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International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH)

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What is the ITH?
The International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH) is an international network of research institutions and historians concerned with the history of labour relations, labourers and labour and other social movements. Currently about 100 member institutions from five continents are associated with the ITH. The ITH is one of the worldwide most important forums of labour history.

Founded in Vienna (Austria) in 1964, the ITH became especially known for the organisation of the annual “Linz Conference”. Originally the conference predominantly served as a platform of dialogue between the “Western” and “Eastern” scientific communities of labour historians.

The ITH today: Transnational and global perspectives, inclusive research approach
Since the 1990’s the ITH has undergone a repositioning: Labour history is increasingly discussed as part of social history, transnational history and global history. Labour history is developing a broadened view on “labour” including non-formalized labour relations, domestic and care work as well as coerced forms of labour. It is likewise asking how “class” was historically linked to other dimensions of inequality.

On this basis a close and permanent cooperation between different European partner institutions could be established and the contextual framework could be enlarged beyond Europe. The ITH’s inherited bridging function between “East” and “West” was extended by a “North-South” scientific dialogue taking up the impulses of the emerging labour history of the Global South. The ITH has turned into a transnational community of social historians focussing on the history of labour, labour history and the history of social movements. It favours a global and inclusive approach to this history and transnational research topics.

Following its tradition of cooperating with organisations of the labour movement, the ITH likewise puts emphasis on the conveyance of research outside the academic research community itself. A permanent and significant cooperation for the ITH’s continuity particularly exists with different Chambers of Labour in Austria. The Department of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Bonn) and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) are further important partner institutions.

Here you can find contributions to ITH's strategic orientation.

ITH Activities
• The ITH annually plans and organizes international scientific conferences. These conferences mostly take place in Linz (Upper Austria), where the ITH is hosted by the Chamber of Labour Upper Austria (AK OÖ). International contributors speak on
different topics every year. The conference outcomes are published timely. In the last years the ITH has always grouped various conferences into thematic cycles: from 2007-2009 the topical framework was “Labour History beyond Borders / Grenzüberschreitende Arbeitergeschichte”. From 2010-2012 a new cycle dealt with “Labour and Social Movements as Agents of Social Development / Arbeiterbewegung und soziale Bewegungen als Triebkräfte gesellschaftlicher Entwicklung”. In the current conferences 2013-2015 forms of labour that were barely considered in previous debates such as unfree labour and precarious labour and social determinations of “work” and “non-work” are in the centre of attention. Starting 2016, the conferences will deal with transnational processes, events and developments including migration, war, revolution and global commodity chains.

• The ITH organizes scientific meetings and events in cooperation with other Austrian or international institutions in between the regular annual conferences.

• The ITH serves as a global network in the field of the history of labour, labourers and social movements. Besides the website, regular newsletters informing about news, conferences and plans of the member institutions are published.

• The ITH is funding research by awarding scientific prizes. The René Kuczynski Prize is awarded for outstanding publications in the field of social and economic history; the Herbert Steiner Prize is awarded for the support of scientists in the research fields of resistance/persecution/exile in the time of fascism and Nazi-rule and labour history in cooperation with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW).

ITH Executive
The ITH Board consists of the President, the Vice-Presidents, the General Secretary, the Treasurer as well as the Board of Trustees. Outstanding personalities of the international scientific community are represented in the International Scientific Committee and the Honorary Committee.
Executive Committee (president, vice-presidents, general secretary, treasurer)
Articles of association (in German)

ITH Membership

The ITH was founded as an organisation of member institutions. Today membership is also open to individuals.

ITH Membership Campaign
Become an ITH Member

Institutional ITH Membership:

Institutional ITH membership is open to all research organisations and institutions focussing on the history of labour, labourers and social movements. The annual membership fee for institutions amounts to EUR 450,- or EUR 210.- for institutions with less financial possibilities. It entitles to: participation in the ITH Conferences on a reduced fee; co-decision on topics and programmes of ITH Conferences; attendance and voting rights in the ITH General Assembly; free copy of the ITH Conference Volume; active participation in the global ITH network.

Individual ITH Membership:

Individuals can join the ITH either for 1 year for EUR 50.- or a 3-year-period for EUR 150.-. Individual membership is also open for colleagues with less financial possibilities (annual fee upon self-assessment). It entitles to: participation in the ITH Conferences on a reduced fee; discounted purchase of ITH Conference Volumes; active participation in the global ITH network, including attendance in the ITH General Assembly and proposals for all ITH activities.

For further informations please contact: ith[a]

May 2017