ESSHC Global History Network: "Global History and the Challenge of Populism"

ESSHC Global History Network: "Global History and the Challenge of Populism"

Matthias Middell (Leipzig University); Holger Weiss (Abo Akademi Turku)
From - Until
18.03.2020 - 20.03.2020
Matthias Middell

Over the past two to three decades the development of global history has profited from a societal climate that welcomed border crossing trade, communication, and mobility. After the experience of the Iron Curtan and a world separated into blocs and alliances there was hope for new forms of global governance that would put humankind at the centre of attention. NGOs mushroomed anticipating the aspirations of such a collective actor and speaking on ist behalf when a growing awareness of global challenges emerged. But this cosmopolitanism is now confronted with protectionist claims, a new nationalism, xenophobic reactions to migration and harsh criticism of "globalization" as the source of the feared loss of control. All these voices claim to speak on behalf of the people and are therefore more and more often summarized under the umbrella term of populism which may help to see similiarities across countries and continents in the argumentation but should also be seen as an invitation for looking at differences in contextes and historical path-dependencies.

As historians we are well aware that such opposition to "globalization" does not happen for the first time nor do we think that the opposition of the global and the national is particularly useful. However, we think it necessary to answer to the above briefly summarized challenge with the specific means of historians, namely to historicize the current situation by diachronic comparisons and by looking for the historical roots of current populist movements. At the same time we can observe an internationalization of such populist ideologies and movements and would therefore suggest to portray them as a subject of global history as well.

We therefore invite contributions to the Global History network's sessions of the European Social Science and History Conference to be held in Leiden, Netherlands, from 18 to 21 March 2020, which deal with the populist challenges to global history perspectives in all its different forms.

As in the past, the global history network encourages particularly the submission of panels that compare across either times or spaces in a truly global manner but we accept also a well argued selection of case studies.

Since the number of panel slots for global history is limited at ESSHC we will give preference to coherent panel proposals but of course, individual papers are also welcome.

Panels shall consist of three papers and a comment. Among the selection criteria for panels is the transnational composition of the panel, we therefore encourage submissions that have a strong focus on exchange between scholars from different institutions and countries.

The deadline for proposals is 30 April 2019. Panel as well as paper proposals shall include the name(s) of the contributing scholars, their institutional affiliation, a 300 words abstract and in case of panels the titles and short summaries of the individual papers.

The European Social Science History Conference is organized by the International lnstitute of Social History. For details see:

One copy of the panel proposal should be sent to the conference secretariat (address below) and one copy to each of the co-chairs of the network (middell@uni-leipzig) and (

Further information and an electronic pre-registration form for the Conference can be obtained from the Conference Internet site at or from the conference secretariat:


Contact (announcement)

Matthias Middell (Leipzig University)

Holger Weiss (Abo Akademi Turku)

ESSHC Conference Secretariat
c/o International Institute of Social History
Cruquiusweg 31
P.O. Box 2169
1000 CD Amsterdam
the Netherlands
tel: + 31 20 66 858 66
fax: + 31 20 66 541 81

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