The ESSHC papers and sessions are organised in many networks covering specific topics.    All 27  networks and their networkchairs are listed below.





The Antiquity Network covers the economic and social history of all societies before the medieval era, but with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region in classical antiquity.

We are particularly interested in proposals for inter-disciplinary and comparative panels, as well as different formats like round tables or book discussion events, but we will be happy to discuss any ideas you wish to put forward. 



The Asia Network is interested in regional histories of Asia, as well as in transnational and global histories that draw attention to Asia’s positioning within larger discursive constructions and socio-historical and economic processes. We seek to be as inclusive as possible and welcome paper and session proposals on any topic pertaining to all parts of Asia, as well as comparisons with other areas of the world, particularly the global South. The Asia network covers all historical periods, including histories of the present. We normally link our sessions with the thematic networks of ESSHC to attract those interested in the topics at hand, but who may not be experts on Asian countries. 

Criminal Justice


The Criminal Justice Network explores all aspects of crime, policing, justice and punishment in all societies, but with a particular focus on the early-modern and modern periods.



Cultural encounters: Interpreting the world

The ESSHC-network ‘Culture’ is interested in how earlier generations viewed the world they lived in and the meanings they attached to it. It probes the norms and values of past ages, examines the encounters of different peoples, analyses knowledge, and queries the rituals and material culture on which people drew. It queries how expressions of culture impacted individuals and social groups, but also asks how culture – including the ways in which people conceptualised the world around them – evolved through human interaction. As a result, the network sees culture as the product of dynamic process of inclusion and exclusion in time and space.  The study of culture being an interdisciplinary field, it makes use of a wide variety of (historical) sources and draws on different theoretical considerations and methodological approaches, from the purely conceptual to the use of artistic methods for historical studies. This diversity is reflected in the various topics that find a home in the network ‘Culture’. These include but are not limited to:

  • Arts (visual, literary, musical)
  • Body, gender and emotions
  • Identity, alterity and belonging
  • Knowledge and intellectual history
  • Material culture
  • Memory and remembrance
  • Mentalities
  • Rituals and ceremonies
  • Media and communication
  • Life writing

As chairs, we encourage scholars to submit proposals for panels or individual papers on all culture-related topics and methods. We also welcome cooperations with other networks, including in the form of panels jointly submitted to the network ‘Culture’ and another network. Finally, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would to subscribe to the ESSHC-Network ‘Culture’ mailing list.

Economic History


Economic history studies from myriad angles the most elementary question of all: how mankind managed to unleash an unprecedented growth of affluence, which has been a blessing for many, a hope for many more, and a challenge for future generations. We think that finding empirical data will help us understand these issues, and that applying methods and concepts from economic theory will help to observe causal relationships that deepen our understanding of the economic past.

Education and Childhood


The Education and Childhood network are open for all aspects of both the history of education and of children and childhood.  An important premises is that history of education and of childhood/children are scholarly separate entities that cannot be reduced to one-another but with historiographies that overlap, at times. They have independent intellectual trajectories and develop with close relationships with other academic fields.  The network consequently value interaction with other networks, such as gender, sexuality, politics, demography and family,  culture, crime, economy, to mention but a few, with ambition to develop and enhance the relevance of both the study of education and of childhood for the overall understanding of historical change in different regions of the world.  We encourage sessions and panels that emphasize such interdisciplinary quests and debates. 

