The Law and Political Economy Project is thrilled to cosponsor the Neoliberalism and Capitalism as Keywords in Contemporary History Conference which will take place at Yale University, February 23-25, 2024. The keynote speakers will be Isabella Weber (Associate Professor of Economics at UMass Amherst, author of How China Escaped Shock Therapy) and David Edgerton (Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology at King’s College London, author of The Rise and Fall of the British Nation).
Call for Papers: Historians have made ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ two of the most powerful keywords as they describe and account for the recent past’s distinctive features and pathologies. Ambiguities exist however around what the concepts usefully name; how these phenomena relate to each other; and which agencies, processes, periodizations and geographies the concepts call on us to emphasize.
This conference engages these keywords of contemporary history, which have borne upon historians in one of their most important modes of speaking to their present: using historical methods to illuminate and account for the recent past’s most urgent or distinguishing features. We invite scholars at all stages of their careers to submit paper proposals which engage any of the following questions:
- How and why did these concepts, rather than others, become such powerful keywords to describe the recent past and its pathologies?
- Why have scholars found it so difficult to agree on what ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ name?
- In the project of describing and accounting for the recent past in historical perspective, what different assumptions and investments make ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ appear as complementary concepts for some scholars, and rival concepts for others?
- How do different definitions of neoliberalism, capitalism, and their relationship help or hinder historical investigations into pressing issues of our present, including but not limited to climate change, right-wing resurgence, economic crisis, and geopolitical disorder? Do these concepts still serve us adequately as keywords in this task?
- How and why have the keywords ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ led different literatures to address similar explananda through such different agencies, processes, periodizations and geographies?
- How might we usefully bring into conversation the distinct literatures which the concepts of ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ have shaped?
- The organizers would like to thank the MacMillan Center, the Law and Political Economy Project, the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, and Yale’s History Department for their support.
TO APPLY: Please submit a 350 word abstract and a one-page CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24 October 2023. Please include your name in the email subject header. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by 7 November 2023. Presenters will be expected to pre-circulate a paper of between ~2,000 and 4,000 words to their co-panelists by 9 February 2024. Some travel assistance may be available; please indicate in your application if you would like to apply. Preference will be given to underrepresented scholars who lack other sources of institutional funding.
-- Karen Tani