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"Global Labor History and the Question of Freedom and Unfreedom"


Call for Papers: “Global Labor History and the Question of Freedom and Unfreedom”
To be held in Berlin, December 14-16, 2006

The conference is funded by the State of Berlin Senate’s Office for Science, Research,
and Culture and will be realized by the joint cooperation between the
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung
Berlin (WZB) under the direction of Professor Jürgen Kocka (WZB) and Professor
Andreas Eckert (Universität Hamburg).

After two conferences in 2005 and 2006 focused on the concept of global labor
history in general and on global labor and the nation state respectively, this follow-up
conference will examine the field of free/unfree labor from multiple transregional and
transcultural perspectives. Again, the conference aims at bringing together younger
and senior scholars who relate their work to the field of global labor history.

One of the main tasks of global labor history is to concern itself with informal and
unfree labor, since gainful employment and wage labor in the global context is
increasingly less important. Child, women, and casual labor now determine the
international work market. For example, workers in the field of ship breaking, mine
work, and weaving, are far removed from any "Homo Oeconomicus.” Their work
does not find any adequate category in the approaches circulating today – even though
unfree laborers, too, are political players who position themselves in their respective

The concept of unfree labor is based on the idea of immobility and personal
dependence which limit the freedom of the individual. This principle establishes itself
even in western urban centers in that wage labor and gainful employment change and
people bond when there is a limitation of the property rights in a situation of

In this regard, the study of supranational regulations or multi-national guidelines on
the global market, which influence the political economic development and point out
the importance of human rights and anti-discrimination laws in the field of global
labor history, are likewise important topics to discuss.

We particularly welcome proposals with a historical focus and an emphasis placed on
the interaction between non-European societies, Europe, and the United States, as
well as on the interaction between non-European societies. With regard to methodical
approaches, local studies, comparisons, and the study of interconnectivities/entanglements should be prioritized.

Candidates should work in the disciplines of history, anthropology, law, sociology,
political sciences, as well as area studies. Applicants should be at the doctoral or
postdoctoral level. Ph.D. holders should have received their doctorate in the last five
years. Proposed projects should employ a historical as well as a transregional

Travel expenses and costs incurred during the stay in Berlin will be covered.

Application procedure:
To apply, please send the following documents in English:
1. A curriculum vitae
2. A brief statement of up to 500 words about current research relevant to the
conference’s theme
3. The names and addresses (incl. e-mail) of two referees

Application deadline: September 17, 2006

Candidates will be informed presumably by the end of September whether they have
been accepted. Participants will be asked to submit the full paper (10,000 words) in
English by November 1 to be distributed to the other participants. The detailed
program will be announced in mid-October.

Please send your application, preferably via email, to:
Dr. Felicitas Hentschke
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Wallotstraße 19
14193 Berlin, Germany
urther Information: Web Page of the Conference

Към новина: 04/09/2006 "Global Labor History and the Question of Freedom and Unfreedom"

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