While academic specialisation in the human sciences continues and a focus on current events may seem urgent, there is a vivid need for reassessing and rethinking long-term processes in human history. Inquiries into these processes have become a broad and multidisciplinary affair, drawing on intellectual traditions across the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences.
The symposium is organised at the occasion of the appearance of a special journal issue on “Long-Term-Processes in Human History” of Historical Social Research (Volume 48 / 1, 2023). The issue – a tribute to the Dutch sociologist Johan Goudsblom – offers a challenging selection of contemporary scholarship. Shedding light on issues ranging from changes in family life and the global state system to encompassing socio-ecological transformations, the articles aim to uncover regularities and underlying mechanisms in (very) long-term social processes.
One of the editors, emeritus professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam Nico Wilterdink, will present main outlines and discuss the current state of research in this field. He will enter into the question of how the study of long-term social processes is related to pressing current problems and help clarify these problems. Subsequently, emeritus professor of Global Economic History at the University of Vienna, Peer Vries will comment on how the long-term view is elaborated and specified in this issue, suggesting additions and alternative interpretations, and presenting his own ideas on studying long-term social processes. The two presentations will be followed by a general discussion. Drinks afterwards.
The special issue of Historical Social Research contains articles by Nina Baur, David Christian, Randall Collins, Abram de Swaan, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Johan Goudsblom, Johan Heilbron, John R. McNeill, Stephen Mennell, André Saramago and Nico Wilterdink.
A limited number of copies of the issue will be freely available for the participants of this symposium. You can no longer register for this symposium.