The fifth Radical Americas conference will take place at UCL Institute of the Americas, London on 11th and 12th September 2017. The conference falls in a year of many anniversaries, offering an opportunity to examine the legacies of various radical movements, events, writers, artists and activists. Yet the careful examination of the past should not distract us from the urgent tasks of the present, and we will consider the challenges for radicals in the Americas in the current conjuncture.
– Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish Empire; a century ago, Oscar Romero was born. These anniversaries might prompt us to reflect on several kinds of relationship: between church and state; between radical and conservative elements within the church; between the clergy and indigenous groups.
– Mexico celebrates one hundred years of its radical constitution – this exemplary document has provoked much debate, often around the question of provision versus implementation.
– We will also mark the hundred years since the birth of Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonius Monk, and the fifty since John Coltrane’s death.
– It is fifty years since Che Guevara was killed fomenting revolution in South America; what relevance do his ideas and actions have today?
– That same year, the Black Panther Party published its Ten Point Program and Mohammed Ali refused military service, explicitly linking the African-American struggle to that of anti-imperialists overseas. It is also fifty years since the Summer of Love – but were hippies radical?
– Twenty years have passed since Chedi Jagan and Michael Manley died; we can look back on Caribbean socialisms and ask whether the traditions Jagan and Manley represented still have currency.
– And looming over all other anniversaries this year, surely, is the centenary of the Russian Revolution; we will consider its impact and legacy in the Americas.
Paper proposals are welcomed on any aspect of radicalism in the Western Hemisphere, as well as on broader Western Hemisphere topics utilising a radical methodology. As in previous years, we hope that the conference will stretch the imagination of traditionally-defined revolution in ways that allow for a rethinking of what is meant by radical thought, struggle, and genealogies, and thus might include topics ranging from Cold War anti-imperialism or alternative economies to avant-garde performance or trans solidarities. We wish for a boldly inclusive radical programme.
Some regions have been underrepresented at previous conferences and we would especially like to hear from scholars or activists working on the Andean Region, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. We welcome papers from scholars and activists working in a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, ecology, politics, the arts, economics, geography and anthropology.
Please send abstracts of around 250 words along with a short biography or CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24th April. Individual proposals or complete panels (3 x 20m papers) are welcome. Authors of outstanding papers will be encouraged to submit their work to the Radical Americas Journal, published by UCL Press.
As in previous years, we hope to offer some financial assistance to those who need it most. The anticipated cost for the two day event is £75 for those who can afford it (or can expect institutional support), and £35 for those who cannot (a voluntary distinction).
With best wishes
The conference committee
Radical Americas Network