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Call for Papers

7th International Conference of the Association of Indian Labour Historians in collaboration with the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute
March 27-29, 2008, New Delhi

The 7th International Conference of the Association of Indian Labour Historians is being held on March 27-29, 2008 in collaboration with the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, NOIDA. The conference held every two years show cases the best writings on labour history and provides a platform for interaction between Indian and foreign scholars and between academics and social activists to interact and reflect on common themes of interest. In keeping with the format of earlier conferences we propose a set of issues as the main themes of the conference, though papers outside this rubric will also be considered for presentation on the basis of their quality and general importance for the discipline of labour history.

Social Histories of Work
How have societies viewed and regulated work in history? Are societies distinguished by distinct sets of attitudes, norms and institutions within which work is performed? Why and how have societies kept labour and work in different social registers and when have these registers come together so that labour and work have become indistinguishable? We hope to hear historical accounts of labour processes and the interface of technique and skill with social and institutional norms to have a richer understanding of human experience of work across societies. We specially welcome international, regional, sectoral and temporal comparisons.

Law, Labour and Labour Market
Historical evolution of labour relations has been mediated by law and law like action of the state. Law‘s constitutive role in the labour market is now being recognized. We have focused consistently in our conferences on the legal constitution of labour regimes and reiterated the importance of understanding law as a crucial ingredient in its constitution. In this conference we invite the participants to focus on the processes and mechanisms that link the sphere of law making with the evolving labour market institutions on the one hand and the shaping of labour relations on ground on the other hand. Law, we expect to discover, worked consistently to shape expectations, norms and custom governing labour relations. On the other hand Law itself became a terrain constituted by the conflicting pressures of different interests. We expect our paper presenters to be especially attentive to the mutually constitutive character of legal regulatory regimes and labour relations. This process we hope will throw light on the ways in which the temporal changes in regulatory regimes correlate with changes in labour markets and labour relations.

Rural Labour in a Changing World
By far the bulk of the world workforce is still located in the rural areas. Yet the historiography of labour both in the developed and underdeveloped societies have paid much less attention to these workers. They have been viewed as merely a stage in the transformation into the industrial and urban working class. The treatment of this important social group as a residual or an anachronism has skewed our understanding of the historical experience of the working people. In this conference we will make special efforts to correct this historiographic limitation by inviting papers to focus on the historical and contemporary conditions of existence of the rural labourers. While agriculture undoubtedly was the mainstay of the rural labourers historically non agricultural occupations have played a crucial role in stabilizing the economic and social conditions of the rural workers. Participants are invited to focus strongly on comparative historical and micro social investigations on rural working lives.

We invite historians, social scientists and labour activists and other scholars with interest in labour history to present academic papers and participate in the proceedings of the conference.
Paper presenters are requested to send an abstract not more than 300 words to the conference by November 15, 2007. We expect the final papers by selected participants definitely by March 1, 2008.
Selected paper presenters will be informed by December 1, 2007 about their final participation.

Please send the abstracts and the papers electronically to or the following postal address:
VVGNLI_AILH International Conference on Labour History
c/o Archives of Indian Labour
V.V.Giri National Labour Institute
Sector 24, NOIDA, Gautam Budha Nagar
U.P 201301

The Association will provide hospitality to all the participants for the duration of the conference. Travel costs by second class AC Railway or its equivalent will be provided for selected participants from within India. We are unable to support the travel costs of foreign participants but will strongly support their application to any funding agency or their own institutions to defray their travel costs.