Call for Proposals

WCSA Annual Conference, May 31 - June 3, 2017


Our conference theme, “Class Struggle: Race, Gender, and Revolution,” seeks to take stock of the legacy, present, and future possibilities of the idea of “class struggle.” We invite proposals for individual papers, panels, plenary sessions, or cultural events that will investigate the myriad ways in which the working classes can fight for emancipation. In particular, the program committee seeks proposals that offer creative interrogations of the very concepts of  “working class” and “class struggle” in today’s moment of global capitalism and the consequent disarticulation of traditional notions of the working class. What does working class mean in an era of deindustrialization, precarious work, and predatory capital mobility? What new sites of working-class struggle can come to the fore with the weakening of trade unions and the erosion of the shop-floor and public space as places of working-class organization and contestation?

We also invite proposals that examine the intersections of multiple struggles for justice linked to the idea of “class.” Papers on class and gender, and class and race, are especially welcome. Finally, given the current revival of democratic socialism as part of the American political discourse and the one hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, we ask how revisiting the concept and history of “revolution” might serve as a relevant term for working class movements. Imaginatively considering the parameters of what constitutes revolution, in what ways did revolutions of the past—including the 1917 variant—liberate the working class? How have revolutionary moments been advanced and limited by divisions of race or gender? What are the possibilities for revolutionary transformations of class relations in the future? And what new formations are emerging from the unmoored politics of the working classes in our globalized economy?

Organizers are particularly interested in presentations that deal with issues affecting workers in the Midwest and Rust Belt regions of the United States. Ideally, we would like to have a stream of panels running throughout the conference on this theme. We encourage participants to organize other streams based on their expertise.

We invite a wide array of proposals, but are especially interested in proposals that touch on the following questions:

  • Gender, race and revolutionary moments
  • Role of organic intellectuals in working class struggle: the academy as a site of working class struggle
  • Role of humor and satirical action in struggle; Cultures of class struggle: art, music, poetry, film, theater
  • War, imperialism, and the working class.
  • Divisions and solidarities within the working class, past and present
  • New definitions of the “working class” under postindustrial neoliberalism
  • New physical/geographic sites of class struggle beyond the workplace
  • New arenas of class struggle: environmental justice, LGBQT rights, immigrant rights, fair trade
  • Transnational working class struggles
  • Struggles on the shop floor, past and present

Author Guidelines

Sessions will be 90 minutes, and we will ask presenters to limit their remarks to 15 minutes each so that there is ample time for Q&A and discussion. Panel and roundtable chairs will be asked to adhere to strict time limits to facilitate discussions. Proposals may be for one of three forms:

  • Individual presentation, paper, or talk.
  • Panel session or workshop, featuring multiple presenters, proposing jointly.
  • Performance, reading, or screening of creative work.

Inquiries and special requests should be directed to Joseph Varga at

Submissions for this conference were closed on 2017-02-20.