Annual Conference General CFP: Limits, Barriers and Borders

In the Grundrisse, Marx diagnosed the effort to turn unsurpassable limits into transcendable barriers as one of capital’s defining features, what permitted it either to avert crises or to employ them to its own advantage. Ecological critique and activism is increasingly identifying the endurance of capitalist imperatives as a limit of a different kind, a limit on the reproducibility of human livelihoods, a limit both to and of nature, which is not necessarily a limit to capital. HM 2016 seeks to address from a multiplicity of angles the question of the relationships between the limits and barriers of capital and those of its human and non-human “others”. Or: its limits and ours, their barriers and ours. How does Marxist theory address the so-called 'spatial turn' and various geographies of capital? We hope to investigate the theoretical and practical challenges to capital’s increasingly disastrous or desultory forms of crisis-management, from the COP21 agreements on climate change to the sinister responses to mass migration and civil war. We hope that this theme of limits will not be taken simply in a systemic sense – as the limits to capital, or to nature, or to the capitalist state, etc. – but also in a strategic one, as an occasion to reflect on the limits (or barriers) of current socialist, communist and emancipatory political movements. From public outcries against financial scandals to the rise of populist anti-elitism, are movements redrawing the limits of politics?
HM 2016 welcomes papers addressing the question of capital’s limits, barriers and borders and their relation to Marxist theory and anti-capitalist politics. Though we envisage it as a theme running throughout the conference, we will devote a day to the critical question of the relation between the limits to capital and the limits to nature (see separate CFP) below. We continue to welcome papers on ALL general topics of interest to readers of Historical Materialism, but also encourage papers on the following themes:
  • Limits and borders: the migration ‘crisis’, the European state-system and racism
  • Social reproduction, the reproduction of capital and the reproduction of nature
  • Historical-materialist geography and the limits to capital
  • ‘Marx in his limits’: Marxist traditions of theoretical self-criticism
  • Environmental racism
  • Feminism and the limits to capital
  • ‘Race’ and the limits to capital
  • Art, aesthetics, culture and the limits to capital
  • Marxist aesthetics and ecology
  • Ecological Marxism and crisis theory
  • The law and ethics of capital's borders
  • The geographies of finance capital