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CLCWeb Call for Papers: A Return to the Bad Old Times

To understand the forces that shape the present, the old adage that capitalism is a constantly revolutionizing force still holds true. Indeed, one of the most arresting results of this process is the ways in which the new sometimes unexpectedly manifests itself as a return to the old, apparently repeating that which was thought to have been transcended historically.

At the basis of this experience seems to be a political rebirth of authoritarianism and dictatorial regimes all over the globe, liberal democracy no longer constituting an end of history. Some versions of unapologetic old colonial attitudes find their place again within this non-democratic horizon. On the economic front, this appears in the abandonment of development projects in favor of ruthless competition over the graces of international capital investment. De-industrialization in this context means not a transcending of industrialization toward something better, but rather its loss toward something worse—not unlike pre-industrial capitalism in many respects. In foreign policy, loyalty to the American world order—or to its old rivals—suddenly reemerges, abandoning all newer attempts to build regional alternatives to older power blocs. In literature and the arts, a clear decline of public investment in culture and education marks the present moment. Culture and education are thus de-institutionalized, becoming “free” from the collective project of national development, only to reproduce an older arrangement, in which they are directly controlled by the rich. New “courts,” or spheres of influence emerge for this kind of elitist culture, ones whose borders are much more clearly demarcated by class.

How are we to understand this reemergence of things once believed to be overcome? What newness hides behind these apparent returns or repetitions? How are these regressive processes different in different countries and cultures (e.g., Brazil, Hungary, Italy, India, Philippines, US)? And, what can this variety tell us about the dynamics underlying them all? How can one relate these many returns to a single process, namely, the global development of capitalism? And, perhaps most importantly, what can political, cultural, and artistic responses tell us about such apparent reemergence of older social phenomena? This issue of CLCWeb welcomes full-length essays and shorter review essays and reviews dealing with such questions and similar ones.

Special issue editors: Fabio Akcelrud Durão and Fernando Urueta

Deadline for submissions: 1 April 2020

CLCWeb Call for Papers: After Neoliberalism

Everyone hates neoliberalism. This was not always the case: not too long ago, the hegemonic consensus demanded that we recognize economic neoliberalism and the political form of liberal democracy as the happy end of history, despite counter-hegemonic analyses from Marxist critics such as Giovanni Arrighi or David Harvey. Now, their critiques may be more relevant than ever; but the surrounding cultural and political force field has changed in the last decade: even the old proponents of liberal democracy now admit that our economic system has gone awry.

One could therefore ask whether the critique of our neoliberal present still opens up the way to a radically different future. The widespread dissatisfaction could perhaps be taken as an indication that Western neoliberalism is already on the wane. This special issue seeks contributions that explore the relation between capital, time, and culture, by tracing the ruptures and gaps in the neoliberal “eternal present,” and through exploring the multiple temporalities that emerge in its cracks. Contributions may focus on privileged sites of capitalist activity, including non-Western variants of contemporary capitalism, such as those of China and Turkey. Equally welcome are contributions addressing geographical and social spaces that capitalism has left behind or rendered futureless (as related to themes such as surplus population, precarity, uneven development, indebtedness and credit, and others).

Taking into account neoliberalism’s crises, what kind of possible futures are already visible in the cracks of the crumbling neoliberal order? How do specific cultural objects stage antagonisms between different temporalities, and how are these related to their social context? What historical imaginaries have become thinkable (or unthinkable) through the flourishing of the critique of neoliberalism? How do novels, films, art, and other cultural forms participate, consciously or unconsciously, in imagining new social forms, be these utopian, socialist, or other ones? How are the crises of contemporary capitalism and its future registered in cultures other than those of Western Europe and North America? What new ways of imagining time are emerging on the brink of capitalism’s collapse, or its reconstitution? And finally, how is conscious resistance related to artistic effort that seeks to articulate a non-capitalist social horizon? To what prescriptions should artistic activism adhere, if any?

We seek contributions that engage theoretical, philosophical, and artistic work from all parts of the world, from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Those interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit a 200-300 word abstract and a short bio to clcweb@purdue.edu, with the subject line “After Neoliberalism” by February 20, 2019. Authors with selected abstracts will be invited to submit full manuscripts for consideration for inclusion in the special issue.