CfP: Guest-workers of the World

Call for papers, deadline 5 September 2023


5th ELHN Conference

Uppsala, 11-13 June 2024


ELHN’s “Labour Migration History” working group invites proposals for papers for the Fifth 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.


So-called guest-workers programs spread out in many transnational contexts during and after the Second World War through agreements that involved various actors at the national and transnational levels. Much has been done in relation to specific cases, but we aim to bring together the different historical context in which they were developed to draft a picture of guest-worker programs at the global level. We are looking for papers about labor programs established under binational agreements in the period 1942-1973 in any world region.


Empirical works related to this topic are welcome by colleagues of any career level. We invite colleagues working on guest-worker programs from various regions in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas to submit abstracts that addresses one or more of the following themes (but not limited to): 


- process of recruitment and establishing of processing centers;

- process of mobility and sites of immobilization;

- negotiation between states;

- labor contract’s condition under the binational agreement;

- coercion, indebtment, discriminations and racialization;

- protests, self-organization of guest-workers and connection with unions;

- deportation and repatriation;

- workers’ perspective of life and working conditions abroad;

- cultures of mobility;

- national identity making through the guest-worker program;

- relation between the program and economic transformations (i.e. agrarian reforms, displacement, extractivism, etc)


We are looking for proposals for individual papers of max. 300 words. They should include your name, current affiliation, email address, an indication of whether they are participating onsite or online, and be sent to the coordinating committee by September 5, 2023.


For further questions, please contact the coordination committee:


Claudia Bernardi:

Anna Batzeli: