Social Science History Association Location: California, United States Call for Papers Date: 2009-02-01

34th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association Long Beach, California, 12-15 November 2009 Submission deadline: 1 February 2009 “Agency and Action”

The 2009 Program Committee seeks panel proposals that will focus on questions related to Agency and Action. Agency — the capacity to act — is a concept central to everyday life and many academic disciplines. But quite different ideas of actors and agency abound. Constructivists celebrate agents as the autonomous springs of action. Utilitarians focus on agents as both foundational units of social structure and evasive delegates in need of monitoring. What are we to make of the relationship between these camps, each in its own way faithful to the idea of the unified social actor operating within external constraints, and others’ ideas of subjects as internally riven and constituted by social, biological or discursive structures?

Turn the problem around, then, and foreground historical formations of agency, including social movements and the ‘depersonalized edifices’ of firms, states, families, networks, associations, schools, churches, and other forms of organized social order in whose name people act. How these edifices emerge, are designed, built, demolished and rebuilt, in continual processes of change: this is the flip side of the agency question.

As social science historians and historical social scientists, we hail from many traditions and disciplines. But we share common ground in the weight we assign to thinking historically about agency and action. In exploring the connections between agency and history, can we deploy our differences to advantage? How might our collective intellectual resources help each of us rethink our own and others’ work? More broadly still, what do the streams of social science history imply for understanding action in today’s world, and for the historical social science of the future? Let’s embark.

Proposals for individual papers and complete sessions will be accepted at Paper and panel proposals for the urban network should include title, abstract, and contact information (address, phone number, and email) for each author. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2009. Papers and Panels on themes not related to the “Agency and Action” theme are also welcome. SSHA will continue its
 generous support of graduate student travel, with the exciting addition of the Charles and Louise Tilly Fund, which will provide travel grants and, funds permitting, graduate student support for interdisciplinary research. Julian C. Chambliss Assistant Professor Department of History Rollins College 1000 Holt Avenue-2762 Winter Park, FL 32789 Co-Chair, Urban Network, Social Science History Association Board Member, Society for City and Regional Planning History Coordinator, Africa and African-American Studies Program

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