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Third Annual Conference (2020)

The Third Annual Chicago Area

Comparative Historical Social Science Conference

Call for Participation 

April 9th-10th, 2020

“The Neoliberal State Reconsidered: Risk, Surveillance, and The Future of Global Capitalism”
See the full conference program below.

The Comparative Historical Social Sciences Working Group at Northwestern University invites scholars to the third edition of our interdisciplinary graduate student conference on comparative and historical social science scholarship. We aim to bring together graduate students, postdocs, and faculty for fruitful interaction and debate on theoretical, empirical, and methodological questions currently shaping the field. 

This year, our conference has a theme: The Neoliberal State Reconsidered: Risk, Surveillance, and The Future of Global Capitalism.” Talk of “Surveillance Capitalism” abounds in scholastic circles and public audiences alike. Tactics of state surveillance, techniques of social control, and profits within global financial capitalism all seem to increasingly rely upon the extraction of personal data and information through various technologies. What this spells for the power of states to monopolize violence, the stability of global capitalism, and the political possibilities for social movements remains to be seen. Our keynote and closing will begin to unfold the answers to these theoretically intriguing and politically troubling uncertainties.

We are accepting graduate student and postdoc paper proposals broadly oriented towards comparative and historical social science research, though we encourage graduate students and postdocs to submit papers relevant to the theme. In particular, this includes proposals that address key theoretical debates or contribute to new methodological ideas and tools in the subfield of comparative historical analysis

The Third Annual Chicago Area Comparative Historical Social Sciences Conference will take place on April 9th-10, 2020 at Northwestern University, Evanston. Participants from around the world will present their papers in small panels and roundtables organized thematically. We will have a Keynote Reception to open up the conference on the 9th, and will close with a panel on the conference theme on the evening of the 10th. We are pleased to announce that the keynote speaker this year will be Professor Sarah Quinn (University of Washington). She is the author of American Bonds: How Credit Markets Shaped a Nation (Princeton University Press, 2019), which uses original archival research to examine the effect of political institutions on mortgage markets. 

The conference is organized by graduate students and is especially geared towards young scholars. We encourage graduate students and postdocs to submit proposals at different stages of research. This is a unique opportunity to receive feedback from internationally renowned senior scholars and peers in the field, attend panels dedicated to new comparative-historical research, and engage with an interdisciplinary scholarly community.

There will be a reception with hors d’oeuvres at the opening Keynote, and meals (breakfast, lunch, and a closing panel reception) will be provided. There will also be coffee available throughout the day. 

Please submit abstracts of about 150 words in our submission system. Abstracts will be evaluated based on the strength of their project, relevance to the comparative and historical social science discipline, and ability to cohere into dynamic conference panels. Participants selected will be notified to present their papers at the conference.

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Please contact Charlotte at if you have any questions.