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394 - Transnational Anarchism in the Americas, 1870-1940

20.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30

Convener 1: Steven, Hirsch (University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg , Greensburg, PA, Ud States of Am / USA)
Convener 2: Shaffer, Kirwin (Penn State University - Berks College, Reading, PA, Ud States of Am / USA)

This symposium seeks to re-evaluate the influence and multiple meanings of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism in the Americas from a non-state-centered perspective. Too often historical analyses of anarchism in the Western Hemisphere have focused on a single nation-state and overlooked supranational, transregional, and subnational linkages, interactions, and processes. By ignoring networks as well as multidirectional and cross-border flows of ideas, activists, and resources at the transnational and subnational levels, conventional studies have distorted the geographic, spatial, relational, organizational and ideological-political character of anarchist movements. This symposium proposes to redress the elisions and misrepresentations in the literature.

Focusing on the period from 1870 to 1940, this symposium will analyze the influence of transnational anarchism in the Americas in the context of industrial capitalism, U.S. imperialism, centralizing national governments, nationalism, and competition with rival Leftist movements. In doing so, it aims to identify the political, economic, social, and cultural factors that inhibited or facilitated the spread of anarchism. It will also examine how and to what extent sub-national social movements and cultures interacted with and reformulated anarchist ideology, organization, and praxis to fit local and regional conditions and traditions.

Another salient issue this symposium will address is the discursive and cultural politics of transnational anarchism in the Americas. In particular, it will analyze the connections between anarchist discourse, symbolic practices, rituals, socio-cultural associations and the formation of countercultural movements. It will also explore how transnational anarchism engendered counter-hegemonic views pertaining to clericalism, capital, the state, nationalism, imperialism, gender, race, sexuality, and health.

Lastly, the two main objectives of this symposium are 1) to contribute new empirical histories on transnational anarchism in the Americas accounting for the movement’s rise and decline over time and space, and 2) to propose new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the role of local, regional, and transnational factors in formation of anarchist movements in the Western Hemisphere.

Keywords: transnationalism, anarchism, counterhegemony

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