Welcome to Leuven!
It is a great pleasure to announce Rural History 2017, the third biennial conference of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO). The success of the previous conferences – the inaugural meeting in Brighton (2010) and the conferences in Bern (2013) and Girona (2015) – prove that EURHO meets a real need.
The forthcoming conference will take place in Leuven (Belgium) from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 September 2017. The organisation is in the hands of ICAG (the Interfaculty Center for Agrarian History, University of Leuven), in collaboration with the CORN (Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area) research network.
The EURHO conferences aim at promoting the exchange of recent research results and fostering co-operation between scholars engaged in the history of rural Europe and of its interaction with other parts of the world, from ancient times up to the present. Consequently the conference in Leuven will be open to all interesting proposals within a broad range of themes and covering different historical periods and regions.
Rural history, indeed, has no clear spatial borders, nor precise time frames. It is a multifaceted research field that stretches from the production of foodstuffs, feed, fibres and flowers, to food processing and consumption; from productive land use to tourism in the countryside; from agricultural technology to village life. Rurality is in fact an analytical category, at the crossroads of economic and social, political and cultural, anthropological and environmental history. And far from presenting a univocal story about the evolution from local tradition to global modernity, the history of the rural world deals with unequal constructions of food availability, power, wealth, gender and social well-being. In this sense, the history of the rural past shows many similarities with the current world food problem and the problem of rural development.
For this third EURHO conference, we encourage all participants to present their newest and most promising research. We particularly welcome papers which introduce unknown source material, develop new concepts or methods, and explore the connections between rural history and related research fields via a comparative, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach. The keynote papers will offer an opportunity to rural historians for critical self-reflection regarding their own research in relationship to adjacent disciplines and current societal debates.
International conferences of this size, with 300 or more participants, are the result of the intense and friendly collaboration of many people. On behalf of ICAG, I would like to thank the Management Committee of EURHO for their trust and all those who contribute to the success of the conference for their enormous commitment.
Leen Van Molle
Chair of the Scientific Committee