Notwithstanding the ritual self-congratulation of global elites over recent agreements to restrain global warming, the incompatibility between capitalist imperatives of accumulation and the urgent need to respond to multiple ecological emergencies is patent. In the domains of academia and popular discourse, much is made of the designation of our present as the ‘Anthropocene’, the era of mankind’s promotion to the status of geological agent. Historical materialism has long cast corrosive doubt on mystifying fables of united human agency – beyond class, gender or race. At this year’s annual Historical Materialism conference we want to explore the way in which thinking through global warming and accelerating ecological degradation has posed a challenge to contemporary Marxist theory, demanding a critical application and reconstruction of classical categories of historical and materialist analysis. How can Marxists think the entanglement of the history of class struggles and the history of ecological transformation? In what sense is capital to be understood as an ecological and geological agent? What concepts of ‘nature’ and of the relationship between the natural and the social is adequate to thinking our present? What can a critical Marxist theory of the relation between the limits to capital and the limits to nature contribute to contemporary movements for social and environmental justice?
We welcome papers in the general areas of:
- Nature and ecology in historical materialism and critical Marxist theory
- Radical social movements and ecological politics (feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, anarchism, radical environmentalism)
Marxist analyses and responses to ecological crisis