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Boycott Calls Against Israel
Blurring the Lines between Scholarship and Activism: "The Politics of Boycotts" in the Journal Radical History Review

30.03.17

Editorial Note

The Radical History Review announced that its issue 134 of May 2019 would be devoted to the "politics of boycott," a code for BDS. 

This should come as no surprise. MARHO: The Radical Historians Organization which was established in 1973 and has 1,500 members, is the publisher of the journal. MARHO is affiliated the American Historical Association (AHA).  The MARHO statement of purpose is to "examine important new scholarship, and analyses of the uses and abuses of history in the popular media, history museums, and other public forums".

The journal Radical History Review, is published by Duke University Press. According to the editors, it publishes "the best Marxist and non-Marxist radical scholarship in jargon- free English". It aims to scrutinize "conventional history, stimulate theoretical discussion and political analysis, encourage controversy over current historical questions and suggest new ways of teaching history."

Natalie Rothman and Andrew Zimmerman are the host editors of "Politics of Boycotts;" Rothman is from University of Toronto, history department, and Zimmerman is a professor of history at the George Washington University.  Both are veteran supporters of BDS. 

Rothman has signed the call "900 US, other Academians call for divestment and pressure against Israeli apartheid" in 2009 and also the petition "Students Against Israeli Apartheid at the University of Toronto and York University Launch Campus Divestment Campaign" in 2011.

Zimmerman signed the "International Scholars' Statement on Gaza" in 2014. He chaired a session on “Historical Perspectives on Boycott Campaigns: California, South Africa, Palestine” at the American Historical Association (AHA) annual meeting in 2016.  According to the description, this AHA session "seeks to contribute historical depth and comparative breadth to recent discussions around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestine by focusing on the history of boycotts. This panel will explore the different genealogies of boycotts as political practice. By contextualizing diverse boycott campaigns -- from the United Farm Workers' Delano Grape Strike in California in the 1960s, through the Academic Boycott of South Africa, to the current Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement initiated by Palestinian civil society organizations -- panelists will consider the unique forms of transnational activism and scholarship such campaigns have engendered in North America and around the world. By situating the current BDS campaign in support of Palestine in relation to past boycott campaigns, we can ask questions about how effective different political boycotts have been, what obstacles they have faced, as well as what forms of solidarity and geopolitical visions they have helped articulate."

To recall, a proposed resolution in favor of boycott was defeated at the AHA Annual Meeting on January 11, 2016: "Those in favor of the resolution claimed that, since the AHA was committed to protecting academic freedom, it should take a clear stand regarding Israeli restrictions on student and faculty activities in the Occupied Territories." 

 In a sense, the forthcoming issue is continuation of the discourse in the AHA dressed up in academic garb.  In spite of the self-proclaimed aim of the journal to use plain English, the call for papers is full of neo-Marxist, critical scholarship verbiage. The issue promises to contribute to the "historical depth and comparative breadth" to the discussions around the BDS campaign "in support of Palestine", intending "to create a broad basis for historical and strategic discussion by exploring a variety of spatio-temporal scales of political action opened up by boycott campaigns, from visions of global solidarity to hyper localized social movements, and from the strategic deployment of historical comparisons to claims of singularity."

While they "recognize that not all boycotts are progressive", they "welcome studies that challenge conventional ideas of what a boycott is."  The issue editors seek to put the Palestinian case on the same ontological plane as the "campaign during the Irish Land War, the abolitionist boycott of sugar, the non-cooperation movement in colonial India, the anti-Nazi boycott, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the international cultural and academic boycott of Apartheid South Africa." For this, they "seek studies that would be useful to activists as well as theoretical or comparative reflections on the present and future of boycotts as a form of nonviolent political action."

Hidden inside all this jargon is one clear message: The BDS should be considered an act against oppression on par with the boycott of the apartheid South Africa, the anti-Nazi boycott, the fight of the abolition against slavery and segregation in the United States and other egregious acts of suppression.



https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/171220/politics-boycotts-call-proposals

H-Announce

The Politics of Boycotts (Call for Proposals)

Thomas Harbison's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
The Politics of Boycotts
Issue number 134 (May 2019)
Abstract Deadline: September 1, 2017
Issue editors: E. Natalie Rothman and Andrew Zimmerman
This issue of the Radical History Review seeks to contribute historical depth and comparative breadth to recent discussions around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestine. Our aim is to create a broad basis for historical and strategic discussion by exploring a variety of spatio-temporal scales of political action opened up by boycott campaigns, from visions of global solidarity to hyper localized social movements, and from the strategic deployment of historical comparisons to claims of singularity. We recognize that not all boycotts are progressive, and that as a tactic they have been used by different groups for a variety of political ends. We therefore welcome studies that challenge conventional ideas of what a boycott is as well as historical case studies of boycott campaigns from around the globe such as the eponymous campaign during the Irish Land War, the abolitionist boycott of sugar, the non-cooperation movement in colonial India, the anti-Nazi boycott, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the international cultural and academic boycott of Apartheid South Africa. We seek studies that would be useful to activists as well as theoretical or comparative reflections on the present and future of boycotts as a form of nonviolent political action.
Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • The history of specific boycott campaigns and their varied local articulations, including boycott organizing before the twentieth century
  • The forms of solidarity and geopolitical visions generated by boycott campaigns
  • The entangled relationship between boycotts and other political strategies
  • Transnational dimensions of boycott organizing and solidarity work
  • Social dynamics between organizers/activists, unions, political parties, and the perceived beneficiaries of specific boycott campaigns
  • The “afterlives” of boycotted commodities, companies, and institutions in the wake of successful campaigns
  • The role of media (including social media) in boycott campaigns
  • Failed boycott campaigns
  • Opposition to boycott campaigns
The RHR publishes material in a variety of forms. Potential contributors are encouraged to look at recent issues for examples of both conventional and non-conventional forms of scholarship. We are especially interested in submissions that use images as well as texts and encourage materials with strong visual content. In addition to monographic articles based on archival research, we encourage submissions to our various departments, including:
  • Historians at Work (reflective essays by practitioners in academic and non-academic settings that engage with questions of professional practice)
  • Teaching Radical History (syllabi and commentary on teaching)
  • Public History (essays on historical commemoration and the politics of the past)
  • Interviews (proposals for interviews with scholars, activists, and others)
  • (Re)Views (review essays on history in all media–print, film, and digital)
  • Reflections (Short critical commentaries)
  • Forums (debates)
Procedures for submission of articles:
By September 1, 2017, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish as an attachment to contactrhr@gmail.com with “Issue 134 Abstract Submission” in the subject line. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word doc'ument along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files (jpg or TIFF files at a minimum of 300 dpi) and secure permission to reprint all images.
By October 15, 2017, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for completed articles will be February 1, 2018. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 134 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in May 2019.
Abstract Deadline: September 1, 2017
Contact: contactrhr@gmail.com
Contact Info: 
Contact Email: 



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MARHO: The Radical Historians' Organization

Established: 1973. Affiliate since May 1989. Membership: 1,500. Annual dues: $20 student, seniors; $32 regular.
Statement of Purpose: To sponsor forums and conferences, edit books for RHR series, and publish the Radical History Review. The RHR, published three times a year, offers original articles, review essays that examine important new scholarship, and analyses of the uses and abuses of history in the popular media, history museums, and other public forums.

MARHO: The Radical Historians' Organization
Radical History Review Collective
Tamiment Library, New York Univ.
70 Washington Sq. S., 10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Managing Editor:
Thomas F. Harbison
Baruch Coll., CUNY







 


========================================================
The American Historical Association

Historical Perspectives on Boycott Campaigns: California, South Africa, Palestine

AHA Session 160
Saturday, January 9, 2016: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Grand Ballroom A (Hilton Atlanta, Second Floor)
Chair:
Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University
Papers:
Solidarity as Imminent Critique: Uniqueness, Complicity, and the Argument for Boycott
Jon Soske, McGill University
�Capitalism in Reverse�: The UFW Grape Boycott
Matthew Garcia, Arizona State University
Palestine, Boycott, and International Solidarity
Ilana Feldman, George Washington University
“Sugar Is Made with Blood”: Consumer Protests against Slave-Grown Sugar in the 18th- and 19th-Century Transatlantic World
Julie Holcomb, Baylor University
Comment:
The Audience
Session Abstract
This panel seeks to contribute historical depth and comparative breadth to recent discussions around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestine by focusing on the history of boycotts. This panel will explore the different genealogies of boycotts as political practice. By contextualizing diverse boycott campaigns -- from the United Farm Workers' Delano Grape Strike in California in the 1960s, through the Academic Boycott of South Africa, to the current Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement initiated by Palestinian civil society organizations -- panelists will consider the unique forms of transnational activism and scholarship such campaigns have engendered in North America and around the world. By situating the current BDS campaign in support of Palestine in relation to past boycott campaigns, we can ask questions about how effective different political boycotts have been, what obstacles they have faced, as well as what forms of solidarity and geopolitical visions they have helped articulate.





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