ILWCH Special Issue on "Labor in Southeast Asia"

Ulbe Bosma's picture
September 1, 2017
United States
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies, Social History / Studies

ILWCH Special Issue on “Labor in Southeast Asia”: call for abstracts

International Labor and Working Class History (ILWCH) has an international reputation for scholarly innovation and quality. It explores diverse topics from globalization and workers’ rights to class and consumption, labor movements, class identities and cultures, unions, and working-class politics. ILWCH publishes original research, review essays, conference reports from around the world, and an acclaimed scholarly controversy section. Comparative and cross-disciplinary, the journal is of interest to scholars in history, sociology, political science, labor studies, global studies, and a wide range of other fields and disciplines.

The aim of the special issue “Labor in Southeast Asia” is to present a comparative and regional perspective on the labor histories of the region. In the nineteenth century, this part of the world became integrated into the global economy as a commodity producing periphery, which shaped many common experiences.

We are specifically looking for papers that deal with (1) plantations, (2) infrastructure or (3) textiles, sectors that have played a singular role in integrating the region into the global economy. They are also sectors that have articulated the role of the state and exposed the contentious position of labor and labor activism. The nineteenth century saw rapidly expanding plantation economies with their supporting infrastructure (railroads, ports and so on). These sectors were of strategic importance to colonial rule. During the decolonization process much was expected from the states in this region to guide their nations towards industrialization. It is with this in mind that we propose the third theme of textile industries.

Papers are invited that explicitly address questions pertaining to labor movements, civil society and colonial and postcolonial authoritarianism. We welcome papers on French Indo-China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, both by authors from the region as well as from other parts of the world. We are encouraging proposals for papers that are guided by a comparative approach and are based upon original research.

Prospective authors should send, by September 1, 2017, a brief cover letter (including address, e-mail details, and institutional affiliation), a two page CV, and an abstract not exceeding 500 words. Depending on the outcome of the editorial review of the abstracts, full manuscripts (not exceeding 8,000 words) will be invited for peer review.

The deadline for the submission of first drafts of full manuscripts will be May 31, 2018. The papers are to published in Issue 95, which is in Spring 2019.


All correspondence should be addressed to:


Ulbe Bosma, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam