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[xmca] Conference of interest

I think the argument contained in the description of the Critical
Historical Studies Conference (see below) is an interesting one to
grapple with here in these parts (i.e. XMCA) - namely, whether or not
CHAT is up to the task of "grasping large scale social
transformations" or whether we are caught in "idealist" tendencies.
Seems like a lot of what the chat on CHAT has been wondering about
lately, but it's not clear that we've gotten anywhere,
methodologically speaking.
Details on the conference are below just in case anyone from XMCA is
in Chicago this weekend.


Critical Historical Studies
December 2-4, 2011
in The Franke Institute Institute for the Humanities | 1100 E. 57th Street
(refreshments will be available)

Building on the insights garnered from our 2010 Global Crisis:
Rethinking Economy and Society conference, Critical Historical Studies
is an attempt by current and former members of the University of
Chicago?s Social Theory Workshop to confront what we see as a looming
methodological crisis in the social sciences. We note that the
predominantly cultural approaches to social life that have been in
vogue in the historical social sciences in recent decades have proven
incapable of grasping the large-scale transformations that social life
has repeatedly undergone in the modern era ? not least the economic
and political crisis touched off in 2008. Discussions in the Social
Theory Workshop have, over the years, developed the contours of an
approach that strives to overcome both the idealistic tendencies of
cultural historical studies and the opposite deterministic and
reductionist propensities of social historical studies. This general
approach carries on the tradition of critical theory and provides a
supra-disciplinary perspective that grasps social and cultural
questions as historically constituted. By bringing together over
thirty scholars from a variety of fields, but with a common commitment
to combining empirical research and theoretical insight, the
conference aims to facilitate a methodologically-oriented exchange
with agenda-setting goals.
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