First Annual Graduate Student Conference on Economic and Social History (University of Edinburgh, 7 July 2023)

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Date / time
07/07/2023, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

University of Edinburgh
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Call for Papers

First Annual Graduate Student Conference on Economic and Social History

We would like to invite applications for Edinburgh University’s First Annual Graduate Student Conference on Economic and Social History. We welcome qualitative and quantitative research alike and encourage students in any stage of their studies from all disciplines related to economic and social history to apply.

The conference will be organised by students for students, but with the experience and organisational expertise of Edinburgh’s Economic and Social History Research Group. It is an excellent opportunity to present papers and receive critical feedback from peers and renowned experts in the field, as well as build a network with others in the economic and social history community.

We aim to bring together graduate students (PGT or PGR) from across the UK to our one-day event on Edinburgh’s historic campus. There will be three broad panels to showcase the breadth of economic and social history research undertaken by postgraduate research students. (Details of our preliminary panel themes are on the next page.) Each panel consists of four 20-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion and questions from the audience. We have also incorporated icebreaking activities for a lively atmosphere among young scholars who attend, and to encourage friendly work relationships that could continue after the event.

The conference will be on 7 July 2023, from 10 am to 6 pm in Edinburgh. No conference fee is charged. Lunch and refreshments are provided through the courtesy of the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

Interested graduate students can apply by sending an abstract of their project (500 words maximum) and their CV to by 5 PM BST on 30 April 2023. Please indicate your preferred panel in the email subject line. Successful applicants will hear back from us by 31 May 2023.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Organised by PhD students at the University of Edinburgh
Siân Davies
Moritz Kaiser
Qingrou Zhao
Gino Magnini

Panel 1 – Labour & Production
The boundaries and definitions of labour history have experienced many mutations since the 1960s. Fundamentally, this panel welcomes papers from those who see labour history, histories of work and production, as central to their practise of social history. By including labour histories that encompass free and unfree labour, paid as well as unpaid work, this panel hopes to further problematise definitions of the working class as well as the fictional boundary between the public and private. We welcome approaches that consider labouring relations, processes, struggles, strategies of survival and co-operation, as well as the political and psychological lives of those who labour. Histories of production and reproduction can offer a useful lens to consider connections and dis-connections in the global context. To that end, we encourage papers from all time periods and all regions. Labour histories can also provide fruitful insights into contemporary considerations such as the reach and limits solidarity, social inequalities and precariousness in the global context.

Panel 2 – Leisure & Consumption
This panel addresses leisure and consumption across time and space: from the early-modern period and from across the globe. We encourage researchers to consider leisure and consumption in and of themselves, as well linking them to the other workshop strands such as labour, and poverty and inequality. The stand can be approached variously from economic, cultural, or social standpoints and from the multiple perspectives from government policy to the experiences of women, workers, and the poor. We welcome papers examining household consumption patterns, the relationship between leisure, culture, and the economy, the transformation of wages into a consumable living, and workplace culture.

Panel 3 – Poverty & Inequality
This panel covers the overarching theme of inequality, with a particular focus on economic and income inequalities. We encourage both quantitative and qualitative approaches in investigating this topic, as well as researchers examining the secular trends and changes from the early-modern period onward. We welcome papers that discuss the potential causes and consequences of income inequality and the reporting of insightful case studies with relevant policy implications. Possible research avenues can include, but are not limited to, the importance of the level of economic and technological development, social and political unrest, existing institutions and the imperfection of credit markets in creating, exacerbating and perpetrating income inequalities across groups of people and throughout time.