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Conference: uneven and combined development

5 September 2019 at 5:30 pm7 September 2019 at 6:30 pm

£11.37 – £27.54

Uneven and combined development for the 21st century: a conference

As recently as the early 1990s, anyone predicting that Trotsky’s ‘law’ of uneven and combined development (UCD) would soon become a key theoretical reference point across several academic disciplines would have been treated with a great deal of scepticism. Yet, less than three decades later, UCD is regularly deployed in the fields of international relations, historical sociology, political economy, social geography and–perhaps most surprisingly–world literature. Not since the vogue for Gramsci’s notion of hegemony in the 1970s and 1980s has a concept from the classical Marxist tradition enjoyed such widespread academic diffusion.

Controversies have of course abounded: adherents have disagreed over whether UCD is a trans-historic or trans-modal process, or whether it is one which can only be found in the era of industrial capitalism; critics have alleged that UCD is simply a more sophisticated form of Eurocentrism; Trotskyist activists have complained–with some justification–that UCD has been detached from the political context in which it was first deployed. Yet, in spite of the rapidly multiplying literature, there has not been an international event bringing together representatives from all the relevant areas of scholarship to engage in inter-disciplinary discussion.

This conference will finally provide such an opportunity. The event has been organised by members of the University of Glasgow’s Socialist Theory and Movements Research Network–Neil Davidson (School of Social and Political Sciences), David Featherstone (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences) and Vassiliki Kolocotroni (School of Critical Studies)–in association with Historical Materialism (HM). Although its main focus will be on UCD, it will also involve discussion of two important related topics, the earlier theory of uneven development and the strategy of permanent revolution, the conditions for which UCD was of course originally intended to explain.

The conference will feature over 50 speakers from every continent, with 18 panels, 3 keynote addresses and concluding reflections. Subjects range from the contemporary relevance of permanent revolution to the impact of UCD on the emergence of literary Modernism. In particular, the second full day (Saturday 7th September) will be mainly devoted to case studies of the experience of UCD – the majority from across the Global South, but also in metropolitan heartlands of global capitalism, including Scotland itself.


5 September 2019 at 5:30 pm
7 September 2019 at 6:30 pm
£11.37 – £27.54
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Glasgow, United Kingdom


University of Glasgow’s socialist theory and movements research network
Historical Materialism

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