Labour Histories from the Global South

Ann: a conference in Florianópolis, Oct 2010

Labour Histories from the Global South: International Seminar

Place: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, UFSC (Florianópolis, SC, Brazil)
Date: 25th to 28th October 2010.

Chamada de apresentações: [url][/url]

Convocatorio de trabajos: [url][/url]

Proposals forwarding: 01/12/2009 - 20/01/2010

Promoting Institutions:

  • GT Nacional Mundos do Trabalho - Working Group "Worlds of Labour" (ANPUH - Brazilian National History Association)
  • History Graduate Program - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • History Graduate Program - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • History Graduate Program - História da Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro
  • Projeto PROCAD - CAPES "Cruzando fronteiras".

The members of the GT Nacional Mundos do Trabalho - Working Group "Worlds of Labour" (ANPUH - Brazilian National History Association) invite scholars and researchers to submit paper proposals for their first International Seminar, to be held in Florianópolis, 2010, on the theme: "Labour Histories from the Global South".

The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers who are interested in a variety of issues involving the historical studies of labour in a global perspective.

The genesis of such a meeting in Florianópolis arose from the interactions with Indian and South African researchers, in international symposiums with similar objectives, which had taken place in these countries during the last few years. Our explicit intention here is to deepen such initial exchanges, widening them further with the collaboration and networking with other researchers from Latin America.

Keeping in mind that a limited and constraining nationalist framework--which had characterized a considearble proportion of the historiography of labour--has been largely unable to engage with the fundamental dimensions of the working class experiences-- such as its ethnic and cultural diversity, their displacements and the multiplicity of its experiences and identities. We therefore propose discussing the current challenges in the field of labour history from a transnational or global perspective as a general approach .

The emphasis on the connections and comparisons is also stressed from the realization that, in spite of the evident disparities, there are overlapping areas highlighting the distinctive place that the world of labour occupies in the societies of the so-called Global South - that is, in the post-colonial and "developing" countries, especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia. These regions show strong similarities in their contemporary labour experience. Apart from varying periods, forms and practices of the slave labour, compulsory or heavily exploited labour have characterized the trajectories of these societies during the processes of capitalism and the development of market society.

The classical themes and frameworks of labour history had been till recently formulated from the working class experience of the North. The recent attention attributed to the specificities of the worlds of labour from the Global South, opens the possibility of engaging with various new themes, such as the ambiguous boundaries that exist and define slave work and the so-called free-work, the multiple forms of compulsory work (including indigenous), domestic work, compulsory migration, as well as circulation and transnational sociability networks, cultural and ethnic diversity of workers and a fluidity between rural and urban. In addition to these themes, we are interested in issues that would enrich the analyses of the historians of work, such as the experience of the working class and their diversity, leisure, and their forms of association less directly related to the workplace (parties, recreational, dance and sport clubs, etc.) We further intend to focus on the intense traffic of such associations with organized political parties, the gendered relations as conflict and intra-class solidarities instruments of analysis; the associative culture and public powers; the diverse set-ups and the daily survival strategies (including the utilization of legal forms) adopted by workers in urban and rural settings.

Besides the South-South comparative perspective to highlight specificities of the Brazilian reality, the comprehension of global circulation of ideas, people and commodities is a move to transgress the national boundaries, revealing the complementary aspects of its inner working; on the one hand, of production, distribution and control processes, and on the other, the multiplicity of the experiences shared by the workers. Our aim, therefore, is to encourage proposals that discuss the world of labour in all its potential magnitude.

General objectives and expected results:

  • To promote collaboration amongst Brazil, Latin America, Africa and Asia Labour/Work Historians
  • To promote the development of comparative studies with the history of labour in Brazil as a reference for other countries of the so-called Global South
  • To rethink the agenda of the historical research of labour in Brazil in the light of the specific processes and connections that emerge from the global debate
  • To introduce new approaches and debates within the field of labour history and, more specifically, Brazilian and South-American historiography related to work
  • To propose the creation of a space to follow up international historiographical discussions through their regional unfolding, also contributing with this to build a more inclusive notion of work and working class

Works contemplating the following possible subjects will be welcomed:

  • Compulsory workers migrations, including traffic of women and workers in the contemporaneity
  • Work and diasporas in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Slave labour, indigenous labour and coercive labour in the Americas, Africa and Asia
  • Labour and the multiple meanings of ethnic and racial identities
  • Labour History in "post-emancipation" societies
  • Race, gender and nation in labour history
  • Prostitution, infant labour and domestic labour
  • Informal and precarised labour
  • Labour market and migrations
  • Immigration and politics in the formation of national identities
  • Labour, colonialism and post-colonialism
  • Political ideologies and social movements
  • Political actions and organizations
  • Anarchism, communism, socialism, syndicalism and internationalism
  • Diversity of workers associative logic
  • Labourig classes and their relations to the State and Political Institutions
  • Labour legislation in comparative perspective
  • Work and militarization
  • Work and the environment
  • Work places, forms and processes
  • Class cultures
  • Workers biographies and trajectories
  • Workers in the arts and in the media
  • Sociability and politics networks
  • Conflicts, solidarities and rivalries amongst workers
  • Diversity and fluidity of countryside/city relationships in the labour world configuration
  • The concept of working class in the light of new discussions about the Global South

We will accept proposals dealing with specific aspects of the above mentioned areas, both in the locall as well as in the global comparative framework. Proposals about correlated subjects will be equally analyzed. The presentations can be in the official languages of the event: Portuguese, Spanish and English.

Partial or full sponsoring for foreign speakers unable to meet their travel and stay expenses in Brazil will be requested to the event sponsoring agents. Proposals selected by the scientific committee might obtain such sponsoring. Therefore the symposium organizers strongly advise the submission of papers coming from universities and research institutions from other Latin American countries as well as India and African countries. Speakers of scientific institutions from the Northern Hemisphere will not be sponsored, but are equally welcome to present their proposals. The organization of the event will support the international participants in their requests for sponsoring to their respective sponsoring agencies and institutions.

Papers from any proponents that have conducted research on the wide subjects contemplated on the event will be considered.

Due to limitations of space and time, the acceptance of papers will be conditioned to the evaluation by the event's scientific committee, which will select the papers to be presented.
Obs.: The presentation of the complete text will be, to all participants, the final condition for the inclusion of papers previously accepted during the event scheduling.

Important dates:
Proposals forwarding: 01/12/2009 - 20/01/2010
Replies: 31/01/2010
Final deadline for sending papers in: 15/05/2010
Confirmation of the final presentation schedule: 20/05/2010

Proposals formating:
The proposals must be sent by email to the event organizers and must include an abstract of up to 300 words, containing title and name of author, as well as a brief résumé of the proponents' CV.

Proposals should be sent to:

Texts formating:
Digital (Word compatible), Times New Roman 12, 1½ spacing, 2,5 cm margins, 12-20 pages long.Presentations formating: The texts will be displayed on the event's web Page; presentations will be 15 minutes long, followed by commentary of the readers chosen by the organizing commission.