Call for Papers

Workshop: The German Revolution and the Radical Democratic Imaginary

The University of Exeter, 24 May 2018

Call for Papers

In the wake of the First World War, workers and soldiers across Europe organised into democratic councils in order to challenge existing social hierarchies and strive towards self-government and workers’ control over production. During the 1918 German Revolution, a number of institutions and practices were proposed from within the German council movements to create a more participatory, democratic and worker-controlled society. Although there was much disagreement over specific proposals, council delegates were strongly in favour of deepening and extending existing forms of democracy beyond the limits of the bourgeois liberal state. Yet a hundred years on and political theory has drawn little from the discourses and practices of this significant historical era. Our aim with this workshop is to rejuvenate interest in political theorists and actors of the German Revolution and to place them in dialogue with conversations in radical democratic theory. We pose the question of how these political experiences should be theorised and what significance they hold for political practices today.

The workshop will be an opportunity for scholars from a variety of disciplines to form ongoing research networks based on shared areas of interest. Through the workshop, we will organise a number of research groups in which scholars will be asked to pre-circulate papers and provide feedback to another member of their group. The idea of the conference is to cultivate a space for in-depth discussion and collaborative research. We are open to scholars engaging with the German Revolution from a variety of perspectives including council communism, libertarian socialism, anarcho-syndicalism and radical democracy, among others. Papers could also contribute to broader debates in political theory on questions of democracy, agency, representation and power. We welcome papers from both a theoretical and historical perspective and anticipate the conference to spark discussion between political theorists and historians.

A limited number of bursaries will be available for postgraduate students to cover the cost of transportation to the event. Please include with your abstract if you are a postgraduate student who would like to apply for such a bursary.

Deadline for submission of abstracts for conference papers (up to 300 words): 5PM, 26 January 2018. Send abstracts to

Workshop Date: 9:30AM- 6:00PM, 24 May 2018.

Organised by James Muldoon and Martin Moorby, University of Exeter