Lisbon, 2-4 of November 2017

Deadline: 31 October 2016.


The October Revolution of 1917 was one of the most significant events of the modern era. Its historical meaning can be understood, on the one hand, within the narrative of previous revolutions – starting with the 1789 French Revolution – and of the rise of the labour movement in the nineteenth-century. On the other hand, 1917 also paved the way to several other twentieth-century events and phenomena, such as the Chinese Revolution or the post-colonial turn. On its hundredth anniversary, the Institute for Contemporary History organizes an international conference dedicated to the study and discussion of the October Revolution and its consequences.

The conference will take place on the 2-4 November 2017. We’re accepting proposals on any of the following nine topics:

1. The Revolution of Everyday Life. We invite proposals that identify changes and continuities in the everyday (both in the public and private spheres) in the immediate aftermath of October 1917.

Preference will be given to presentations based on original research on topics such as family life and sociability, sexuality, consumerism and leisure, urban life and religious practices.

2. The Cultural Revolution. We invite proposals that analyse material transformations, “structures of feeling” and theoretical confrontations on cultural matters, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the revolution and in the 1920s. Culture is here understood as a wide range of phenomena stemming from artistic creation to cultural policy and symbolic power, including the debates about form and content and the relations between aesthetics and politics, the debates related to the proletkult and education as well as those concerning the status of science and technology.

3. New types of power. We invite proposals that consider the Soviet Revolution as a moment of crisis, critique and reassessment of different forms of power and government of people and populations, from the creation of the soviets to the making of the socialist state; from the creation of a party of a new type to the abolition of the state; from the dictatorship of the proletariat to the critique of democratic centralism in the leaderships of Lenin and Stalin.

4. The Politics of Economy. We invite proposals that, by focussing on the period from October 1917 to the execution of the first five-year plan (1928-1932), analyse the history of the economic policies of the Bolsheviks and their related political strategies, from the proposed transformations of property and production to the question of consumption and commercialization, and thus consider the history of the economy of war, the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the agrarian question from kolkhoz to sovkhoz.

5. The World Revolution. We invite proposals that situate the history of the October Revolution in the wider history of revolutionary processes in the context of the First World War and post-war Europe, from the German and  Hungarian Revolutions to the Biennio Rosso. We also invite papers on the impact of the October Revolution on the workers movement and on social and political movements worldwide.

6. The Russian Revolution. We invite proposals that situate the October Revolution in the wider context of Russian History between the Revolution of 1905, when the first soviets were created, and the Moscow Trials (1936-1939), when the internal opposition to Stalin was definitely eliminated. Preference will be given to proposals based on original research on topics such as the crisis of tsarism, the participation in the First World War, the February Revolution, the Civil War and the political debates inside the Bolshevik Party.

7. The Question of Nationalities. We invite proposals that focus on the ways the so-called national question was discussed throughout the period from 1913, when Stalin wrote Marxism and the National Question, to the Chinese Revolution, which signals not only an oriental turn in the history of revolutions, but also reinforces the role of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism in the history of communism. In particular, we invite submissions that discuss the question of nationalities, self-determination, pacifism, proletarian internationalism, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism.

8. Theorizing Revolution. We invite proposals that engage with the conceptualization and theorization of revolutions in Political Thought, in particular those that focus on the meaning of the October Revolution within the history of Marxism, either as a development of previous theories (e.g., the theory of revolution in the young Marx or the theory of permanent revolution in Leon Trotsky) or in relation to later developments, as for example Gramsci’s reflections on revolution in the West.

9. October’ 1917 and its afterlives. We invite proposals that analyse the representations of the October Revolution from 1917 to nowadays. These representations may include a variety of objects such as journalistic reports, film, historiographic works, including in the latter different scientific and ideological works, exercises on revolutionary comparatism and controversies around totalitarianism.

Key-note speakers: ALBERTO TOSCANO (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and YURI SLEZKINE (University of California Berkeley).

Presentations can be made in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

However, all submissions must be written both in the language used in the presentation and in English. Proposals must have between 1500 car. (with spaces) and 3000 car. (with spaces) and should be sent by email to Submission deadline: 31 October 2016.

Notification of acceptance: 31 December 2016. Proposals should include a short biographical note (max. 500 car., with spaces).

Scientific Committee: Alfredo Caldeira, António Pedro Pita, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Fernando Rosas, Francisco Bairrão Ruivo, Francisco Louçã, Giulia Stripoli, João Madeira, José Pacheco Pereira, José Neves, Luís Farinha, Luís Trindade, Manuel Deniz Silva, Manuel Loff, Mário Machaqueiro, Mário Vieira de Carvalho, Miguel Cardina, Miriam Halpern Pereira, Paula Godinho, Ricardo Noronha, Steven Forti.

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