We value all fields, periods and aspect and try to balance the topics for the different sessions to represent viable trends and to connect scholars from different regions of the world and encourage new contacts and networks.  That leads us also to look for novel approaches and critical re-evaluations of earlier research, new sources, and theories as well as panels that critical evaluate recent trends and developments - state of the art - in for example relationship to the challenges that face society of today. That also leads us to look for papers or panels that wants to cast new light on neglected topics and historical periods. We also appreciate proposals that build on discussions in other scholarly organizations as for example the SHCY, ISCHE, SSHA

We appreciate full panel proposals but will also look favourably on single paper proposals and will try to create feasible panels based on individual paper proposals or by combining them with the full panel proposals.  Ideally, we look for panels with 3- 4 papers but will propose to the organizers of the ESSHA panels with 6 papers as we know from experience, both during and before the pandemic, that there will be a considerable drop out rate.  In consequence, in session, we might have sessions that include 3, 5 or 6 papers/panellists, which underwrite the necessity to come well prepared according to the instructions given by the organizers, as the timeslot to present will be limited to allow for a discussion.  Take advantage of the possibility to pre-circulate papers (upload at the homepage) and try to find ways of reaching out to the audience rather than merely reading your valuable insights and important contributions. All sessions will need a chair, but we can sometimes do fine without a commentator to allow the audience more time for interaction with the panel. Commentators (or chairs) should concentrate their short and constructive comments on aspects that could encourage a lively interaction with the audience.  Let us have some fun!


Elites and forerunners


  • Marja Vuorinen | Open University of Helsinki, Social Science History, Finland

"From counter-elites to establishment to stagnation, to decline and fall."

As always, Elites and forerunners network recommends a dynamic approach to the history of elites. Elites are defined primarily as forces of societal change, not merely as holders of status and privilege or agents of stagnation. The decline and subsequent downfall of historical elites, sometimes followed by a re-emergence, also deserve attention. Elite formations can be explored across the full length of their life span and even beyond.

The network invites individual papers focussing on the history of elites, understood in the widest possible sense. We also look for participants willing to organize complete sessions of four to five papers around a particular topic. Each session must include papers from and about several countries.

The network welcomes theoretical, methodological and conceptual approaches. Comparative sessions composed around thematic questions are favoured to narrowly defined epoch and geographically oriented sessions. Sessions focussing on special or unusual types of source materials or particular political, social, economic etc. contexts and processes are also recommended. Sessions may be organised in workshop, roundtable or meet-the-author form.

Session organizers may and should invite participants to join their session, but the acceptance of papers and the final organization of sessions rests with the network.

The network FB group, titled Elites and forerunners, can be found at

In Gothenburg, the network will organise a special session on 20th-century European land reforms, focussing on different national cases – from pre-WW I situation to post-Cold War and EU period – mainly as seen from the point of view of big landowners, progressive politicians and/or administrative elites. The session (or double session) may be organised as a combination of ordinary session and roundtable format. This will allow the participants to choose whether they wish to give their conference papers on this topic, or join the session as discussants, giving their official papers about another topic, in other sessions.

As always, the potential topics of Elites and forerunners network include, but are not limited to

  • aspiring, established, stagnated, declining, former and re-emerging elites
  • imperial, post-imperial, nationalist, international and transnational elites
  • sub-state and local rural and urban elites
  • empires and their margins
  • elites away from home: colonial/colonialist, émigré and diaspora elites
  • rupture, rearrangement, continuity of elite structures after regime change
  • elites during totalitarian regimes
  • court elites, court culture and practices, semiotics of monarchy
  • military, religious, clerical, political, diplomatic, administrative and state elites
  • reactionary, conservative, progressive, radical, separatist, revolutionary and populist elites
  • business, industrial, technocrat elites: practices and structures of work, sources of wealth
  • intellectual, academic, educational, media, artistic and architectural elites
  • types, sources and strategies of power, status and distinction
  • semiotics of power
  • argumentation and propaganda aimed to criticise, overthrow, promote, establish or justify particular elites
  • elites seen from outside or from “below”: caricatures and counter-images of particular elites
  • elite networks, from inter/supranational to local level
  • family strategies, symbolisms and hierarchies
  • landed and urban elite lifestyles
  • Big money: lifestyles and semiotics of great wealth
  • philanthropy and patronage of arts as elite practices
  • elites and gender
  • materiality of elites
  • heritage and preservation issues


Ethnicity and Migration


From its beginning, the ESSHC has been an important venue for migration researchers (it might be said that it is currently the most important platform). The migration and ethnicity network is not the only ESSHC network that deals with this topic. Also in many of the other networks issues related to migration are addressed. We welcome sessions which deal with movement or settlement, or both. We aim to cover a large time span (from Antiquity until today) and the whole world.


