chains, enclaves, corridors, (special) zones, as well as the various indications of virtual and transnational spaces. Within this framework, Project B3 “East-South Relations in the Global Cold War” aims to challenge Cold War perspectives that take “Moscow’s” hegemony and centralized control by national communist parties for granted. To this end, the project asks to what degree were the borders of the Soviet bloc actually blurred and redrawn as a result of relations and interactions between the socialist camp and the Global South (with a special focus on African countries).

In what we call “spaces of interaction”, we intend to examine contact and exchanges of actors from the Soviet bloc and from the Global South. These spaces, to a certain extent, emerged and functioned beyond – or at the margins of – national control and opened up pathways into “the world”. Examples include, but are not limited to, ports, transport ships and fishing vessels, international train traffic infrastructure, construction sites, trade fairs, stock markets, joint multinational enterprises, international banks, international economic organizations, scientific conferences, international expert journals, etc.

We invite speakers to present research on such tangible spaces. Taking these examples as a starting point, we would like to discuss how in (the making of) these spaces different scales such as the local, the national, the bloc, and the global were intertwined and to what extent they became platforms of competition and of negotiation of interests between different actors. Furthermore, we want to discuss in which way the “global condition” played out and was addressed there. The guiding questions are the following: Who were the protagonists of these interactions and what were their interests and motives? How did they choose or create such spaces of interaction? Did these spaces become a relevant platform for negotiating different interests? To what extent did the interactions replicate seemingly dominant spatial order of the global Cold War? Did they blur or redraw the borders of the dominant spatial formats – that is to say the bloc and the nation-state?

The conference is organized into three main sections:
-Section 1 “Knowledge production” deals with the transfers of models of development and more generally of economic knowledge in fora of experts, ranging from scientific conferences to expert journals to international organizations.
-Section 2 “Trade and its infrastructures” looks at the exchange of goods and capital between socialist and “Third World” states and more specifically focuses on the infrastructures of international trade from transport facilities to trade fairs to negotiation rounds about trade contracts as a meeting point of the “Second” and “Third World”.
-Section 3 “Scientific-technical cooperation/Development aid” examines the sites of negotiations over and the realization of technical assistance, which consisted of large construction projects, more decentralized developmental measures in rural areas, and the training of specialists.

While we are aware of the overlap between the three topics, we think that a discussion about the dividing line between trade and assistance, for example, will be fruitful for developing a better understanding of the tension in the socialist states’ foreign economic activities between political claims of an “internationalist solidarity”, on the one hand, and economic interests, on the other. We especially welcome proposals focused on the interconnections of European socialist countries with African states. A roundtable discussion about the role of socialist countries in the UN project of a “New International Economic Order” (NIEO) with experts who participated in the NIEO-debate in the 1970s will be held on the first evening of the conference.

Proposals with title of the presentation, abstracts of 200 to 400 words, as well as information about the status and progress of the research project and affiliation of the participant should be submitted to Bence Kocsev, bence.kocsev@uni-leipzig.de by 30 April 2017. The selected participants will be notified by mid-May 2017. Although funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are expected to be available to a certain extent, we ask potential contributors to explore funding opportunities at their home institutions as well.
Working language of the conference is English. A selection of contributions will be published in a collective volume. We will ask contributors to send short draft papers (10 pages max.) at the beginning of October in order to circulate them among participants in advance.

CFP: On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives (University of California, Santa Barbara 4-5 May 2017)

For scholars interested in the transnational history of blackness, see this call for papers for a conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be held from 4-5 May 2017:

The presence of Black people in Europe dates back to the early medieval period. Since then, Black people in Europe have contributed significantly to the archives of radical Black epistemologies in various ways. Within this contribution, distinct points of departures exist with regards to socio-historical conditions and divergences of anti-blackness in European nation states. However, academic scholarship on the articulations and formations of Blackness in Europe have gained more attention in the last decades. Recently, the multiplicities of European Blackness (as ontology, identity, and/or alignment) are often subsumed under the framing of “Black Europe.” The attention given to this area of study is due in part to the resistance of Black people rendered non-citizen within Fortress Europe, urban insurrections in the aftermath of police killings of Black youth in Paris and London—as well as other cities in European countries—mobilizations against anti-black imagery, and representations in public spaces such as those against Zwarte Piete in the Netherlands.

The symposium “On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives,” which will take place at the University of California, Santa Barbara 4-5 May 2017, aims to trace the articulations of transnational Black solidarities and struggles for Black lives in the European context by foregrounding less explored paradigms of Black formations, creations, improvisations and Black struggles throughout Europe and beyond, putting a focus on the multiplicities of what has become taken for granted in contemporary discussions of “Black Europe.” With the aim of dismantling the homogeneity of the Black transnational experience in European contexts while simultaneously attending to how the various struggles for Black lives unfold, we will engage with lived experiences of Blackness and Black political struggles in various European contexts and geopolitical dynamics. Further, the symposium will interrogate the power relations at work within academic scholarship that determines what becomes monolithically referred to as “Black Europe.”

