Rethinking Rationalities and Irrationalities within the Times of Crisis and Radical Transformations

Call for Papers

Historical Materialism Istanbul 2024

Rethinking Rationalities and Irrationalities within the Times of Crises and Radical Transformations

April 5th-7th 2024
Kadir Has University
Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory Conference
In Association with
Praksis Journal
Turkish Social Sciences Association
Sosyal Araştırmalar Vakfı (Social Research Foundation), SAV
Mülkiyeliler Birliği

After four decades of neo-liberal global hegemony, the last few years have witnessed overlapping crises of neo-liberal capitalism, marked by environmental destruction, economic stagnation, and the breakdown of the liberal consensus at the centre of the political spectrum. Mike Davis in one of his final writings diagnosed a “brain tumour’ in the hegemony of the ruling class with morbid symptoms of inability “to achieve any coherent understanding the global change as a basis for defining common interests and formulating large-scale strategies.’ Indeed, historical materialist tradition would argue that this diagnosis is a reflection of the bourgeois irrationality which is an intrinsic aspect of capitalism deeply embedded within it structures.

Globally, this trend is palpable manifested itself from the ways in which different capitalist states attempted to respond to the symptoms of crises ranging from economic, ecological and social reproduction of the system where classes of labour bear the brunt of these irrationalities. While these attempts seem to fail to address the crises in the core countries, the reactionary-right wave have expanding its strength in several countries within and beyond Europe. We witness the same pattern: the rise of right-wing governments, quite successful in arming themselves with “populist” irrational discourses but still unable to reproduce consent for their ideological hegemony. The erosion of bourgeois democracy and persistence of finance-led accumulation could be perceived as both causes and symptoms of capitalist system’s inability to deal with its irrationalities, yet deepening the crises of capitalism.

While the inherited system is struggling, the left-wing alternative capable of enacting political change is yet to be born. At this juncture, it’s imperative to consider a range of alternatives, sparking discussions about the present nature of societal transitions, impeding shifts within late capitalism along with its various global forms, and the alternative ‘rationalities’ driving radical transformations. With the prominence of ecological and climate politics, and the challenges of managing transitions, questions regarding alternative rationalities in statecraft and economics have resurfaced.

This is why it is imperative to contemplate about the ways in which capitalism with its irrational survival endeavors might lead to social and ecological disasters detrimental for the fate of species. It is equally salient to begin envisioning potential paths of transforming capitalism.  In that milieu, we invite you to Istanbul in April to discuss the irrationality of the right-wing attempts to overcome the crises confronting contemporary capitalism but also to envisage the potential rationalities driving radical transitions within and beyond capitalism.

Whilst we encourage papers and panels that address these themes, as always, the Historical Materialism Istanbul Conference seeks to provide a space for critical Marxist theory and research across the globe and a range of disciplines and interests. Other papers and panels that enrich Marxist understandings – historical and contemporary – of theory and philosophy, culture, politics, political economy and societies under modern capitalism are also welcome.

In addition to our main theme, we are organizing the following streams. Please read their Call for Papers before you submit:

Conference fees:

 Global NorthGlobal SouthTurkey
  • Historical Materialism 2024 is produced by militant labour and we are open for solidarity donations. As the Organizing Committee, we can provide receipts for your donations.

Important Dates:

Deadline for Submissions: 24 January 2024

The organizational committee of Historical Materialism Istanbul 2024 can be reached at: hmistanbul2024@gmail.com

Please note that individual papers and panels should include:

  • Names of participants with e-mails and affiliations, and clear indication of a corresponding author where there is more than one participant
  • Title of paper or panel – In the case of a paper an abstract of no longer than 300 words. In the case of panels, an overarching description of 300 words and as relevant, abstracts for individual papers.

Partial submissions may be rejected if they are incomplete.

We still believe that this particular format of the in-person conference offers a unique and irreplaceable form that brings together comrades, enables discussion, helps the dissemination of new and original research, creates research networks and communities, and builds solidarity. This is why we will not normally accept online presentations. We would also note that we do engage in online broadcasts and podcasts all year round for such sessions.

As in the past, the conference ethos is strictly egalitarian. This means everyone is invited to contribute in a comradely spirit, the conference is open to all currents of critical Marxist theory and we expect all presenters to attend the entire conference, not just their own session (with no ‘cameo appearances’). The conference is an important part of the broader Historical Materialism project – including the journal, the book series, and the global network of HM conferences – and we want to encourage all conference participants to get involved with these different elements, for example by submitting their conference paper to the journal.

This conference is organised under the aegis of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory (http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/), which supports a journal (http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/journal) a book series (https://brill.com/view/serial/HM) and Marxist conferences across the globe.

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