CFP – 1/2017 [EN]

paris3Repressed histories of the 19th century

Theoretical Practice – issue 1/2017

Editors: Katarzyna Czeczot, Wiktor Marzec, Michał Pospiszyl

Polish version




Submission of abstracts: 31th of June 2016
Submission of full articles: 31 October 2016
Estimated date of publication: Spring 2017

Theme outline:
The long 19th century was a period of an unprecedented intensification of multiple class struggles. It was a period when social, economical and political relations were profoundly reconstructed. In humid basements in European cities, on the lower decks of commercial vessels carrying live cargo, and during hot nights on lucrative plantations, “invisible” social groups made their and our own “universal” history. Resisting the hegemonic narratives conducted by dominant classes and methodological nationalisms, we aim at yet another reappraisal of repressed undercurrents of 19th century history. According to the suggestions of late Walter Benjamin, we posit a rupture within linear historiography and leave behind homogenous subjects of history. History does not proceed only on battlefields, in the conference rooms of European diplomacy, and in party meetings. What we aim to do is not, however, an attempt to regain the historiographical visibility of popular classes along the lines already traced by the holy traditions of historical writing. Instead of a vicious repetition of the narrative populated by homogenous subjects and easily traceable stakes, we argue for another perspective. Here, the long 19th century is subjected to a Ginzburgian investigation.
Thus, we aim at tracing the symptoms of the repressed, the barely visible but stubbornly present clues of the different history. History which resists inscription into the eventful history of the elites and, simultaneously, into the linear narrative of modern emancipation of the popular classes. To put it bluntly, instead of focusing on those moments when oppressed proletarians appear and vanish from the bourgeois public sphere, we call for investigation of those documents, testimonies and images, which may pose – though they are invisible from the bourgeois point of view – the traces of an alternative modernity, blocked by the bourgeoisie at the dawn of 19th century.
Therefore, what interests us most are articles utilizing “minor historiography” or micro-history in order to tell the alternative story of the 19th century. Police reports, leaflets, brochures, diaries, correspondences and other documents of everyday life when read against the grain may deliver an explosive blowing out of the commonsense vision of the 19th century, which is also usually held among the academic left. We are firmly convinced that those repressed histories not only do exist, but they are not always only an awaited consolation. They demand consequent investigations. Thanks to works of Kristin Ross, Jacques Rancière, Carolyn Steedman or Arlette Farge we know already much about the nocturnal histories. Now we want to stimulate further scrutiny, broadening the scope of research with new insights and documents. Above all, however, we invite contributions on spaces and places other than Western-European modernity, with a special focus on multiple Eastern European “Ruritanies.”

Potential topics and areas of research may include, but certainly are not limited, to:

– proletarian and plebeian public spheres

– plebeian insurgencies (peasant, anti-colonial, slave, or serf rebellions)

– spiritism and the beginnings of feminism

– magnetism, mesmerism and the role of science in 19th century social movements

– world’s fairs and the early labor movement

– 19th century barricades, their lives on the streets, in literature and memories

– inter- and infra-class struggle in 19th century cities and its suburbs

– anarchist anthropology and critique of liberal vision of the state of nature

– 19th century radical pedagogical projects

– micro-practices of resistance, weapons of the weak

– local struggles for the commons, right to collect brushwood, clashes of the common law and the new property order

– proletarian obstinacy (Eigensinn), ambiguities of the proletarian self

– vernacular science and knowledge, ethnophilosophy

– workers and peasants mysticism as a political factor

– alternative pasts, uchronies and proletarian mythologies

– vernacular visions of the future, microutopias.



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