CLCWeb Call for Papers: A Return to the Bad Old Times

To understand the forces that shape the present, the old adage that capitalism is a constantly revolutionizing force still holds true. Indeed, one of the most arresting results of this process is the ways in which the new sometimes unexpectedly manifests itself as a return to the old, apparently repeating that which was thought to have been transcended historically.

At the basis of this experience seems to be a political rebirth of authoritarianism and dictatorial regimes all over the globe, liberal democracy no longer constituting an end of history. Some versions of unapologetic old colonial attitudes find their place again within this non-democratic horizon. On the economic front, this appears in the abandonment of development projects in favor of ruthless competition over the graces of international capital investment. De-industrialization in this context means not a transcending of industrialization toward something better, but rather its loss toward something worse—not unlike pre-industrial capitalism in many respects. In foreign policy, loyalty to the American world order—or to its old rivals—suddenly reemerges, abandoning all newer attempts to build regional alternatives to older power blocs. In literature and the arts, a clear decline of public investment in culture and education marks the present moment. Culture and education are thus de-institutionalized, becoming “free” from the collective project of national development, only to reproduce an older arrangement, in which they are directly controlled by the rich. New “courts,” or spheres of influence emerge for this kind of elitist culture, ones whose borders are much more clearly demarcated by class.

How are we to understand this reemergence of things once believed to be overcome? What newness hides behind these apparent returns or repetitions? How are these regressive processes different in different countries and cultures (e.g., Brazil, Hungary, Italy, India, Philippines, US)? And, what can this variety tell us about the dynamics underlying them all? How can one relate these many returns to a single process, namely, the global development of capitalism? And, perhaps most importantly, what can political, cultural, and artistic responses tell us about such apparent reemergence of older social phenomena? This issue of CLCWeb welcomes full-length essays and shorter review essays and reviews dealing with such questions and similar ones.

Special issue editors: Fabio Akcelrud Durão and Fernando Urueta

Deadline for submissions: 1 April 2020