|dc.description||Historical Materialism is one of the newest entries into the scholarly conference circuit in Canada, but has established itself as an important one, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It is part of a network of conferences, including an annual one in Britain and a bi-annual one in the United States, organized by the editors of the Historical Materialism journal. The journal now has an ongoing collaborative relationship for book publishing with the Netherlands-based Brill, a highly-respected academic publisher, in business since 1683.
This May, Historical Materialism Toronto held its third conference, and I had the opportunity to organize one of the sessions (as well as speaking on a panel in a second session). The session I organized was entitled “Debt, displacement and dispossession in the 21st century”. In the 1980s, Latin America was the epicentre of sovereign debt crises. Today, the focus is on Europe, the very core of “old capitalism.” The panel linked these two spaces and outlined critical issues posed for theories of debt and money. The first paper, presented by Dr. Susanne Soederberg of Queen’s University, was focused on Latin America, and analyzed Mexico’s “debtfare state”, and its ties to global capitalism. The second paper, presented by Jesse Hembruff, a doctoral student at Queen’s University, focused on Greece, one of Europe’s weakest economies and on the front lines of the current EU sovereign debt crisis. The third paper – the one I presented – deployed David Harvey’s concept of the ‘spatial fix, through a focus on Germany, one of Europe’s strongest economies.
Conferences are an indispensable tool in the development of academic research. The research in my paper was first stimulated by an invitation from Ideas Left Out to speak in Toronto in January of this year, on the topic “Eurozone from Greece to Germany – Explaining the Crisis.” This then led to a panel at the 2012 Research Forum in April in Athabasca, “Histories of Capitalism: Critical Perspectives.” Through each of these iterations of the research, feedback and comments from the participants has proven very fruitful.||en
|dc.description.abstract||From the standpoint of capitalism in Germany, the European Union and the Eurozone are but the two most recent stations on the long pilgrimage to find a spatial fix, attempts to alleviate the perennial problem of a nationally-based centre of capital accumulation, bursting the bounds of its home market, but without easy access to overseas empire. But these “spatial fixes” – from Bismarckian imperialism on – have occurred undemocratically, have fostered chauvinism and racism, and have remained trapped in the fetishized forms which are the curse of private-property. All of these superstructural impediments have become prisons, holding back social development in Germany and throughout Europe. This paper will develop these themes through a survey of three distinct “moments” in the search for a spatial fix to the contradictions inherent in German and European capitalism..||en