CfP: Health, Environment and Labour in Mining (session at the III ELHN Conference)

Call for Papers, deadline 14 September 2018

Third Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN) Amsterdam, 19-21 September 2019

Joint Call for Papers
Working Group "Labour in Mining"
Working Group "Occupational Health and Environmental Labour History (19th-21th c.)"

Call for Papers for a Session on "Health, Environment and Labour in Mining"

Labour history has for long studied mining areas as emblematic fields to tackle the history of the workforce, mobilizations and industrial relations. More recently, social sciences have addressed the mines as places of huge catastrophes and risks, occupational hazards and diseases being at the core of the attention of scholars which have lately renewed the history of this specific work environment. The ELHN working groups "Labour in Mining" and "Occupational Health and Environmental Labour History (19th-21th c.)" launch a shared call for papers on "Health, Environment and Labour in Mining" for the next ELHN conference to be held in Amsterdam between the 19 and 21 September 2019.

We want to address more particularly the following topics:

1. Studies of business cases: analysis of business management of risks and occupational diseases in mining. The analysis of business documentation and others supplementary sources provide us information about how to confront the morbidity and the mining accident risks by the companies. Many elements and actors came together here leading to an influence on the evolution of entrepreneurial behaviour. The analysis not only focus on large and medium companies, which accounts with plenty of documentation, but also on small companies, whom behaviour can be addressed in mining basins.

2. Conflicts and debates on the notion of "risk" in mining. Mining is one of the sectors with the highest accident rate. We want to address the evolution of the importance given to the occupational risks, the measures taken to prevent accidents, the liability of companies, the necessary economic compensations, etc. Sources are numerous, in particular court cases on occupational hazards, which provide interesting information on the various stakeholders of this history.

3. Specific pathologies of occupational risk in mining (silicosis, lead poisoning, hydrargirism, Hookworm infection, etc.). Most of the diseases occurring in mining areas are not specific and are shared with other types of productive activities. Some of them have had a very high incidence in the mining basins, as Hookworm infection, which is known as "miner's anaemia". We invite all papers dealing with the history of knowledge about occupational diseases in mining areas and the role played by mining companies and doctors in the disclosure of these diseases.

4. Environmental aspects of the mining processes. Mining generates a significant impact on the environment, both by the extraction process itself and in activities related to the selection and treatment of minerals. These effects remain even after the industrial activity has ended. Some of these consequences can be classified as ecological disasters. The environmental aspects not only affected the health of miners, but they have had an effect on the population of a variable area around the productive zones. Some of them produced new landscapes and made happen environmental conflicts. It is a complex issue, which continues to produce currently contrasted visions of its impact on the environment.

The proposed topics are not independent, but rather have a relationship. The proposals may cover several topics indicated above.

Deadline for abstracts submissions

Please send an abstract (max. 400 words) before September 14th, 2018.
The outcome of the selection will be communicated by October 2018.

How to apply

Please send an abstract (max. 400 words) and a short academic CV (max. 400 words) to The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: "Health, Environment and Labour in Mining at ELHN2019". If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

For questions and additional information contact:

Judith Rainhorn (University Paris-1 Pantheon-Sorbonne,
Miguel A. Perez de Perceval Verde (University of Murcia,
Leda Papastefanaki (University of Ioannina & IMS/FORTH,
Francesca Sanna (Paris Diderot University, ED 382, UFR GHES, Lab LIED,


The Third Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN) will take place on 19-21 September 2019 in Amsterdam, in the International Institute of Social History.