CALL FOR PAPERS: The Global E. P. Thompson


The Global E. P. Thompson:

Reflections on the Making of the English Working Class after Fifty Years 

October, 3rd – 5th, 2013 

Paper Proposals are due May 15th, 2013

Fifty years ago E. P. Thompson published The Making of the English Working Class, one of the most influential social history works ever. Its approach to the history of common people, its arguments and its methods came to influence several generations of historians and others all over the world. To trace Thompson’s influences, and with it the larger story of the varied approaches to social history that have come out of them, the Program on the History of Capitalism and the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University seek to initiate a global conversation among researchers across the humanities and social sciences to reflect critically on Thompson's impact on the writing of history and his enduring significance for future research. 

At a time of global economic crises, as scholarship returns to themes of class, inequality and political economy with renewed interest, urgency, and moral purpose, the fiftieth anniversary of the Making of the English Working Class offers a welcome opportunity to both critically reflect on Thompson's scholarship and consider the ways in which his ideas, methods and commitments can still inspire intellectual frameworks and research programs that speak to present global problems.

The conference, to be held at Harvard University from 3rd-5th of October, 2013 invites critical engagement with Thompson's legacy. The Making has been at the center of many controversies in the writing of social, political, cultural, and labor history over the past decades, and we welcome papers that trace these debates. We are also interested in papers tracing Thompson’s influence in various fields of history, and in various parts of the world. Moreover, we are seeking contributors who address issues such as 

  • Translating E. P. Thompson: English Idioms and Traditions in Global Context
  • Class Formation: An Important Category of Analysis in History? 
  • Moral Economies and Political Economy: Culture, Economy and Politics
  • Spatially Situating Social Processes: Communities, Regions, Nations, World-Systems

We are committed to making this a global conversation. With translations of the Making into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, French and German, Thompson’s work has had a global audience. Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American scholars are especially encouraged to apply. 

Finally, we encourage graduate students to submit paper proposals. We hope to provoke an inter-generational dialogue, involving established scholars who have long drawn inspiration from Thompson's work as well as aspiring practitioners starting their academic careers.

Please submit paper abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with a CV, to Jessica Barnard at the email address: with the subject line “E. P. Thompson 2013”

Paper Proposals are due May 15th, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: Proposals and papers must be written in English. 

We will notify applicants in June, 2013. If accepted, we will ask you for a draft paper by September 1st. We will cover all (economy class) travel costs, accommodation and meals.


  • Rudi Batzell, PhD Candidate, History, Harvard University
  • Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History, Harvard University
  • Andrew Gordon, Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Gabriel Winant, PhD Candidate, History, Yale University