Family and demography


This network addresses the lives of individuals, households, families and population in past societies using a variety of sources.  Our network also serves to discuss and develop historical methods, historiographies and the history of science and ideas related to family and demographic history.


Global History


The network invites submissions on all issues related to world / global history.

Health and Environment


This network addresses the basics of human wellbeing: health and human environment. Both fields are connected to (almost) all other fields of life, so presentations can address a wide range of health and environment related topics, including social, scientific, cultural, medical, economic, political or climate related aspects.



The Labour Network encompasses all aspects of work, labour relations and labour struggle in a global and long-term perspective, including the influence of these global developments on local cases, and vice versa. Besides class, other constituent elements, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, age and nationality, are believed to be indispensable for the historical analysis of work and workers in their broadest definition.

The Labour Network is among the largest networks of the ESSHC. For the ESSHC 2023 we invite session proposals and individual proposals, but also sessions that move beyond the traditional conference panel, such as film screenings, book panels etc. A full call for papers can be found here.






Latin America


  • Lucas Poy | International Institute of Social History / Free University Amsterdam, NL

The Latin America network brings together scholars working on all aspects of the region's history and of its historical relations with other parts of the world. It is open to, and indeed encourages, inter and multidisciplinary perspectives and comparative approaches to the study of one of world's most diverse and fascinating regions.

Material and Consumer Culture


Products, environments, circuits and people

Our focus in this network is on the production and consumption of material goods, and the systems of exchange, knowledge and meaning that link these together. We are concerned with the materiality of objects, technologies and environments, and the ways in which this creates discourses and impacts upon people and space. This is closely tied to an interest in the social and cultural frameworks within which these material objects circulate and acquire or generate meaning.


Middle Ages


Nursery of society: political and socioeconomic developments in the medieval period.

The network Middle Ages focus on many aspects of historical enquiry between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance. It gives priority to papers studying the social history of the Middle Ages, and the use of social theory in medieval studies. We believe that the use of comparisons between periods and regions can strengthen our discipline. Finally we want to be a forum where new sources and methods for the many branches of rural history can be tested and discussed

Oral History and Life Stories


The Oral History and Life Stories Network brings together oral history and life story researchers and practitioners who explore memory, narratives, and history. Broadly, we want to encourage papers that explore methodological questions and challenges as well as the relationship between oral histories and the construction and analysis of life stories, both in terms of processes and outcomes. This, for example, might include the conceptual use and reuse of both oral histories and life stories in research, and/or considerations of the methods involved in both. We also want to encourage proposals that attempt to cross the oral history/life history divide (bringing the two research communities together). This is a thematically open Call for Papers, but we would like to stimulate some topics that may attract broader interest: • theoretical and methodological challenges of oral history today • impacts of the digitalization process on oral history materials and on doing oral history • reusing and revisiting (archived) oral history materials • relations of oral history to other fields (e.g. memory studies, social sciences, ethnology, etc.) • reflections on combining oral history and life story methods • what are the themes of oral history today, whose memories are collected, analyzed, and archived • teaching oral history – experiences, challenges, teaching concepts • reflections on legal issues and ethical questions in oral history • and: reflections on the development and experiences of national and international oral history organizations and associations (e.g. the International Oral History Association (IOHA) was founded in Gothenburg in 1996 as a forum for exchange better understanding of the nature and value of oral history) We welcome individual paper proposals as well as proposals for panels. Panel proposals must be international in membership (and from different institutions). Each of their constituent papers must be of a high quality. The over-riding criterion for the selection is strength of the proposed paper, be it an individual paper or a paper in a panel proposal. Our Network does not favor discussants; if a panel proposal includes a discussant, it should indicate why they wish to follow this format (if so, the panel must comprise a maximum of four speakers plus a discussant). Sessions can have a maximum of five papers. The deadline for the required pre-registration of a paper or session proposal at the ESSHC-website is April 15, 2022. Please refer to the ESSHC-site for more information at:

Those interested in oral history and life story writing, those who use these methods in their research and those who practice these methods in community work will find a vivid exchange forum in this network.

Politics, citizenship and nations


The Politics, Citizenship and Nations network brings together scholars studying all aspects of the history of politics, broadly understood as both formal and informal dimensions of political activity, expression, and governance. We welcome creative, comparative and transnational contributions from all historical periods and geographical contexts, as well as more traditional and/or nation-state centered approaches and reflections on theory and methods.



As religions and spiritualities have inspired and motivated the lives and acting of millions everywhere on this planet, and continue to do so, this network discusses all forms of spiritual beliefs and behaviour as well as practices inspired by ideologies explicitly acting against expressions of religious or spiritual engagement.




  • Vacancy

Rural History embraces economic, social, ecological, geographical, demographical, cultural and political approaches to the rural. World food needs, rural heritage, management of natural resources are all relevant topics of rural history for us as are productivity change in agriculture or transfer of property and rural organization. We believe that the use of comparisons between periods and regions can strengthen our discipline. Finally we want to be a forum where new sources and methods for the many branches of rural history can be tested and discussed. 

Science & Technology


The network studies technology and technological networks and their interactions with social and economic change

The Science and Technology network is interested in papers and session proposals exploring science-society interactions and technology-society interactions within and across historical periods and geographical regions. We also welcome papers addressing social and ideological perceptions of science and technology within historiography and critiques thereof. We are particularly interested in case studies and critical reviews addressing ‘border crossings’ between the scientific and technological. Papers could address particular technoscientific practices in historical periods and geographical locations, encounters between different technoscientific practices, knowledge traditions or the identification of individuals, groups and institutions with particular technoscientific constructs and traditions.

For the 14th European Social Science History Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, held between the 12th and the 15th of April 2023, the Science and Technology network is interested in proposals for panels (consisting of three papers and commentator), roundtables (more oriented to discussion than the formal presentation of panels) and ‘meet the author’ sessions (where there is a pathbreaking publication of a monograph, not older than two years).



The Sexuality Network brings together scholars who study the history of human sexuality in its countless varieties.

Since its foundation in 1998, the Sexuality network is Europe's only recurrent international platform for the presentation of new work in the field. The network is interested in contributions from around the world and across time. For the 2023 conference in Gothenburg, it is especially (though not exclusively) encouraging contributions that focus on intersectional perspectives, and on those that use comparative, transnational and global approaches in methodologically innovative ways.

Social Inequality


The Social Inequality network deals with patterns and processes of social inequality, its causes and consequences globally. Any topic within this realm is welcome: e.g. charity, mutual aid, philanthropy, welfare, social stratification, income differences, segregation, and mobility.

Our network covers a wide range of issues related to social inequalities in history. Our previous participants raised issues of gender, educational, labor, wage inequalities in selected territories as well as comparatively. As always, our network will meet to discuss our performance and future plans. Everyone is invited to participate. Not sure if our network is for you? This is the list of topics presented by our participants in previous conferences: Women in Changing Labour Markets (occupational mobility, labour force participation,  wages); Mutual aid, state provision, welfare state (health insurance, poor relief); Inequalities in Late Medieval Europe (spatial inequalities, social stratification); Social stratification and mobility (marriage ties, education and social classes); Economic and wealth inequalities (incomes, taxes, wealth). 

Spatial and digital history


This network is concerned with using digital technologies to study the past. It originated from a particular emphasis on the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial History but all computational based approaches, like statistical analyses, network analyses and innovative data handling are welcome. The network welcomes papers that are concerned with digital sources, methodologies and applied scholarship.


Theory and Historiography


The Theory and Historiography network is interested in exploring all aspects of the theory of history and the history of historiography in global perspective and with special emphasis on bridging the gap between the theory of history and the writing of history.’

For the 14th European Social Science History Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, held between the 12th and the 15th of April 2023, the Theory and Historiography network is interested in proposals for panels (consisting of three papers and a comment), roundtables (more oriented to discussion than the formal presentation of panels) and ‘meet the author’ sessions (where there is a pathbreaking publication of a monograph, not older than two years) on theoretical and historiographical topics.

Although reflection on a wide set of theoretical and historiographical themes are welcome, in 2023 we would like to encourage proposals in particular on the topic of ‘history and identity’. History writing has been centrally concerned with questions of collective identity for a long time. We immediately think of national identities, class identities, ethnic identities, gender and sexual identities but also regional, local, imperial, European, pan-African, pan-Asian and a whole host of other identities related to collectives. In the theory of history there has been for many years a debate about 'identity' as a concept. It has been vilified, reshaped, constructed and reconstructed multiple times. Stuart Hall suggested to replace it with 'identification' to make it less essentialist, and the narrative turn in historical writing has emphasized the constructed nature of all identities. Whilst professional history writing has arguably been more about the deconstruction of collective identities than their construction, this has not been the case everywhere. What is more, non-professional history writing has often stepped into the breach where professional historians have refused themselves as apologist of collective identities. There has also been a debate to what extent a committed, engaged history on behalf of disadvantaged and oppressed groups in society needs so salvage a notion of collective identity and how this can be done without falling into the essentialist trap. Overall we encourage submission of panels that deal with issues related to the writing of history and notions of collective identity, across time and geographical borders. We also encourage submissions that deal with popular forms of history and with related academic disciplines, e.g. anthropology, geography or the social sciences.

The deadline for proposals is 15 April 2022.

One electronic copy of the panel proposal should be sent to the conference secretariat and one copy to each of the three co-chairs of the network.



This network focuses on the rich subfield of urban history, operating under the premise that cities and towns - as a nexus of human interaction - serve as a helpful lens into broader social dynamics. We examine life in urban spaces, how communities within cities interact and coexist, as well as processes of city formation and urbanization. Many important social, economic, cultural, political and demographic processes and events played out in urban environments, such as mobility, migration, social inequality, mortality, labour, gender, and sexuality. In this network but we especially welcome papers that explore how the urban also helped shape such historical processes and was in turn shaped by them.

Topics of interest: 

  • The (historical) nature of cities – typology of cities
  • Processes of urbanization
  • The built environment
  • Urban social histories   
  • Inter- and intra-urban social inequalities
  • Space and social identity
  • Urban culture, modernity and diversity
  • Mobility and migration
  • Power and governance​


Women and gender


The Women and Gender network is one of the largest networks of the ESSHC.
It addresses gender as a historically and culturally variable category that is constitutive of classifying and interpreting the social world, of organizing social and power relations, of producing knowledge (such as historical knowledge), and of shaping experiences of women and men in the past. The network is welcoming research that is crossing epochs, regions, and disciplines. A specific theme is chosen for every conference.

The ESSHC Women and Gender network invites proposals for individual papers and sessions (3-4 speakers, a chair and a commentator) focusing on interconnections between women, gender and risk in human histories and experiences. We would like to discuss the following issues during our forthcoming conference:

  • How gender impacts experiences of risk for different categories of people in human history;
  • How do we use theory & methods in times of stress and what role do historians play;
  • Need to revisit the figure of Learning from History: Gender, Education and Workplace;
  • Gender-based violence in situations of Crisis;
  • Women and epidemic/epidemiology;
  • Global and Asian perspectives on epidemics, women’s work and situations of crisis;
  • Evaluation of women researcher’s work;
  • Women’s movements and their roles in crisis;
  • Women’s Labour: triple burden?
  • Gender-sensitive management of crisis situations;
  • Gender-sensitive response to risk.

The Women and Gender network encourages global and comparative perspectives on gender and risk.