This call is for junior scholars, early career researchers, and/or independent researchers to present and discuss their respective research projects, either on panels or on roundtables to enact intergenerational, transnational and collective discussions. We invite proposals for papers and roundtable presentations that address any of the following:

What can Blackness mean in/for Europe?
How have contemporary contributions to the transnational continuations of the Black radical tradition been brought to bear in various European contexts?
How do various Black struggles unfold in the face of genocidal border regimes, urban policing and surveillance, neoliberal austerity policies and the current rise of right-wing extremism and Islamophobia?
What geographies and elements of Blackness or Black diasporic identity are privileged in European discourses and how can we unsettle these asymmetries?
How do marginalized experiences of Blackness within Europe, especially the interventions of Black Muslims, LGBTQI*, and/or those rendered non-citizen (e.g., refugees or asylum seekers), challenge one-dimensional conceptualizations of Blackness. How can we be more accountable in centering them?
Which kind of Black aesthetics, creative formations and emancipatory poesis are challenging the colonial legacies of Europe?
How does Blackness shape and reconfigure space and how is Black place-making maneuvered alongside the intersectional lines of postcolonial urbanism?
How do the politics of Black Lives Matter travel to and depart from these contexts? What can BLM mean in contexts that do not meaningfully contend with “race” as a recognized category of difference and subordination?

300 word abstracts including affiliation and a short bio should be sent by 20 March to Vanessa Thompson and SA Smythe at blacknessmatterseurope@gmail.com.

GLOBAL/UNIVERSAL HISTORY: A WARNING

From our friends over at the blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas comes Disha Karnad Jani’s reply to TPF Trustee Jeremy Adelman’s essay. Jani writes:

In reading this version of global history through Buck-Morss’s Hegel, Haiti and Universal History, I have tried to suggest that we make ourselves unhelpfully vulnerable as historians when we drive the stakes of our narratives into shifting sands. I am not suggesting here that global historians did not, or do not, see the complications or limitations of the approach. As I noted above, there are many ways to write global history, and hindsight will always see blind spots and stumbling blocks more clearly than those who were writing histories even a short while ago. I have been concerned here with a very specific feature of this field: a mission to write a story of the past shaped by an occluded and willfully blind cohesion. Orienting an historical approach around an assumption about the future “progress” of the world does little more than make us prone to hasty retreat as soon as that future is jeopardized by the caprice of the “real world.” In Buck-Morss and in Adelman’s essay, I read a warning. If a single, redeeming, and final world-historical force ever calls out to you, either plug your ears with wax or tie yourself to the mast, because there are other, more distant calls the siren song is doubtless drowning out.

TPF Trustee Jeremy Adelman on the Future of Global History

In an article published today in Aeon magazine, TPF trustee Jeremy Adelman asks the question “What is Global History Now?” Reflecting on the future of global history, he wonders:

What is to become of this approach to the past, one that a short time ago promised to re-image a vintage discipline? What would global narratives look like in the age of an anti-global backlash? Does the rise of ‘America First’, ‘China First’, ‘India First’ and ‘Russia First’ mean that the dreams and work of globe-narrating historians were just a bender, a neo-liberal joyride?

Ultimately, Adelman presses for the continued need for global history, but one that is as attentive to disunity as it is to unity:

This does not make global history less pressing. On the contrary. One of the ironies is that the anti-globalism movement is immersed in transnational mutual adoration networks. The day after the Brexit plebiscite, Trump travelled to the UK to reopen his golf resort. The British had ‘taken back their country’, he told the bristle of microphones, then returned home to Make America Great Again. Le Pen’s excitement about Trump is well-known. Fyodor V Biryukov, head of Rodina, the Russian Motherland Party, calls this swarm ‘a new global revolution’. It was, we should recall, the global financial crisis of 2008-9 that did the most to ravage the hopes of one-world dreamers, emanating from the sector that had gone furthest to fuse Westerners and Resterners while creating deeper divides at home: banking.

In short, we need narratives of global life that reckon with disintegration as well as integration, the costs and not just the bounty of interdependence. They might not do well on the chirpy TED-talk circuit, compete with Friedman’s unbridled faith in borderless technocracy, or appeal much to Davos Man. But if we are going to come to terms with the deep histories of global transformations, we need to remind ourselves of one of the historian’s crafts, and listen to the other half of the globe, the tribalists out there and right here, talking back.