RURAL HISTORY CONFERENCE 2017 - International food markets and local production systems in the 19th-early 20th centuries

Silvia Antonia Conca's picture
Call for Papers
September 11, 2017 to September 14, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Economic History / Studies, Business History / Studies, European History / Studies, World History / Studies

Rural History Conference 2017

11-14 September, Leuven

Call for papers

International food markets and local production systems

in the 19th-early 20th centuries

Abstract Number 23

Panel Organiser:

Silvia A. Conca Messina -  Department of Historical Studies - University of Milan, Italy

The aim of the session is to highlight the way that international food markets developed during a period of significant change in agriculture and the agro-industry. The discovery and deployment of innovative production, processing and preserving technologies - together with improved transport systems over long distances - led to the growth of the food trade. Colonialism, migration, a growing urban population and increased purchasing power all played a major role in shaping this transformation. The storage and distribution of food came to be crucial to millions of people, while ongoing globalisation would turn into a great opportunity for those producers and traders who were able to expand their businesses over a wider area, connecting local and international contexts. Local production systems in particular were affected by a profound transformation since they were involved in the new international foodstuffs markets.

The purpose of the panel is to offer some reflections and inspire new research, in order to develop the analysis of food market globalisation up to WWI. Taking into consideration the major actors in the process of economic and social transformations, the papers aim to underline the relationship between economic policies, trading companies’ strategies, innovative technologies in the international context and in local economic changes, e.g. in agricultural systems and farming, manufacturing organisation and communication.

The insights are expected to embrace a wide international perspective, presenting contributions about different countries and local realities in Europe and/or its interaction with other parts of the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Papers may address but are not limited to:

  • the relationship between the development of international markets and the transformation of local farming systems, manufacturing and food processing;
  • the role of urban consumption and policies in the promotion of food production, manufacturing, trading and marketing;
  • the action and interaction of major players (states, political economy and institutions, entrepreneurs, technology) in fostering local economic development or the exploitation of resources;
  • the influence of colonialism on the organisation of the foodstuffs’ supply chains.

Presenters and provisional titles:

Silvia A. Conca Messina (University of Milan, Italy): Growth of international markets and transformation of local production systems in the Italian agri-food sector (1861-1914)

João Pereira dos Santos, Leonor Ferreira, Maria Eugénia Mata (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal): The Coffee business in the colonial system: The Angolan Cazengo Corporation before WWI

If you’re interested in joining our panel 

please send an e-mail to Silvia Conca at

by 31st January 2017 with a 200-word abstract of your paper proposal and a brief CV.

Contact Email: