Social Theory Workshop for the 2012-13 Academic Year

The Social Theory Workshop is pleased to announce its plans for the upcoming 2012-13 academic year.

As in previous years, the Social Theory Workshop continues to provide a forum for graduate students to explore the social theoretical implications of participants’ work in the social sciences and humanities. In past years, conversations have addressed themes that include the relation between social and cultural transformations, questions of the public sphere and civil society, social movements, democracy, capitalism, the relation between colonialism and the global expansion of capital, and conceptual issues posed by globalization. In particular, during the 2012-13 academic year, the Social Theory Workshop will be engaging with the following themes:

Transitions to Capitalism

Understanding transitions to capitalism entails working across space and time to trace the uneven unfolding of its historical dynamic. The workshop is interested in considering the contours of the development of capitalist modes of politics, economy, society, and subjectivity in its manifold manifestations around the world. Focusing on the process of transition, the workshop seeks to engage the question of the historical conditions of possibility of capitalism’s development and how such development produced, in different places at different times, new social relations and ways of thinking about society.

Politics

The workshop will examine a variety of historical and contemporary religious, nationalist, and socialist political movements. This discussion will include examining political ideologies in terms of their conditions of possibility and their ability to move beyond the forms of domination they seek to overcome. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and periods, and particularly encourage papers that pay attention to popular political movements that have arisen in response to contemporary global crises and the perceived inadequacies of neo-liberalism to address them.

Interrogating the Transnational Modern

Beginning from the position that the transnational is not a standpoint to be taken for granted, but a phenomenon to be explained, the workshop welcomes papers that consider the transnational dimensions of local historical developments by interrogating the conditions of possibility for this dimension. We intend this framework to be capacious enough to allow for the presentation of specific ethnographic and/or archival work, but also seek to bring a certain amount of pressure to bear on connections that can be made with shared patterns of historical process and the grounds for these shared processes. Phenomenon to be considered could include state formations, legal structures, intellectual discourses, and historical consciousness.

As a CAS funded workshop, the Social Theory Workshop provides a forum for MA and PhD students to engage with each other’s work in a collegial and rigorous casual setting. In recent years workshop participants have come from the humanities, anthropology, history, sociology, and political science, and their work represents a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods.

The fall schedule will be forthcoming, shortly.

The workshop will take place from 6-8pm on alternate Thursdays. Those interested in presenting or finding out more about the Social Theory Workshop should contact Stacie Kent, sakent@uchicago.edu

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