Susanna Fellman at the conference

1200 historians gather at the School of Business, Economics and Law


The School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg is hosting the international conference European Social Science History Conference 2023, which starts today. For four days, roughly 1200 historians gather at the School of Business, Economics and Law to share research in widely different fields.

The conference is organized every two years and is made up of different networks, for example the economic history network, the network for migration studies, the network for gender history, etc.

- It is fantastic to be involved in organizing a conference of this calibre, says Susanna Fellman, who is Professor of Economic History at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, and one of the local organizers of the conference.

Hello Susanna!

What kind of conference are you organising?

It is a large international conference for historians who use social science methods in their research. That is, methods and theories that are used, for example, in sociology, demography or economics, which can have both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Hence the somewhat complicated name Social Science History.

The conference is open to any historical topic and any historical period. Most of the participants are historians, but also historically versed sociologists, political scientists and economists participate. What is special about the conference is that the sessions are held in small groups,  often with people from different scientific backgrounds, and therefore there is often an interesting dialogue.

How does the conference relate to the School of Business, Economics and Law?

At the conference, there are several networks and sessions that connect to the research within the School of Business, Economics and Law. Especially the School’s focus on sustainability. For example, a session on early European climate policy is directly connected to this (POL04 Early European Climate Policy - Conflict and Compromise).

Issues concerning social sustainability, such as the rise of the welfare state, labor markets and economic inequality, are the themes of several sessions. Economic growth (e.g., ECO15 Measuring and Comparing Past Economic Performances) as well as consumption and consumers in a long-term perspective are classic themes at this conference. Among other things, a session on shopping centres in Northern Europe (Shopping Centers in Northern Europe: their Emergence and Impact) will be organised.

What are you most looking forward to?

Well, it is the very versatile program! You can participate in sessions in your own field, but at the same time switch to sessions with research that is quite far from your own research. Then it's nice to be able to show off Gothenburg!

The conference is organised with the International Institute of Social History (IISH). What kind of organisation is that?

IISH is a rather unique organisation that engages in social historical research, is responsible for - and preserves - some archives and historical material from various social movements and collaborates with universities and society. And, yes, IISH is responsible for the organisation, while here in Gothenburg we are responsible for the local arrangements. Being able to share responsibility in this way is a prerequisite for hosting a conference of this kind. I have had a lot of help from Juan Pablo Juliá Ciarelli, who is a PhD student in Economic History here at Handels, who has kept everything in order here in Gothenburg!

What happens after the conference?

Much like after any research conference, that is, the researchers get their papers published. Because the organization is based on networks, however, the research collaborations are often more long-term than at conferences. Many of the researchers within the networks meet every two years and can follow developments within various projects. However, the networks are not closed in any way, and anyone can submit papers when the call for papers goes out. This leads to a combination of continuity and renewal.

Conference flag
Mer information om konferensen

Konferensen hålls på Handelshögskolan mellan 12 och 15 april.

Konferensens hemsida: