Call for Sessions and Papers on Labour and Working Class Studies
Fifteenth European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC)
Leiden, the Netherlands
26–29 March 2025
Deadline: 15 April 2024

On 26–29 March 2025, the 15th European Social Science History Conference will take place at Leiden University in Leiden (the Netherlands) – The ESSHC brings together scholars interested in explaining historical phenomena using the methodsof the social sciences. The conference is characterised by a lively exchange in many small groups rather than by formal plenary sessions. It is organised into a large number of networks that cover specific fields of interest. The conference language is English.

One of the largest networks of the ESSHC is Labour. We think that progress in labour history and studies is made by analysing global developments in labour relations and labour struggles, including the influence of these global developments on local and national contexts and vice versa. It also remains essential to take into account other constituent elements of working class identities besides class, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and citizenship status. Labour can also provide an analytical lens to study the interconnectedness of political, economic, and cultural developments and specific issues such as management strategies, colonial relations, factories and other sites of production (plantations, mines, households), slavery, free and unfree labour, formal and informal labour activism, etc. Moreover, labour history and studies provide essential insights into pressing contemporary issues such as globalisation, social inequality, migration, and precarity.

The Labour Network welcomes any session or paper proposals dealing with all topics and periods in labour and working class history and studies, but we do especially encourage the submission of session proposals. Please carefully read the selection criteria below before submitting your proposal.
The Labour Network seeks to broaden its temporal, geographical, and disciplinary scope and therefore encourages sessions and papers from all time periods and all regions. We welcome the organisation of conference sessions that move beyond the traditional conference panel, such as film screenings, book panels, etc. Roundtable discussions that present and discuss important books, articles, changing institutional and educational structures, and other concerns within labour history are also encouraged. For ESSHC 2025, we encourage submissions that focus on the following topics: the state of the art in global labour history; the connection between labour studies and labour activism; intersections between environmental history and labour history; and the use of digital humanities in the study of labour.

Since the coherence of sessions will be an important criterion, propositions of full sessions with three to five papers will be easier to accommodate in the conference programme than single papers. However, we do accept single paper proposals, both in order to include them in proposed sessions and to compose a limited number of new sessions. While most sessions choose the panel format, other types of sessions are also encouraged. We also have a preference for sessions with a comparative character, geographically and/or chronologically.

We heartily encourage young scholars, such as PhD and master students, to organise sessions and propose papers within the Labour Network. We remind you of the Jan Lucassen Prize for the best paper by a junior scholar at the ESSHC (see

To propose a panel session (2 hour time slot): panel organisers need to pre-register for 3 to 5 participants. Add the full names and addresses of all paper authors and of a chair and/or discussant. To propose an individual paper: pre-register through the conference website, indicating ‘Labour’ as your network of preference.

See for full details: The deadline for proposing abstracts is 15 April 2024.

Further information on the ESSHC is available on the conference website.

For specific questions about the Labour Network, please contact the chairs: Görkem Akgöz (, Peyman Jafari (, Hanne Østhus ( and Zhanna Popova (

Criteria for selection

For the purpose of transparency and as guidance for your submissions, please find below a list of the key criteria that will guide our selection. We will:

  • accept session proposals with a minimum of three and a maximum of five speakers.
  • accept single and double session proposals, but no triple session proposals. Double sessions may include from a minimum of six to a maximum of ten speakers.
  • not accept sessions that stem from single institutions, single research projects, and/or single countries.
  • not accept session or paper proposals that substantially overlap with those presented at previous conferences or at previous editions of the ESSHC. If your session or paper proposal is a sequel to a session or paper you presented earlier, please state it explicitly in your submission and tell us how the new proposal will differ from the previous one(s).
  • prioritise session proposals, but reserve some time-slots to sessions stemming from paper proposals. We will also actively seek to place individual papers in appropriate session proposals.

When selecting papers, the chairs of the Labour Network will be guided by the following priorities:

  • multiple spatial contexts, rather than a single country.
  • a comparative approach.
  • balanced themes, approaches, and time-frames within the field of labour history and studies.
  • balanced composition of senior and junior researchers (including PhD and master students).
  • balanced gender representation among speakers, chairs, and discussants.

We will ask you to decide about the chairs and discussants in your accepted session. If you don’t provide us with any names by the time the final programme is due to be published, we or the ESSHC organisers will assign one chair and one discussant to your session. As a standard, sessions with five speakers have one chair but no discussant. In case you have any doubt regarding these criteria, please do not hesitate to contact us prior to your submission.

Find the Call as a PDF-File here: CfP Labour ESSHC 2025