What is ITH?
The International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH) is an international network of associations, research institutes and historians of labour and social movements. It has more than 100 members from five continents. It was founded in 1964 in Vienna (Austria) as “Internationale Tagung der Historiker der Arbeiterbewegung / International Conference of Labour Historians”. Its initial rationale was to serve as a platform of dialogue between the “Western” and “Eastern” scientific communities of labour historians.
ITH goes global and transnational
Since the end of the bipolar world system, ITH’s initial function as a bridge between Labour history in the “East” and the “West” became obsolete. ITH redefined its mission as a forum of international scholarly exchange in the field of labour and social history. Since the first years of the new millennium, ITH has reorientated its “East-West” axis of communication towards a global “South”-“North” - orientation in order to take up the impulses of the emerging labour history in the global “South”, thus contributing to a renewal and enrichment of European and North American historiography of labour, the labour movement and related social movements. The aim of this dialogue is the formation of a transnational community of Labour and social historians operating an exchange between “old” and “new” centres of this historiography.
ITH emphasizes a global approach to labour and social history and focusses on transnational topics. Following a tradition of cooperation with organisations of the labour movement, ITH sets a high value on communicating scholarly research to an interested public outside the scientific community.
Here you can find the topical contributions to ITH's strategic orientation.
Main projects and activities of ITH are:
• The planning and organizing of annual international conferences (mostly in Linz, Upper Austria) and the publication of the conference papers. Conference languages are English, German and French. The Linz Conferences are gatherings of the member institutes. International experts are invited to present papers on the topic of the conference. Participation is due to previous registration.
In 2007, ITH has launched a triennial cycle of conferences on the subject of “Labour History beyond Borders”. A series of conferences 2007-2009 dealt with Labour in a global history perspective, focussing on networks, flows of communication, transfers and migrations.
In 2010, a new thematical cycle started on “Labour as an agent of social transformation” with conferences on “The Memory of Labour” 2010 and “Is One World Possible? Practices of International Solidarity and International Development” 2011. This cycle is to be achieved by a conference on “Social and Cultural Change through Labour Movements” 2012.
The conference 2013 shall deal with “A Global History of Domestic Workers”.
• Between the regular annual conferences in Linz, Austria, ITH organizes international conferences and workshops in cooperation with other institutes. Recent examples are the conferences:
- “Transnational networks. Contributions to the history of Globalisation”, in cooperation with the Institute of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna, Vienna 2007
- Panel “New developments in Labour History” of the conference: “Labour Crossings: World, Work and History”, in cooperation with History Workshop, University of Witwatersrand, and Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg 2008
- „Krisenerfahrungen im historischen Vergleich 1929 – 1973 – 2008“, in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Berlin February 2011
• In addition to its annual conferences and regular cooperations with other institutions, ITH functions as a global network of institutions and people working in the field of Labour.
• In this perspective, ITH publishes newsletters and operates a website linked to the homepages of the member institutes. Both are conceived as regular media for communication within the ITH-network.
• ITH tries to encourage research by 2 awards: the René Kuczynski Prize for outstanding publications on the field of social and economic history, and (in cooperation with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance) the Herbert Steiner Prize for the promotion of scholars on the fields NS Persecution/Anti-fascist Resistance/Exile and Labour History.
Organisational structure and executive:
The board consists of the president, the general secretary, the treasurer and vice-treasurer and the board of trustees. An international scientific and honorary committee comprises outstanding personalities of the international scientific community.
Executive committee (president, general secretary, treasurer, vice-treasurer)
Statutes in German
Membership is open to:
Research institutes and associations for labour and social history; membership of individuals not attached to institutional structures is possible.
• Annual membership fee for institutions: EUR 360,- (possibility of reduction for financially weak institutes)
• ITH membership entitles to participate in ITH's conferences for a modest "all inclusive" package fee, to decide about the topics and programs of those conferences, to receive the annual report of ITH's conference proceedings for free and to be an active part of ITH's world wide network. Members have one vote in the General Assembly. In addition they may place news about their activities in the newsletter as well as on the website of ITH.
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