The WCSA 2017 conference seeks to take stock of the legacy, present, and future possibilities of the idea of “class struggle.” We invite proposals for individual papers, panels, plenary sessions, or cultural events that will investigate the myriad ways in which the working classes can fight for emancipation. In particular, the program committee seeks proposals that offer creative interrogations of the very concepts of “working class” and “class struggle” in today’s moment of global capitalism and the consequent disarticulation of traditional notions of the working class. What does working class mean in an era of deindustrialization, precarious work, and predatory capital mobility? What new sites of working-class struggle can come to the fore with the weakening of trade unions and the erosion of the shop-floor and public space as places of working-class organization and contestation?
We also invite proposals that examine the intersections of multiple struggles for justice linked to the idea of “class.” Papers on class and gender, and class and race, are especially welcome. Finally, given the current revival of democratic socialism as part of the American political discourse and the one hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, we ask how revisiting the concept and history of “revolution” might serve as a relevant term for working class movements. Imaginatively considering the parameters of what constitutes revolution, in what ways did revolutions of the past—including the 1917 variant—liberate the working class? How have revolutionary moments been advanced and limited by divisions of race or gender? What are the possibilities for revolutionary transformations of class relations in the future? And what new formations are emerging from the unmoored politics of the working classes in our globalized economy?
Organizers are particularly interested in presentations that deal with issues affecting workers in the Midwest and Rust Belt regions of the United States. Ideally, we would like to have a stream of panels running throughout the conference on this theme. We encourage participants to organize other streams based on their expertise.
For more information, see the official site for Working-Class Studies Association Annual Conference »