ELHN-WORCK Conference – Vienna 2021 – general program
Statement of ELHN for the forthcoming 4th ELHN/2nd WORCK Conference – Vienna 2021
The European Labour History Network, established at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam in 2013, consists of sixteen working groups, focusing on specific themes such as factory labour, women’s labour, military labour, maritime labour etc. and organises a biennial international conference. The COST Action WORCK has emerged from one of these ELHN working groups in 2019. The University of Vienna, being the grant holder institution of the COST Action WORCK, is now acting as local host for the joint conference of both networks.
Thanks to this cooperation, you will find a rich programme of plenary events and parallel sessions, organised either by the ELHN committee and the ELHN working groups or by the WORCK network and its working groups (see attachment). While the ELHN Conference 4 will last three days (30 August to 1 September), the WORCK Conference 2 continues for two more days until the 3 September. The first three days of the joint event will be dedicated to the activities and individual projects of the working groups of both networks, framed by a joint opening event, a keynote lecture and a roundtable discussion organised by the ELHN committee, and an exhibition on labour and coercion organised by the WORCK network. The
last one and a half days are devoted to a specific topic of the WORCK network and realised in a plenary setting. Under the title “Historicising the Concept of Europe in Global History”, the WORCK network invites for a conceptual discussion on the place of Europe in global labour history debates.
Over the last three decades, global history has fostered a number of key contributions to the ongoing rethinking of the temporal and spatial constructs sustaining historical writing. This has led to a widening of horizons and has opened up new research agendas, in labour history as well as in social history in general. Today, it is no longer feasible to write the history of the world as a history of European expansion. And the history of work is no longer automatically framed as the history of supposedly Western models and their contribution to modernity. Yet, global history has only rarely confronted the highly unstable historical construct we call “Europe”. Therefore, these last one and a half conference days are dedicated to the need to historicise Europe as a conceptual frame in global history and discuss social inequalities in Europe – both in past and present. The respective discussions will be led by invited experts on the basis of a joint reader.