Happy belated New Year, I hope you have had a productive 2018 as we did at the International Economic History Association (IEHA). 2019 has been going on for a while, but I wanted to wait to send out the Call for Papers for the 2021 World Congress again, so apologies about the delay. We are now about eight months past the XVIIIth World Economic History Congress (WEHC), which took place in Boston in 2018. Here I will report on some of the activities at
the Congress, and reflect on the next one. Finally, I want to thank past officers of the Association and discuss future goals for the IEHA.
BOSTON WORLD CONGRESS
Details on the Boston Congress:
The Boston World Congress took place on July 30-August 3, 2018. The conference was a
rousing success. First of all, the conference venues, the MIT campus and the Marriott, were a
good fit for the conference, and attendees enjoyed the varied scholarly and other activities that
were a part of the meeting.
New American Mandolin Ensemble concert on August 1, 2018
The overall attendance for the conference was quite robust, 1500 registered participants in total,
which include a large number of students (282) and great representation of the global coverage
of our respective disciplines. In total, we had 67 different nations represented. The largest group
of scholars came from the host country, the United States, with 313 in total, to be followed by
the UK with 139. The 2015 host, Japan, came in third with 100 participants, and the 2021 host,
France, had 83 scholars in attendance.
In addition, the Boston World Congress featured several plenaries, and numerous rich
academic sessions, as well as poster sessions and dissertation competitions over the duration
of the Congress. Here are the winners of the prizes:
Dissertation Competition Winners
Ancient, medieval, early modern:
Markets of Exception: An Economic History of Impunity in Britain and France, 1720-1830
Trevor Jackson, University of California, Berkeley
British Economic Policy and Ireland, c.1841-53
Charles P. Read, Cambridge University
Financing the African Colonial State: Fiscal Capacity Building and Forced Labor
Marlous van Waijenburg, Northwestern University/University of Michigan
Poster Competition Winners
The Formation of the Theatre Market: A Socioeconomic Analysis of the Viennese Performing
Ryohei Oshio, Waseda University
Reshaping Global Trade: The Long Term Effects of Bank Failure
Chenzi Xu, Harvard University
Determinants of Mexican Migration in the Early 20th Century: Markets, Geography and
David Escamilla-Guerrero, London School of Economics
We would like to acknowledge the great contributions of all of the young scholars that
participated, but we would especially like to congratulate the winners! Furthermore, in total,
we featured 198 paper panels, with a wide range of topics and issues.
On behalf of the IEHA, I would like to thank the organizers for their hard work and success,
especially Professor Anne McCants, our current IEHA President, and Mr. Jeremy Land, the
conference manager, and the MIT. The response from the attendees has been uniformly
positive. Finally, the conference was also financially successful, with the budget balancing out.
Paris Congress Preparation:
As many of you know, the host for the 2021 World Congress is Paris, France. The primary
academic host is Campus Condorcet, with Professor Liliane Perez-Hilaire (EHESS) as the
incoming President. The effort has an impressive group behind it, from many local universities
as well as organizations like the Economic History Association.
Campus Condorcet in Paris
The preparations for 2021 are going well. The local hosts have lined up many accommodation
options that will be revealed later this year and next year. Moreover, the new Condorcet campus
is a great location for this type of international conference, and there is ample space for all the
sessions and events that will take place. The organizers have also lined up plans for plenaries
and speakers, which will be revealed next year in detail.
There are many places where you can find information about the Congress, including
the conference website: http://www.wehc2021.org/. The deadline for first round of session
proposals is June 30, 2019! You can submit your proposals here:
https://wehc2021.sciencesconf.org/. Please help us spread the word about this great conference.
You can also let your colleagues know that this is an interdisciplinary conference that
welcomes economic, business, social, world history proposals, as well as proposals from our
neighboring disciplines such as political science, sociology, and economics. Moreover, the
2021 Congress also has a social media presence, see e.g.
http://www.facebook.com/WEHC2021 and Twitter [@WEHC2021].
The IEHA officers
You can find more information about the organizational structure of the IEHA, its officers, and
the member organizations here: http://www.ieha-wehc.org/organization.html. The current
President is Professor Anne McCants, Vice-President is Professor Liliane Perez-Hilaire, the
Treasurer is Professor Marjolein t’Hart, and Secretary-General is yours truly (Jari Eloranta). In
Boston, as is customary with our rotation of three-year terms (with two terms maximum), we
welcomed several new Executive Council members (you can find a full list here:
http://www.ieha-wehc.org/executive-committee-members.html). Moreover, the IEHA would
like to gratefully acknowledge the service of outgoing EC members: Matthieu Arnoux, Joerg
Baten, Kris Inwood, Min Ma, Pablo Martin Acena, Irina Potkina, Knut Sogner, and John
Wallis. Your contributions to this organization were invaluable, and we hope to see you in
many future IEHA conferences again.
As the current Secretary-General, I am grateful to be able to work with such an interesting and
international group of scholars in the IEHA. It is extremely encouraging to see so many new
faces at the World Congresses, and to see how truly interdisciplinary our fields are. These kinds
of academic interactions foster exciting new ideas and findings, and that is the essence of what
the IEHA is about, to promote global discussions about past economic and social
developments. Moreover, I was particularly pleased to see so many younger scholars in
attendance at the World Congress. This reaffirms my belief in the longevity and vitality of our
I also wanted to briefly reflect on my personal goals in serving as the SG for the IEHA,
now in my second term. First, my goal is, as my past experience with many other organizations
attests to, continues to be to promote the study of economic and related disciplines globally. I
love being an economic historian, and we need to do more to promote this great discipline, and
welcome new students and ideas to the study of the past. To that end, I want to expand the
support IEHA provides to scholars coming from less affluent nations as well as to graduate
students. Second, I want to make sure IEHA is a transparent organization that national
representatives and organizations feel is an asset to them. Your voices are important, especially
in how we structure the EC and how we continue to develop the World Congresses in the future.
Third, I want to make sure IEHA is an organization that is welcoming and open to all scholars,
regardless of your academic affiliation, ethnicity, gender etc.
I hope you will spread the word about the organization, about the 2021 World Congress,
submit proposals and encourage your colleagues to follow suit, and keep news about economic
(et al.) history coming. You can also follow news and announcements at Economic and
Business History News: https://www.facebook.com/EBHSNews/. I hope to see many of you
in 2021, if not sooner.