CFP: The Road to Global Inequality, 1945-Present day: New Historical Perspectives

Christian Olaf Christiansen's picture
Call for Papers
November 3, 2016 to November 4, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Contemporary History, Human Rights, Intellectual History, World History / Studies

Call for papers: The Road to Global Inequality, 1945-Present Day: New Historical Perspectives

Conference to be held in November 3rd- 4th, 2016, at Aarhus University, Denmark

Deadline for abstracts (1 p.): July 7th

Keynote speakers (confirmed)
• Göran Therborn (Cambridge, UK), author of The Killing Fields of Inequality
• Michael J. Thompson (William Paterson University, USA), author of The Politics of
Inequality: A Political History of the Idea of Economic Inequality in America

• Ravinder Kaur (University of Copenhagen), author of Since 1947: Partition Narratives
among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi

• Morten Jerven (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), author of Africa: Why Economists
Get it Wrong

Special invited participants (confirmed)
• Pedro Ramos-Pinto (Cambridge, UK), head of the Inequality and History Network,
Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge

About the conference
The present is characterized by a globalized economy, global inequality and poverty,
and by very uneven protection of social and economic human rights. Immense
human suffering and inequality of life conditions thus stand side by side with historically
unprecedented wealth, technology, and productive capacities. This is a paradox
that is well known. It continues, however, to define our contemporary world.
The two-day conference ‘The Road to Global Inequality, 1945-Present Day’ will examine
the post-second world war historical trajectories of this present. The aim of the
conference is to explore and combine new or less developed historical themes and
explanations of our current situation.
The conference will focus on the following six themes and their relation to inequality:
1. Decolonization and development: How have processes of decolonization influenced
inequality? What roles have development, development thinking and development
aid played?
2. Social and economic rights: Why have socioeconomic rights shown so little efficiency
in relation to poverty and inequality reduction? What does the history of
particular economic and social rights look like, and how might these histories help
shed light on the history of global inequality? And, more broadly, how can legal
histories shed new light on the history of global inequality?
3. International organizations: How have particular international organizations taken
up the challenge of global inequality? What have they done which have hindered
or promoted it?
4. Business, markets and states: How can we map the historical trajectories of business,
markets and state-based approaches to poverty and inequality? How,
when, and why has the institutional landscape changed in relation to poverty
reduction strategies? What explains the recent couple of decades’ increasing turn
to the private sector and business in poverty reduction?
5. Intellectual histories of inequality: How have various actors conceptualized, legitimized
or criticized international inequality, for example by arguing that inequality
is inevitable, necessary, or even desirable?
6. Political and intellectual histories of debt, tax, and trade: How have debt, tax and
trade been debated and conceptualized in international debates as determining
features of the growth in inequality? What alternative approaches to handling
these three areas featured in the global domain?

While the main focus on the conference will be on the time after 1945, we welcome
paper proposals that move into the pre-1945 era as well.

The conference is organized by Christian Olaf Christiansen, Associate Professor at
the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University (author of Progressive Business:
An Intellectual History of the Role of Business in American Society) and Steven L. B.
Jensen, Post.Doc. at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen (author of
The Making of International Human Rights: The 1960s, Decolonization and the Reconstruction
of Global Values). The conference is funded by the Danish Council for
Independent Research and its Sapere Aude program.

• July 7th (7/7): deadline for 1-page abstract (max 500 words) + 1-page CV (max
500 words). Please submit to All people will be notified
shortly hereafter, and the conference webshop will be opened (please follow
link on the conference website).
• October 21st: deadline for submission of a 5-7 pages short paper (max 3500
• November 3rd-4th: Two days conference in Aarhus, Denmark

Conference fee
950 DKR (ca.130 euro/145 USD); Ph.D.-students: 650 DKR (ca. 90 euro/100 USD).
Conference fee includes conference material, lunches and the conference dinner
on Thursday, November 3rd). We expect all participants to join us both days as well
as for the conference dinner. We do not offer to help pay for travel or accommodation.
We welcome participation of people who are not giving papers at the conference.
Practical information
For more information about payment, accommodation and other practical information,
please see our conference website:

Social media: keep an eye out for #globalinequality16 on twitter.

We look forward to seeing you in Aarhus in November 2016!

Contact Info: 

Main organizer: Christian Olaf Christiansen, Associate Professor, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University. Co-organizer: Steven Jensen, post.doc., Danish Institute for Human Rights. In case of any questions for the conference, please use the conference email address: