On the Fringes of the Revolution – Marginalization and Emancipation in the Global Cycle of Revolutions 1917 – 1923

Call for papers for a special issue of “Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte” (Labour – Movement – History).

Revolutions are shaped decisively by large sections of the population, grass-roots movements and spontaneous actions. Revolutions were times of social experiments and fresh beginnings, in which marginalized and suppressed groups also demanded and fought for their rights. From the end of the 19th century, a battle cry rose for equality, for the end of autocracy and elitist rule. But the marginalized groups of the Ancien Régime were often in themselves a majority that suppressed others: Male workers dominated their female counterparts; old-established sections of the population exercised control over immigrants as did the intellectual counter-elite over the masses who were “to be liberated”.

Therefore, the relationship between majority and minority, between domination and freedom in the revolutions between 1917 and 1923 was as  decisive as it was complex. Instead of being a linear progress, the events seem to substantiate Frederick Engels’ dictum:  “What emerges is something that no one willed.”
Approaching this centenary it is thus worth turning the focus on inner contradictions, abortive starts and unfulfilled promises of the global cycle of revolution 1917 – 1923. What role did marginalized groups play? Who were they, what goals did they pursue and by what means? What did the alliances look like? How was the relation between universalism and particular interests discussed and practically pursued? Was there any space at all for particulars in revolutions that aimed for the universal liberation of humanity? The central question is: In which way have groups been marginalized – not only within the revolutions, but also in their commemoration and aftermath?

We are interested in diverse social groups: unemployed persons, national minorities, farm labourers, unskilled workers, young people and women as well as those in excluded political movements like council communists, anarchists, the Soviet Russian Workers’ Opposition and other “dissenters”. Also theoretical currents and societal concepts the likes of the Lebensreform movement, feminism or artistic avant-gardes are to be included in this field. Questions concerning the marginalized revolutionaries’ specific strategies and practices are also highly worthy of examination: What forms of actions and communication did they choose? What was their potential for mobilization – and where were their limits?

For the centenary of the Russian Revolution in 2017 we would like to dedicate a special issue of Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte on these topics in September 2017. Methodically, it will bring together differing historical approaches such as political and social history, gender studies, local and global history and concepts of Alltagsgeschichte i.e. the “study of everyday history” or “people’s history”.  In addition to contributions about the revolutions in Russia and Germany, articles dealing with other countries are clearly welcome, as are comparative studies on supra-regional or international levels.

Please send us a brief abstract (300 words max.) outlining your concept before 31 May 2016. The completed article consisting of 6.000 words max. must be submitted by 31 January 2017. Reviews of recent publications on thematically related topics are also welcome. The editorial staff may ask for corresponding titles. While articles can be submitted in German or in English, the published article will be in German. Translations from languages other than German or English may be arranged for upon request. We are happy to send you a detailed style sheet concerning publication in Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte.

For any queries and to submit your abstracts and articles, please e-mail us:

cfp [at] arbeiterbewegung-jahrbuch.de

About us:

Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte.  Zeitschrift für historische Studien  (Labor – Movement – History. Journal for Historical Studies) is a Berlin-based academic journal published three times a year in German. Initially established in 2002 as Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung (Yearbook on Labor History) it was renamed in 2015. Its main focus is the history of German and international labor movements, labor history, working class cultures and milieus and the history of organizations and ideas of social movements

This call as pdf-file: CfP ABG Revolutions