35th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association
Chicago, Illinois, 18-21 November, 2010
Submission deadline: 15 February, 2010
“Power and Politics”
The 2010 Program Committee seeks panel proposals that will focus on Power and Politics. Power is a foundational concept in history and the social sciences, and just as clearly a contested one. Traditionally, the understanding of power as the capacity to enact one’s will against resistance and images of the coercive, central state apparatus held sway, and these are still compelling visions. More recently, we have seen the emergence of a rather different conception of power as a diffuse set of forces, at work in the practices of everyday life, which may entangle actors in their own subjection. Here, the analysis of power has expanded to include the constitution of domination outside the formal polity, in forms of inequality and difference such as race, gender, or sexuality, or in terms of capillary processes working through classification systems, therapeutic discourses, and other technologies of regulation. Similarly, notions of politics and the political are debated. Some focus on collective practices, formal and informal, directed at states, while others stress the ways in which “the personal is political,” or examine individual or smallscale acts of compliance, resistance or inauguration that may be carried into the polity. And which issues and relations are considered political is historically specific. Power and politics, then, have many faces, and we may trace their institutionalization in forms of rule and the formation of subjects in a broad array of spatial, national and historical contexts.
As historical social scientists and social science historians, we hail from many traditions and disciplines. But we share common ground in the weight we assign to historicizing our understandings of power and politics. SSHA is a site in which we may use our collective intellectual resources and disciplinary traditions to help us to challenge foundational concepts and conventional understandings within our own fields. More broadly, still, we can ask what the streams of social science history and historical social science imply for understanding power and politics in today’s world, and in the future.
How to participate in the 2010 SSHA Program
Starting in December 2009, proposals for individual papers and complete sessions will be accepted at
http://ssha.org; the deadline for all submissions is 15 February 2010. SSHA will continue to make competitive
grants for graduate student travel, now with additional help from the Charles and Louise Tilly Fund for Social
Science History, which will also support a graduate student paper prize.
SSHA President for 2009-10
Program Committee Co-Chairs for the 2010 Conference: