The ‘World Connecting’ in the Eyes of Contemporaries

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Date / time
01/09/2022 - 03/09/2022, All day

The “World Connecting” in the Eyes of Contemporaries

The period spanning the last third of the nineteenth century and the first years of the 20th century until the outbreak of World War I witnessed an unprecedented intensification of global interconnections. This period was characterized by dramatic changes in politics (the rise of global colonial empires spanning all continents and the emergence of international organizations), in transportation and communication technologies (transoceanic and transcontinental telegraph lines and the adoption of steamboats), in markets for goods and capital (the emergence of international financial markets and cartels) and the steady increase in transatlantic and transpacific mass migrations.

These changes gave rise to a new awareness of global interconnectedness which made its way into the discourse of politicians, diplomats, entrepreneurs, journalists and academics. Understandings of global trade and production flows shaped investment policies, policy interventions, tariffs, political alliances and migration patterns through different channels. 

At this conference, we wish to explore ideas and practices of globalization and their interrelationship. We invite contributions by historians who investigate the way contemporaries understood global economic, social and political trends in the 1870-1914 period in order to map the discourses of globalization that shaped decision-making in the realm of policymaking and in day-to-day business practices, migration activity and consumer behaviour.

The conference intends to address the following issues in various geographical and thematic contexts:

  • What competing understandings of the global economy/globalization can be tracked in the period 1870-1914, and how did they evolve over time?
  • Where were ideas and theories of globalization disseminated?
  • What kind of observations and theories underpinned such understandings?
  • How did understandings and narratives of the global economy affect public discourse and policy making? How did they shape the expectations and behaviour of agents?

The conference, funded by the project DATAREV of the European Research Council, will take place – Covid regulations and travel restrictions permitting – on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd September 2022 at the Institute of Economic and Social History, Faculty of History of the University of Vienna. The conference will take place in a hybrid format.  Reimbursement for train travel and accomodation is potentially available. Virtual participation is encouraged. The conference language is English. Participants will be required to submit pre-circulated papers by 1 August 2022. 

We strongly encourage graduate students and other early career scholars to apply. Applicants are asked to submit a brief biography and a 300-word abstract to and by February 13, 2022.