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Schedule of Publication

Society and Politics appears on the following dates:

April 30th

November 30th

Call for Papers

Society and Politics aims at publishing thematic and special issues and for this is seeking prospective guest editors that would be willing to submit proposals for thematic and special issues.



The Wisdom of Automata: Performative Science and Early Modern Diplomacy


Invited editor: Stefano Gulizia


Automata – often made up by puzzling parts, like wood inlays, brass, or metal – are charged with different tasks, such as defense, entertainment, or time-keeping. Automata also allow a 'methodizing' of spatial displacement through artificial life. Building on this premise, namely that despite internal diversification over time, the metis of self-propelled devices converges on political brokerage and cross-cultural exchange, the proposed Special Issue brings to a fresh light early modern entanglements of travel and experimental science aiming to produce a new angle to discuss the mechanization of nature. Boundaries between object and subject are blurred in the deep history of automata. Often this very fuzziness turns into a performance of cultural heritage, historically situated or perspectival as it might be. However, most scholarship up to date has suffered from a divide between attending to artisanal and technical manufacture on the one hand, and considering the social protocols attending to its display on the other. Likewise, the prevailing trend has been towards microhistory. As a result, more work remains to be done to conveniently tie up mechanical instrumentality with social legitimation, making the most of seminal inquiries into ambassadorial training and courtly culture as areas of artificiality. This Issue aims at a comprehensive re-balancing between production and circulation, and therefore at reinstating automatic life as a leading early modern discipline of information management. The claim of this collection is that what ultimately is embodied in automata and their peculiar time-keeping is not a simulation of live bodies, but a replication of habitus — that is, a tissue of geopolitical ambitions and bodily practices.


Research articles are encouraged from scholars working on the ‘archival turn’ and aspects of the mechanics of mobility such as Mediterranean gift-giving, storing, portable archaeologies, as well as from every field pertaining to the brokerage of early modern science and intellectual history, with particular (but not exclusive) interest to the routines of workmanship and the re-enchantment of technology. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words. They should be prepared for a double blind-review and be submitted electronically to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by March 1st, 2019. Scheduled publication is anticipated for November 2019.


For further information and bibliographic references about this project see:



Boris Hessen and the Philosophy of Science


Invited editor: Sean Winkler


For this special issue of Society and Politics, we would like to invite papers that discuss the thought of Soviet physicist, historian and philosopher of science, Boris Hessen (1893 – 1936). Hessen is best known for delivering a talk at the 2nd International Congress of the History of Science and Technology in London, entitled “The Socio-Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia” (1931); one of the most infamous papers in the historiography and philosophy of science. In this paper, Hessen argued that every theoretical problem in Sir Isaac Newton’s natural philosophy could be traced to two sources: (1) economic production (i.e., technical problems that were relevant to the development of the newly-emergent capitalist economy) and (2) class morality (i.e., Newton’s ideological standpoint as a member of the rising bourgeoisie in late 17th-/early 18th-century England). Though an immediately provocative figure, Hessen’s notoriety was short-lived as not more than five years after his appearance in London, he became one of the millions to perish in Stalin’s purges. And although he was rehabilitated in 1956 during the “Khrushchev thaw”, scholars’ attempts to revisit his works have yet to spur an exhaustive study of his thought. Such an exhaustive study is necessary, because Hessen’s paper exerted a profound, subterranean influence on so-called “externalist” historiography of philosophy and science that has yet to be fully appreciated. Moreover, his writings on topics such as dialectical materialism, the history of science, relativity theory and quantum mechanics, are not well-known. The aim of this volume, therefore, is to encourage systematic studies of his thought as well as assessments of the relevance of his work for understanding the relationship between economic production, philosophy and science today.


Papers on the following topics are welcome (but not limited to):

  • English translations of Hessen’s other writings
  • Hessen as the founder of ‘externalist’ historiography of philosophy/science
  • Hessen’s influence on other thinkers (i.e., Bernal, Grossmann, Merton, Needham, etc.)
  • The role of dialectical materialism (i.e., Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Deborinite, etc.) in Hessen’s thought
  • Hessen’s understanding of the relationship between economic production and philosophy/science
  • Hessen’s interpretations of relativity theory and/or quantum mechanics
  • Contemporary applications of Hessen’s thought

    Papers should not exceed 8,000 words and should be prepared for double-blind review. Submissions should be made by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 15 December 2018, with an anticipated publication date of 30 April 2019.


    Instructions for authors can be found at:



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