CfP: Health Down in the Mine. Stakeholders and Healthcare systems

Call for papers, deadline 9 September 2018


Healthcare issues in the world of mining have lately been the focus of renewed interest among historians and social scientists, especially for silicosis. Concurrently, it remains a hot topic worldwide, of undisputed import for the future. The Centre Historique Minier is organising an exhibition on this theme (September 2018 – May 2019), and is now calling for papers for an international conference to be held in Lewarde (France) to coincide with it, precisely on 4 and 5 April 2019. They will be part of an entire series of events organised to mark the centenary of the French law on occupational disease (25 October 1919).



Stakeholders and Healthcare systems

International Conference

4 and 5 April 2019

Musée de la mine du Nord/Pas-de-Calais

Centre d’archives - Centre de culture scientifique de l’énergie

Fosse Delloye - CS. 30039 - 59287 Lewarde - France

Tél. 03 27 95 82 82 - Fax. 03 27 95 82 83 - Email : - Internet:


The conference organised by the Centre Historique Minier, the largest mining museum in France, intends to draw on the abundant scientific literature already available on the issue of miners’ working conditions, with reference to various intertwining disciplines, in history (labour history, environmental history, history of medicine), and in social sciences across the board. The conference wishes to tackle this blind spot in research, namely the topic of health down in the mine, in its full historical context, including the healthcare systems, throughout the world of mining, which governed and organised the coverage of pathologies and injuries; the origins and development of these systems; the stakeholders operating them, the involvement or not of those they catered to; and lastly, the consequences of systemic organisation on the social fabric, especially on a local scale.

Consequently, the scope of the conference will embrace the occurrence of mining-related accidents and diseases, the standards governing their coverage, practicalities involving the treatment of injured and sick workers and how healthcare organisation was considered on various scales. It shall however exclude certain fields that have already been the subject of extensive research, such as the major catastrophes and safety policies stricto sensu. Rather than restricting the topic to France and coal-mining, proposals may focus on any type of mine (lead, uranium, diamonds, etc.), all geographical areas (Europe, the Americas, Asia, colonised and post-colonial regions) and on various scales (legislation and national prevention policies, implementation on a local scale, etc.). The conference will furthermore embrace various disciplines, calling for proposals not only from historians, but also other social scientists (in sociology, law, political science, ethnology and demographics) - and will involve stakeholders in mining healthcare systems. The period envisaged covers the intensification of mining in a broadly contemporary era, from the 18th century through to the present day, in a timeline which may be subject to modification given the space under consideration.

The paper proposals are to fall within any of the following four themes. These are obviously not exclusive and the steering committee members shall examine all proposals on the conference theme.

_ Coverage and health risk prevention

The first theme focuses on the recognition, gradual coverage and specific prevention of health risks in mining (everyday injuries and pathologies related to the exposure to dust or certain dangerous substances). These phenomena are related to the development of the labour relations peculiar to industrial societies; they are also inseparable from the transformation of productive systems. We may thus investigate how the impact of technological innovations on the labour force’s state of health is measured or examine more accurate indicators (prerecruitment medical examinations for example). We shall also take into account the developments in regulations and the legal framework, at corporate level as well as that of public authorities, which both reflect the coverage of health risks as well as aim to prevent or them or attenuate their effects. How for example did companies seek to contain damage? Did they incorporate health prevention measures into occupational training? How did legislators and court decisions integrate these issues?

_ The organisation of healthcare systems

Here we shall examine the origins and transformations of healthcare systems during the industrial  era: how did outpatient medicine, hospital medicine and preventive medicine all  evolve? A primary lead may focus on the projects and the public policies governing the organisation of these healthcare systems; we shall pay attention to the many debates and social movements surrounding their edification. More specific approaches may look at specific regions or types of mining. Similarly, they may consider the specifics of certain regions (e.g. colonised

lands). They are to ponder a certain number of places and types of infrastructure (surgeries, dispensaries, hospitals and convalescent homes), as the tangible manifestation of these healthcare systems. Looking beyond individual approaches, it would also be appropriate to develop a comparison of regional and national configurations, various types of medical checkups and institutions. In the same vein, proposals may focus on broader themes, for example financial and budgetary aspects and insurance systems.



_ The stakeholders

The origins and development of mining-relatedhealthcare systems involve many stakeholders whose intentions could be either complementary or antagonistic. The medical profession is obviously the first to come to mind. It may be analysed in all its diversity, over the course of history (professionalisation, development of occupational health), looking at the various statuses (doctors employed by mining companies, in private practices and hospitals), and taking into account, yet again, how the various regions and countries differ. The role of the national government and public authorities, at all levels (central government, mining corps and local councils), can also be the focus of proposals, especially with a comparative view. The active role played by labour movements (trade unions and political parties) in the sphere of the definition of health risks and the implementation of healthcare systems are also themes we are interested in. Lastly we shall examine the attitudes, requests and forms of action taken by the various categories of mine workers (from the actual workers to line managers and engineers), concerning for example their relationships with medical staff and preventive measures, especially in the event of contradiction with the corporate aim of productivity.

_ The mines, their specifics and how they relate to public health issues in general

Far from stating a priori that the world of mining was specific to the point of resembling no other line of business, we would like to question the potential forms of interaction and circulation between the healthcare systems developed in mining on the one hand and the healthcare and occupational health policies implemented in other sectors and in the production system taken as a whole. To what extent did the inherent danger and the arduous nature of mining, or at least their greater prominence, contribute to making the latter a form of laboratory for labour and healthcare policies in an occupational setting? For example, to what extent have research and preventive measures implemented in this setting been transposed to other settings and professional fields? Did mining doctors develop forms of collaboration or initiatives based on their field of expertise? A contrario, did corporatist trends and specific statuses peculiar to certain types of mining not generate, at least in some cases, a certain isolationism demonstrated by stakeholders working in miners’ healthcare systems? Yet again, a comparative approach will be appreciated, in order to better leverage the various trends and patterns that may come to light.



Members of the permanent scientific team at the Centre Historique Minier

_ Amy Benadiba, Director and Curator

_ Virginie Malolepszy, Director of Archives

_ Gérard Dumont, Professor of history, working for the Centre Historique Minier

Representatives of the Centre Historique Minier’s scientific council

_ Jean-Louis Escudier, CNRS CEMM Research Officer at the University of Montpellier

_ Marion Fontaine, Conference Speaker in contemporary history at the University of Avignon

_ Judith Rainhorn, Professor of contemporary history at the University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne

_ Michel Poilevé, former Head Mining Engineer

In partnership with the Network of European Coal Mining Museums



The paper proposals, of about one page, including titles and author credentials, are to be sent by 9 September 2018 to: .

The Steering Committee shall come to its decisions in October 2018. The speeches, in French or English, shall be limited to 30 minutes. The Centre Historique Minier will publish the conference minutes in digital form.



The organisers will cover the following for the speakers:

_ Conference enrolment fees

_ Travelling expenses

_ Accommodation (up to three nights)

_ Meals throughout the stay


Attached document(s)