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TSHOD 2009 : Call for Chapter Proposals: The Secret History of Democracy


When Jul 1, 2009 - Jul 2, 2009
Where Australia
Abstract Registration Due Jan 5, 2009
Submission Deadline Apr 30, 2009
Notification Due May 15, 2009
Final Version Due Jun 30, 2009
Categories    DEMOCRACY   history   politics

Call For Papers

The Secret History of Democracy

- Edited by Benjamin Isakhan and Stephen Stockwell -

Call for Chapter Proposals:

This is a call for chapter proposals for the tentatively entitled The Secret History of Democracy, a book to be edited by Benjamin Isakhan and Stephen Stockwell.

Throughout the late twentieth century democracy continued to spread across much of the globe, bringing with it claims about the Third Wave (Huntington, 1991) or Global Resurgence (Diamond & Plattner, 1996) of democracy. As this process has continued into the early twenty-first century, it is interesting to note the degree to which democracy is associated with a very specific lineage of events, practices and movements. Overwhelmingly, the historical narrative of democracy connects the successes of more recent times to the Greek concept of demokratia and the Roman Republic, but more directly to the establishment of the British Parliament, through the American Declaration of Independence and the French storming of the Bastille. This extraordinary sequence of events has frequently been invoked by various people’s movements, civil society groups and pro-democracy advocates across the world. Consider for example the intriguing paradox recounted by Jack Goody in which citizens of Burkina Faso (then known as the Upper Volta) protested against French occupation in the 1950s under banners reading Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (Goody, 2006: 246). The concern here is that ‘rule by the people’ has come to signify a relatively exclusive set of political moments and traditions compared to the broader human experience of struggling against tyranny and oppression towards collective forms of governance, egalitarian social movements and inclusive decision-making practices.

This book therefore strives to broaden the historical narrative of democracy. It hopes to include a collection of historical accounts that document the development of democratic practices in unexpected and underexplored quarters. We are interested in everything from the tribal moots and council meetings of pre-historic societies, to models of collective governance across the pre-Athenian ancient world; from the complex deliberative mechanisms of the Islamic empires or the Vikings, through to the democratic practices of the world’s various indigenous populations and their long struggle with occupation and colonisation. On to more recent times, we are interested in the other story of democracy and the making of the modern world – from the Haitian revolution, the Makhnovist movement in Russia, the mosques of Baghdad, the ‘Saffron Revolution’ in Burma and the polling booths of Venezuela. We argue that the spirit of democracy, at various times and in various guises, has been central to the political histories of all the inhabitants of the earth. Across each of the continents, through long and complex histories, from all colours and creeds and despite hubris and bellicosity, there is a Secret History of Democracy that must be told.

The deadline for abstracts of up to 500 words and a short biography of 100 words (for each author) is 5th January 2009. The first draft of the full 6-7000 word chapter will be due later in 2009.

For further details please do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Isakhan at:

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