Call for Papers: Columbia University History Department

The Columbia University History Department has circulated a call for papers with the theme of Labor Past & Present: Bringing History and Activism Together. The conference will run on February 2, 2024, and abstracts are due by October 27, 2023. More info can be found below:


Labor Past & Present: Bringing History and Activism Together

February 2, 2024 | 9 am – 6 pm | Columbia University

The Columbia University (CU) History Department invites all graduate students and
postdoctoral fellows to participate in the conference Labor Past & Present: Bringing History and
Activism Together. This conference will run on February 2, 2024, at Columbia University and is
jointly funded by the Columbia University History Department, the Institute for Social and
Economic Research and Policy.

All abstracts are due by the end of day on October 27, 2023.

What value does history offer labor organizing today? How do contemporary labor movements
inform the study of history? And how does centering non-traditional labor and
underrepresented experiences in organizing and history help us better understand labor
struggle past and present?

Centering industries, workers, and people long marginalized by older history and older
organizing, this conference gathers labor organizers and academics to examine these questions
together, and contends that scholars and activists have much to learn from one another.
International labor movements, immigrant and migrant labor, women, people of color, and
non-traditional industries, such as cultural work and healthcare, are the focus of this conference.

We seek proposals that engage these questions and themes. Proposals may focus on any time
period and geographic area, and may draw from any discipline, including but not limited to
history, political science, social work, sociology, anthropology, diaspora studies, economics and
law. Abstracts for a 15-20 minute presentation should fit into at least one of the following

(1) Labor and Health (e.g., health justice, healthcare worker organizing, peer work);
(2) Labor and Cultural Work (e.g., athletes, artists, the “Creative Class”);
(3) Worker Internationalism, Migration, Immigration, and Labor;

Panels will comprise three papers—at least one of which must be more historical in nature and
at least one more focused on contemporary labor struggle and strategy. Applicants are
encouraged to submit papers of either type, or papers that bridge both. Please feel free to
submit papers individually or as a group if you feel one or more proposals are particularly
complementary. Please note that the organizing committee reserves the right to accept all
proposals individually, even if submitted as a group.


Please submit a 250-300 word abstract outlining the topic and approach of your work in PDF
format here by October 22, 2023.

Limited financial assistance will be available to support panelists’ travel and lodging expenses.

Please reach out to the conference organizers with any questions.

Organizers: Juliana DeVann (, Samuel Niu (,
Izzy Plowright (, and Anusha Sundar (

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