CFP: Commodity Frontiers in Historical Capitalism

CALL FOR PAPERS: Commodity Frontiers in Historical Capitalism

For the conference:
‘Women, Nature, & Colonies’: Power, Reproduction, and Unpaid Work/Energy in the Capitalist World-Ecology
Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network
21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Commodity frontiers have been central to acquiring the Four Cheaps – food, labor power, energy and raw materials – on which every great wave of capital accumulation rode (Moore 2015, 53-4). In Moore’s (2011, 2010a, 2010b) terms, commodity frontiers are specific places of expanded commodity production, backed by territorial power. And commodity frontiers move successively, from one place to the next, marked by booms and busts due to the ecological contradictions of expanded commodity production. Commodity frontiers provide a lens on places in world-ecology: on how capital accumulates in nature and how nature works through processes of capital accumulation.

In this CFP we are looking for papers that address commodity frontiers broadly-defined. Papers may address place making for expanded commodity production, including the enclosures of the commons and the exhaustion of nature, land and labor, or technologies/policies/etc. that enable frontier making, or a related subject.

We need more empirical knowledge about the conditions under which commodity frontiers shift and the dynamics of frontier-making processes across time and space. This panel will bring together expertise from different disciplines (geographers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists …) on recent and historical frontier-making processes in specific periods in the rise of global capitalism and across different parts of the world. In this panel we hope to connect these place-based material transformations to world-ecological moments and shifts. In doing so, this panel seeks to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the concept of commodity frontiers.

** Submit inquiries and/or paper titles and abstracts (of approx. 200 words) by January 29, 2017, to:

Marion Dixon,, or Hanne Cottyn,



  • Moore, J.W. 2010a. ‘’Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648’. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(1): 33-68.
  • __________2010b. ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Long Seventeenth Century’. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2): 188-227.
  • __________2011. ‘Transcending the metabolic rift: a theory of crises in the capitalist world-ecology’.Journal of Peasant Studies 38(1): 1-46.
  • __________2015. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London and New York: Verso.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s