The HOTCUS 2024 Winter Symposium is scheduled to take place on February 16, 2024 at University College London’s Institute of the Americas. The theme of this year’s symposium is The Uses and Abuses of ‘Neoliberalism’ in Modern US History. Scholars interested in attending can consult the Call for Papers below, but please note the deadline for submitting proposals is Monday 4 December 2023.

The uses and abuses of ‘neoliberalism’ in modern US history

HOTCUS Winter Symposium, February 16, 2024
University College London

Call for Papers

Popularized by scholars in other disciplines, notably David Harvey and Wendy Brown, the term neoliberalism garnered serious attention from historians comparatively recently. But now it is commonplace to use it as conceptual shorthand for a range of topics, processes, developments, and arguments in US history of the past half century at least. Scholars such as Gary Gerstle have used the term to describe a dominant political order that dominated American politics and political economy between the end of the Cold War and the financial crises of the early twenty-first century.  Yet the usefulness of neoliberalism to explain historical developments remains a point of debate. These points of contention can be about chronology and periodization; the extent to which it encompasses society and culture as well as politics and the economy; and indeed whether the term has much explanatory value at all.

We invite expressions of interest to give short 7-10-minute presentations on any aspect of ‘neoliberalism’ as a concept in modern US history. These should be framed not as traditional “papers” but as interventions in the historiographical debate about neoliberalism. Are you working on a project for which you find it valuable and an important part of your argument? Do you have reflections on the historiographical context to a neoliberal framing? Is there a key text that should form the central focus of historians’ understanding? Has the term become so ubiquitous it has lost all useful meaning? We welcome paper proposals that will address the conceptual and historical puzzle posed by ‘neoliberalism’ for historians of twentieth and twenty-first century America.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 4 December, 2023. 

Interested presenters should submit a 300 word summary of their proposed contribution to [email protected], detailing the paper’s coverage, argument, and contribution to the wider conference themes. Please also include a brief CV and contact information. We also welcome proposals for panels or sessions, provided they meet HOTCUS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion (see note below). For panel proposals, please include a brief CV and contact information for all participants. 

Please direct any questions to the symposium organiser Prof. Jonathan Bell ([email protected]), or the HOTCUS Events Secretary, Dr. Megan Hunt ([email protected])

HOTCUS is dedicated to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will give preference to papers and panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and institutional affiliation. When developing panels, we will also give preference to panels that include a mix of participants from across the career spectrum (i.e., from postgraduate to professor). Historically women have been disproportionately underrepresented at HOTCUS, and the committee is taking positive action, as permitted under s.158 Equality Act 2010, to enable and encourage the participation of women. HOTCUS may constitute an all-male panel or other presentation where absolutely necessary (but any such consideration will be other than via the call for papers procedure).