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4th Conference of the European Society of Historical Demography


4th Conference of the European Society of Historical 



March 2-5, 2022


Call for papers and sessions


It has been over a year since the COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic and a public health emergency of global concern. While researchers in all disciplines and from all parts of the world have increasingly turned to the question of how we confront today’s unfolding epidemiologi-cal crisis, using broad historical lenses and a long empirical research tradition of historical demogra-phy can contribute substantially to this debate. With this in mind, we would like to announce that the 4th ESHD conference leading theme is 


Human–environmental nexus in the past:

understanding links between demographic variability, ecology and disease


Participants are encouraged to engage with and link across three different streams of historical social science analysis:  

the diversity of historical demographic behaviour across space and time; 

the study of historical health, disease and morbidity conditions; 

and human-environmental interactions in the past. 


The demographic diversity of historical societies has been expressed in a myriad of ways, but the factors and processes that shaped that diversity remain largely unknown. However, it has been long recognized that populations respond to their ecological contexts in multiple ways, by organizing and adapting their forms of living and behaviour given the environments in which they lived. Both de-mographic variability, as well as the ecological factors shaping it, may, together affect how popula-tions and individuals responded to disease risk factors, the spread of pandemics, or various other forms of epidemiological crises. Multi-layered inter-dependencies between demographic structures, environmental factors and short- and long-term exogenous shocks thus created are, however, poorly understood and remain a puzzle to be addressed by research. 


With this call, we would like to invite the members of the Society to address the relationship be-tween historical demographic structures and processes, and environmental factors, health and dis-ease, as well as addressing the mechanisms underpinning these interactions. We encourage the use of the most appropriate data and methods for modelling cross-sectional or longitudinal data and studying individual and collective responses to the combined effects of these forces in a spatio-temporal perspective. Some example research questions might be:


•How do environmental conditions affect demographic behaviour across space and time?

What was its mechanism, its major drivers, and the latter’s interaction with socioeconomic, cultural, and other factors? 

How far does the demographic and environmental specificity of historical populations help us understand the different ways that they responded to external epidemiological stressors?

Can the links between demographic variability, ecology and disease be explained in a univer-sal model, or should we rather consider many geographically disparate relationship patterns and interactions? 


We invite researchers to propose individual papers or complete session proposals focused on the above-mentioned topics. As usual, paper or full session proposals dealing with other themes in historical demography and family history are also welcome! 



To submit a proposal, just go on then click on "4th ESHD Conference Ma-drid", then on "Submission Form". Deadline is September 26, 2021.



Whatever happens, the conference will take place. We hope that it will take place in person, but if the health situation requires it, we will adapt. 



Important dates:


April 29, 2021Call for papers & sessions and web ready for submissions

September 26, 2021Deadline for paper/session proposals and pre-registration

October 15, 2021Notification for acceptance to authors/session organizers

November 15, 2021Announcement of V1 of the scientific program

January 15, 2021Deadline for the early registration

January 31, 2022Announcement of final scientific program

March 2–5, 2022Fourth ESHD Conference in Madrid, Spain