Rethinking International Communism: History and Legacies

Call for Papers: Rethinking the Communist International: History and Legacies

Friday 2 - Saturday 3 September 2022

Venue: Student Life Building, Copperas Hill, Liverpool L3 5GE

Call for Paper deadline 6 May

The AHRC-funded research network Rethinking International Communism aims to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds who are engaged in the study of international communism and the Communist International (Comintern) between the world wars. Taking stock of recent trends in the literature, and examining new research agendas, the network provides a forum to reflect upon the past, the present and the future of Comintern studies.

This two-day conference in Liverpool invites participants to contribute to this reassessment of the history and legacies of the Comintern. We welcome papers of 20 minute duration which explore any aspect of Comintern history, and/or which address the legacies of the Communist International in the post-1945 era.

The conference keynote address will be delivered by Professor Brigitte Studer, professor emerita, Institute of History, University of Bern.

While for many years the history of the Comintern tended to trace a familiar path, with discussion dominated by the ‘centre-periphery’ debate, in more recent times scholarly attention has been increasingly drawn to new problems, informed by new approaches and methodologies. Pathbreaking work has been undertaken in the fields of anti-colonialism and anti-racism, and into the efforts of various Comintern organisations, and individuals, to construct a new international proletarian culture as a necessary step towards global revolution. Researchers too have continued to transform our understanding of the language, symbolism and practices of internationalism within national communist movements and parties. Increasingly, the old paradigms for making sense of the Comintern are proving inadequate. Bringing together a range of scholars across disciplinary boundaries, this conference aims to provide a step toward a new global reassessment of international communism.

Despite the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, communist internationalism did not, of course, cease. Yet, the Comintern’s disciplined organisational model, and its ‘script for revolution’, appear to have been rapidly jettisoned by those seeking to effect radical political and social change. However, in this field too, scholars have increasingly emphasised important continuities. In contrast to the historical curiosity to which it has long been relegated, researchers have in recent years opened up new paths for understanding both the short and longer term legacies of the Communist International. This has notably been the case in the study of various specific political, social, cultural and aesthetic campaigns and movements in the post-1945 era which, at least in part, owed their existence to Comintern organisations and activists.

300 word abstracts, together with a brief 1 page CV, should be submitted to by the deadline of Friday 20 May 2022. Successful applicants will be informed soon thereafter.

We particularly welcome submissions from PGR and early-career researchers. A number of bursaries will be available to support PGR and ECR attendance. Please indicate your wish to be considered for such support when submitting your title and abstract.

Questions and queries can be addressed to the conference organisers, Dr Thomas Beaumont (Liverpool John Moores University) and Dr Tim Rees (University of Exeter) via the conference email address: