Militarism and Capitalism: The Work and Wages of Violence (Call for Proposals)

Thomas Harbison's picture
Call for Papers
June 1, 2017
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, Military History, Social History / Studies, World History / Studies

Militarism and Capitalism: The Work and Wages of Violence
Issue number 133 (January 2019)
Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2017
Issue editors: Simeon Man, Naomi Paik, Melina Pappademos

The Radical History Review calls for submissions that examine the intersections of militarism and capitalism. We seek work from a range of disciplines that think historically about the co-constitution of the use of military infrastructure, labor, and violence and of capital’s emergence and ever-expanding need for growth. We approach militarism not only as the deployment of state-based military forces to wage formally declared wars, but more broadly as the systematic production of state and extra-state militarized violence that is tied to the establishment and expansion of markets. We seek to understand this convergence over time, as situated in the histories of capitalism. How has military violence enabled the workings and expansion of capital? How is militarism posited as a solution to capitalist crises?  How has capitalism made military violence a robust, profitable industry that has been crucial to state formation and offered investors a strong growth market?

This special issue broadens the frame of analysis beyond seemingly exceptional states of warfare to consider militarism as a force that produces social relations and permeates everyday life, often in obscured or unremarkable ways, in part through its convergence with capitalism.  Who are the workers and soldiers who get mobilized for war, and how are their lives and labor valued? How has the convergence of militarism and capitalism reshaped social relations in daily life and modes of resistance among workers, occupied citizens, insurgents, cartels, and other state and non-state actors? How has this convergence worked to differentiate these actors according to race, gender, nation, class, and empire? In turn, how does this convergence exploit such differences? What is the role of the state and of international organizations in mediating, facilitating, or obstructing the relationship between militarism and capitalism? How have particular infrastructure and spaces (camptowns, PX, bases) enabled and elided the violence of this relationship?

Topics may include:

  • Pre- or proto-capitalist deployments of militarized violence to secure territory, labor, or markets. Opening and protecting markets and/or resources via military violence across periods of capitalism.
  • Gunboat diplomacy
  • Postcolonial development, colonial modernity, and settler colonialism
  • Militarism and labor (explicitly militarized labor, formal and informal economies tied to militarism, reproductive labor, sex work, affective labor, migrant labor, equipment manufacturing, training facilities, tech support)
  • Spatial relations of militarism and capitalism (transportation, built environments, environmental issues, legally ambiguous spaces)
  • Law, legal regulations, and transnational organizations
  • The rise of the corporate form and its entry into militarism as a market. The marketing of militarism as a cultural form.
  • Militarism and borders
  • Intra-national and urban low-intensity warfare (as market for surplus military equipment, munitions, labor; as securing or obstructing capitalist growth)
  • Black markets of war. Black markets combatted by militarism.
  • Military humanitarianism and disaster capitalism

Procedures for submission of articles: by June 1, 2017, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to write as an attachment to with “Issue 133 Abstract Submission” in the subject line. Authors will then be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for full-length article submissions will be November 1, 2017. Full articles should be submitted electronically with “Issue 133 Submission” in the subject line. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files (jpg or TIFF files at a minimum of 300 dpi) and secure permission to reprint all images. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 133 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in January 2019.

Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2017

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