Call for Conference Papers
CLR James Now!
Friday, 4 November 2016
CUNY Graduate Center
New York, NY
Deadline for proposals: *** updated deadline*** 15 June 2016
CLR James’s life spanned almost the entire 20th century. He was part of Trotsky’s circle in Mexico in the 1930s and Stuart Hall’s in the 1970s. A fulcrum of leftist thought for the past fifty years, James was an influential advocate of social change from below. James was a product of the colonial process and an early resister of it, and he recognized that the Global South as a generator of political innovation rather than a container for received ideas. As a theorist of British imperialism and what has come to be called the Black Atlantic, James helps us reorient the geographic perspective of American Studies towards the Caribbean and expands what blackness can mean in the United States.
A novelist, playwright, theorist, sports writer, literary critic voracious reader, and polymath intellectual, James forces us to challenge the narrow boundaries of academic life on the one hand and resist the lure of sectarianism in political organizing on the other. In his embrace of cricket, he claims the cultural capital of the colonizer for the post-colonial subject. His critique of Soviet communism as “state capitalism” anticipated the emergence of China as a state-run free market, just as his fascination with the Haitian revolution theorized the inextricable connections between racialization and divide-and-conquer class politics that is a focus of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
What can CLR James tell us now?
The organizers invite proposals for presentations on (but not limited to) the following topics:
- Can every cook govern? Revolutionary possibilities past and present
- CLR James and “friends”: overlaps, influences, and influenced: Trotsky, Gramsci, Luxemburg, Hall, Spivak, Said, Davis, Padmore, Dunayevskaya, James and Grace Lee Boggs, and more
- James and his “enemies”: conflict, opposition, surveillance, suppression
- James at the margins, James at the center, James in the black Atlantic
- Migration, diaspora, deportation, flight
- James’s critique of state socialism, from the USSR to Cuba to the Chinese Communist Party
- James and the “studies”: postcolonial, (post)marxist, transnational, gender, sexuality
- Critiquing James
Please use this Survey Monkey link to submit abstracts (250 words maximum) for the conference by 15 May 2016.
For any questions or concerns about the symposium or call, please email Justin Rogers-Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help advertise and create discussion for the symposium using the social media hashtag #CLRJamesNOW
Cosponsored by the New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) and the CUNY Institute for Research on the African Diaspora and Caribbean (IRADAC)