ESSHC 2018: Elites and forerunners network call for papers & sessions

ESSHC 2018 in Belfast, 4-7 April 2018

Elites and forerunners network

Call for papers & sessions (deadline 1 May, 2017)

Elites and forerunners network recommends a dynamic approach to the history of elites. Elites are seen primarily as forces of societal change, not only as holders of status and privilege or agents of stagnation. The decline and subsequent downfall of historical elites, sometimes followed by a re-emergence, also deserve attention. To get a full picture about our theme, elite formations should be explored across the full length of their life span and even beyond.

The network invites individual papers that focus on the history of elites understood in the widest possible sense. We also look for participants willing to organize complete sessions of four to five papers around a particular topic. Each session must include papers from and about several countries. Comparative sessions composed around thematic questions are favoured to epoch and geographically oriented sessions. Session organizers may and should invite participants to join their session, but the acceptance of papers and the final organization of sessions rests with the network.

The network welcomes theoretical, methodological and conceptual approaches. Sessions organised around particular/unusual types of source material are also recommended. Sessions may be organised also in workshop, roundtable or meet-the-author form.

For the 2018 conference, the network particularly promotes the following topics, related to the history of Belfast and/or otherwise on the rise.

  • urban elites formed by shipbuilding and textile industries and commerce
  • emigrant elites in the “new country”
  • religious and nationalistic issues in relation to elite formation and elite conflict
  • radical elites  

The following special topics were suggested at the network meeting in Valencia in 2016 and through the Elites and forerunners FB page is external)

  • economic elites; practices and structures of their work; different sources of wealth
  • “big money”; semiotics and images of great wealth
  • semiotics of monarchy, national and international/transnational level
  • landed elites and lifestyles 2.0, with special focus on sports and other pastimes & rituals
  • heritage and preservation issues
  • elites during totalitarian regimes; the decline of traditional elites during communist regimes
  • rearrangement of elite positions after political or legislative regime change
  • patronage of arts as an elite function
  • philanthropy as an elite function
  • elites seen from the outside or “below”; images, semiotics, caricatures of elites
  • propaganda and argumentation for/against & critique of particular elites
  • revolutionary action aiming to overthrow particular elites
  • military elites
  • post-imperial elites, e.g. the former Habsburgian elites of the Central-European regions
  • women and elites; elite women
  • materiality of elites
  • international elite networks

As always, the potential topics of Elites and forerunners network include, but are not limited to

  • aspiring, established, stagnated, declining and former elites
  • imperial, national and/or nationalistic, separatist, international and trans-national elites
  • sub-state and local, rural and urban elites
  • elites away from home: colonial/colonialist, émigré and diaspora elites
  • elite lifestyles, family strategies, symbolisms and hierarchies
  • empires and their margins
  • court elites and court culture
  • military, religious, political and diplomatic elites
  • business and industrial elites
  • intellectual, academic, media, artistic and architectural elites
  • types, sources and strategies of power, status and distinction

To participate in the conference you must pre-register by 1 May, 2017, on the ESSHC website.

If you wish to propose a session, please contact the network chair in advance, at marja.h.e.vuorinen(at)