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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Call for Papers

Call for papers:
What is radical imagination?: Potentials and barriers towards
mobilization in the
global North.
Panel at the Society for Socialist Studies
@ the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Carleton University, Ottawa
May 27-30, 2009
Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2009
[If you are interested in this topic and wish to become part of a
research network on radical
imagination, please email us]
The crises of neoliberalism, so evident and provocative throughout the
rest of the world, have finally
come "home" to the global North in the form of a cataclysmic financial
crisis. However, we have yet to
see here the rise of radical mass political activity that has marked
the landscape of political contention
and alternative-building in the global South. From the Zapatista
uprising to water and AIDS activism
in sub-Saharan and southern Africa to general strikes in Korea to the
Bolivarian revolution, the last 15
years has seen mass mobilizations animated by concrete and radical
hope for a globalization from
below. Yet in the North the question that has plagued Left scholars
since the 60s has taken on new
salience and urgency. Why, in the face of increasing inequality,
precariousness, and exploitation, in the
face, even, of imminent ecological collapse, do North American elites
and governments enjoy reckless
accumulation untroubled by mass movements demanding radical social and
political change?
The answers are legion and the reality complex, but in the face of
this persistent conundrum, powerful
imaginations of political possibility capable of provoking movement
are striking in their absence.
Now that the lexicon of "crisis" has lost so much of its efficacy,
elites have turned to hollow
invocations of the rhetoric and symbolism of hope, imagination, and
possibility. The elite colonization
of this terrain makes the lack of (or need for) radical imaginations
capable of fueling radical
movements all the more critical. Yet while its evocative power and
romantic appeal are undeniable, the
discourse of radical imagination among the left (and especially among
left academics) may draw its
strength precisely from its nebulous and ill-defined nature. At risk
of demystifying a term whose
mythic power may be worth maintaining, our panel asks for a more
rigorous examination of concepts
and practices of radical imagination towards new forms of
academic/activist knowledge.
In a moment where the conspicuous lack of radical imagination has been
brought home amidst a global
financial crisis, where unprecedented opportunities for alternative
visions of society have been
sacrificed by the Left on the alter of a ubiquitous and tepid
neo-Keynesianism, the conveners of the
panel invite contributions which help us rethink and retheorize
radical imagination by focusing on
concrete sites of struggle, particularly (but not exclusively) in
North America. Of particular interest
? Indigenous struggles and struggles in solidarity with indigenous peoples
? Migrant and migrant workers' struggles
? New directions in peace and anti-war organizing
? New forms of labour organizing (Workers' centres, radical workers'
networks, the IWW
resurgence, etc.)
? New forms of feminist (anti-)globalization
? Emergent or resurgent anti-capitalist tendencies
? New anarchist(ic) initiatives
? New forms of Queer and trans- organizing
The conveners encourage and anticipate a wide variety of disciplinary,
theoretical and methodological
approaches. Papers should focus on the ways movements seek - or fail -
to conceive of, articulate, and
mobilize radical imagination(s) in the pursuit of radical social
change and the consequences thereof.
Please send 100-word abstracts to:
Organisers: Alex Khasnabish (Mount Saint Vincent) & Max Haiven (McMaster)
E-mail for paper proposals:;
Telephone: 902-457-6565
Fax: 902-457-6134
Mailing address: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Evaristus Hall, Rm. 443
Mount Saint Vincent University
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
Please note: While the limits of an academic panel can accommodate
only a handful of presenters we
sincerely hope that a network of scholars and activists interested in
radical imagination can emerge
from this endeavour. If you are interested in this panel and wish to
be involved in such a network,
please email us. Plans are afoot to create more opportunities to
discuss these questions in the very near

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