CfP: Rent Strikes. A Global History

Call for papers, deadline 30 June 2022

Working title of the edited volume: Rent Strikes. A Global History

Editors: Hannes Rolf (Uppsala University) and Lucas Poy (International Institute of Social History / VU Amsterdam)

The social relationship that is renting has a long and contentious history. Tenants, be they urban renters or tenant farmers, have on many occasions throughout history mobilized collectively in order to make claims and force their landlords into concessions. While industrial action has received quite a lot of academic attention, the collective action of tenants has hitherto been somewhat neglected, with some noteworthy exceptions. While several important studies have covered such topics as the Irish Land Wars, the Glasgow Rent strike of 1915, the New York tenants´ movement and tenant farmers in India, there is a lack of scholarly attempts to examine the phenomenon of tenant collective mobilization and rent contention in an international perspective. This is something that we hope to remedy.

The goal of the volume is to offer an overview of tenants’ struggles in different geographies and time periods, in order to identify both common trends and peculiarities over time and throughout the world. Despite the working title, we welcome not only studies about rent “strikes”, but also different episodes of resistance, organization, and direct action in which tenants protested and showed their initiative to fight for their rights. Although we expect that most contributions will deal with housing in urban environments in the 20th and 21st centuries, we very much look forward to receiving studies of rural geographies, as well as contributions about periods before 1900.

We welcome both case studies of a certain region/country and comparative assessments that bring together several struggles or places. Since the volume aims to provide a global overview for academics as well as the general public, we expect all contributions to situate their cases against a broader historical background that informs the readers about local developments. Moreover, we look forward to manuscripts that in all cases reflect over the role played by ethnic, national, and gender differences in the development of these struggles.

Schedule and deadlines:

-        An abstract of no more than 500 words, together with a short bio and contact details, must be sent to the editors ( and no later than 30 June 2022.

-        The editors will get in touch with the contributors to inform whether the proposals are accepted on 31 July 2022 at latest.

-        Several online meetings/workshops to further discuss the volume will be organized throughout September and October 2022 (specific dates will be agreed with the participants). Editorial instructions will be shared at this stage.

-        The chapters (max. 12,000 words) are due on 31 March 2023. After this, an updated schedule will be shared with the authors regarding the review and editorial process.