"The Past is Before Us" acknowledges labour history as a critical dialogue between the past and the present, seeking the sources of future social and political transformation in the struggles of past generations. This dialogue is a critical exchange, requiring a rigorous analysis of the past and the historian’s practice, and the theme invites reconsideration of the theory and methodologies of labour history. Seeking to promote a more intense focus on working class experience and political mobilisation, the organisers welcome contributions which address the relationship between the categories of class, race and gender. The conference organisers intend that the theme should be interpreted in the widest possible sense, and call for papers which address either the transformative ambitions of labour history or other aspects of labour and social history. The conference organisers are delighted to announce the Hon. Meredith Burgmann, President of the Legislative Council of NSW will open the conference.   

An Invitation to Contribute
Labour history conferences include contributions from both academics and non-academics, and from labour movement and community activists. Academic papers can be submitted for formal refereeing and publication in the conference proceedings. The deadline for refereed papers is 11 February 2005. Other papers can be submitted for publication without refereeing. The deadline for non-refereed papers is 25 February 2005.

Verbal presentations will normally be limited to 15-20 minutes each. People wishing to offer a display, film, video, performance or other contribution, should send a brief proposal as soon as possible, and definitely no later than 25 February 2005. We would also welcome proposals for complete panels and streams of papers. Overseas contributors are welcome.

What are we Looking For?
While welcoming a broad range of contributions, the organisers particularly seek contributions related to the analysis of the categories of class, race and gender; identity and labour biography; theory and methodology;
the labour movement’s relationship with the nation; employer labour strategies; business and labour, including the impact of fi nancial markets; labour organising; volunteer labour; co-operatives, credit unions, friendly societies and building societies; labour and community, and issues of place and space; trade unionism; political activism; social protest movements; labour intellectual activity and workingclass culture..

Conference Convenors
  Greg Patmore John Shields
e. g.patmore@econ.usyd.edu.au j.shields@econ.usyd.edu.au
t. +61 2 9351 4264 +61 2 9351 5425
f. +61 2 9351 6755 +61 2 9351 4729