CfP: Mining Mobilities across the Globe. Labour, Science, and Knowledge Circulation in Mining (15th-21st century)

Call for papers, *EXTENDED DEADLINE* 30 June 2023

Call for Papers: “Labour In Mining” at the 5th ELHN Conference

Uppsala, 11–13 June 2024

Deadline: 30 June 2023

ELHN’s “Labour In Mining” working group invites proposals for papers for the 5th European Labour History Network conference. The event takes place from 11–13 June 2024 in Uppsala, Sweden, and is organised by the Swedish Labour Movement’s Archives and Library.

Mining mobility and knowledge circulation have played a pivotal role in extractive industries worldwide. The movement of workers, technologies, and knowledge has been mediated by state authorities, corporations, and subcontractors through alluring and forced forms of recruitment. Alongside these trajectories, men and women from neighbouring and distant territories moved to newly reopened mines to search for new deposits and improve their social and economic conditions.

When following mediated and non-mediated trajectories, workers produced new techniques and used various systems of knowledge about nature and the environment which were often adopted and/or expropriated from local and Indigenous experts. This renewed attention on mobility and circulation has shed new light on the importance of global history in the study of mining activities. At the same time, a micro-historical approach -which focuses on moving actors and the techniques employed in multiple places - provides new and cross-disciplinary avenues of research on the complex world of mining.

In recent decades, the growing demand for renewable energy has renewed attention to the study of mobility and knowledge circulation in contemporary and past societies across the world. By situating present issues in longer historical trajectories, the history of mining mobilities is a promising field for interdisciplinary inquiry that seeks to offer new analytical tools to deal with our present. This panel aims to start this conversation by bringing together ECRs and scholars from various disciplines such as history, anthropology, archeology, sociology, geography and science and technology studies with a particular focus on the period spanning from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to): the forced and non-mediated recruitment of labourers across mining regions; the relationship between labour networks and subcontracting; the gendered dimension of knowledge production in mining activities; the role of Indigenous knowledge in the development of mining capitalism. In general, priority will be given to submissions that intertwine analysis of mobility and knowledge circulation with examinations of the socio-economic impacts on communities and labour conditions. 

We invite colleagues working on mining mobilities from various regions in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas and different time periods to submit abstracts that addresses one or more of the following themes:

● Forced/voluntary im/mobilities
● Technology and knowledge circulation
● Mobility networks
● Anthropology of mobility
● Labour and community buildings
● Indigenous and local knowledge
● Skilled artisans, technicians, and engineers

The Labour in Mining (LiM) Working Group is a cross-disciplinary network of ECRs and scholars that aims to explore the historical understanding of extractive activities from a long-term perspective. This panel will provide an opportunity to colleagues to discuss their research in an engaging, inclusive, and respectful environment. Interested scholars are invited to submit a 400-words abstract and a brief biography (max 250 words) by June 30, 2023 to with the title “Mining Mobility_ELHN2024_Proposal”. Abstracts will be reviewed by the panel organisers and successful applicants will be notified by July 31, 2023.

If you need any further information, please write to

5th Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN), Uppsala (11-13 June 2024).

Francesca Sanna (University of Reims)
Gabriele Marcon (Durham University)
José Joaquin Garcia Gomez (University of Almeria)