CFP: Workers and Obsolescence (Special Issue of International Labor and Working Class History)

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Call for Papers
January 5, 2021
Subject Fields: 
World History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Oral History, Labor History / Studies, Contemporary History

Workers and Obsolescence

A Special Issue of International Labor and Working-Class History

Lori A. Flores and Aaron Benanav, editors


Call for Papers

The International Labor and Working-Class History (ILWCH) Journal is soliciting articles for a special thematic issue on “Workers and Obsolescence.” This issue will explore how different groups of workers, across eras and geographical spaces, have either participated in bringing about their own obsolescence or have actively resisted it. Examples could include agricultural laborers, seamstresses, longshoremen, typesetters, typists, assembly-line workers, telephone switch-board operators, IT and call-center workers, fast food workers, retail workers, and informal hawkers and traders, as well as artisans of all kinds. The issue aims to tackle debates regarding automation and the digital/virtual realms, the future of employment, and workers’ flexibility and resilience.


The co-editors are actively looking to represent a wide range of historical periods and places, and thus encourage manuscripts focusing on older and newer worker communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Canada, the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe. Along with conventional 8,000-12,000-word manuscript submissions (including footnotes), this issue will also consider shorter photoessays, transcribed interviews with workers and/or employers, and notes from the field.


Prospective authors should send an abstract of 500-1,000 words, along with their email and institutional or work affiliation, to the co-editors by January 5, 2021. If invited to submit a full piece for peer review, the deadline for a completed first draft will be June 15, 2021. The issue is scheduled for publication in Fall 2022.


All queries and submissions should indicate that they are for the “Workers and Obsolescence” special issue and sent to: 

Lori A. Flores, Department of History, Stony Brook University ( and

Aaron Benanav, Humboldt University of Berlin (

Contact Email: