an idea in progress

The idea of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) originated in the writings of Leon Trotsky (1879-1940). Its most explicit formulation is found in the opening chapter of his History of the Russian Revolution (1932).

Trotsky used UCD to explain the ‘peculiarities’ of Russia’s social structures in the early 20th century, viewing them as the outcome of a wider, inter-societal process of historical development. In this way, he incorporated the significance of international relations into a theory of capitalist world development. But in doing so, he also  created the opening for a social theory of ‘the international’.

UCD was introduced into the discipline of International Relations (IR) at  the 1995 Deutscher Memorial Lecture. Over the years, it has established itself as a major ongoing research programme in IR.

The largest concentration of researchers on Uneven and Combined Development is in the International Relations Department at the University of Sussex, where a Working Group on the subject meets regularly. For further information contact Justin Rosenberg.

Call for Papers
Uneven and Combined Development
EISA Conference, September 2021

An exciting new wave of UCD scholarship is now underway. Eleven pieces are showcased in a Special Issue of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (March 2021), and a further eight have already been accepted for publication in subsequent issues of the Review. The latest wave is opening up multiple new directions – including ecology, literary theory, science fiction, Science and Technology Studies, colonial state-formation, the rise of China, Political Realism, culture, Liberation Philosophy, and temporal ideologies.

Building on the momentum of the CRIA Special Issue, abstracts are invited for individual papers, roundtables or panels at the online EISA Conference being held on September 13th-17th 2021.

Abstracts must be linked to two of the 44 existing Conference Sections (first choice and second choice). For a list of these Sections and the Submission Guidelines, see  

We invite proposals both on existing areas of UCD scholarship and on new directions, such as engagements of UCD with questions of gender, race, ecology and the posthuman.

Please send paper/panel/roundtable titles (max 150 characters) and abstracts (max 1800 characters) to Justin Rosenberg at by March 19th at the latest. This will enable us to help group papers and panels, thereby enhancing their chances of being accepted by one of the Sections.

Alternatively, you can apply directly to EISA using the link above by the deadline of March 29th. But in this case please also send details of your submission to Justin Rosenberg when you do so.