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A Global History of Historical Demography

Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity

Edited By Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan and Sølvi Sogner

At the XXIst World Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) in 2010 in Amsterdam, the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD) decided to write an overview of its own history. Fifty years had gone by since the CISH XIst World Congress in Stockholm 1960, when historians took the first tentative initiatives to create a wholly new interdisciplinary commission for historical demography, a meeting place for a budding discipline where researchers in letters and science could meet, exchange ideas, cultivate and develop a new field. This book is the outcome of that decision.

Demography, past, present and future is a common concern for all inhabitants of this planet. The variation is great, however, with regard to sources, social and political conditions, state of the art, technological development, national and local initiatives. In the course of half a century many changes take place. Keeping abreast of the gigantic streams of information and innovation in the field is demanding, even more so for a discipline with global dimensions and ambitions. The book makes fascinating reading, and preparing it has been a rewarding and thought provoking experience. The thirty-seven articles in the book represent as many different stories.

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1. Historical Demography and International Network Developments (1928–2010)


Historical Demography and International Network Developments (1928–2010)


Historical demography was acknowledged in 1960 as an autonomous discipline within history.2 The idea to create an International Commission of Historical Demography (ICHD/CIDH)3 within the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHD/CISH) was presented at a main session in Stockholm, during the XIth International (World) CISH Congress of Historical Sciences.4 The demographer Louis Henry (1911–1991) gave then a formal presentation of the methods of historical demography and its potential development.5 The intellectual origins of this Commission, which celebrated its 50th anniversary during the XXIst World Congress of Historical Sciences, 2010, Amsterdam, were presented and placed in the post WW II context (Fauve-Chamoux 2010; Sogner 2010).6

In order to understand the timing of these developments, we have first to consider in detail the general trend of the discipline before the mentioned 1960 Stockholm event occurred. It is also interesting to consider the development of the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD/CIDH) taking into account the history of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) during the 20th century (Erdmann et al 2005), and how these academic networks not only survived but expanded worldwide. ← 15 | 16 →

Three main phases will be considered, articulated around two important key years or turning points, 1976 and 1996. In 1976, coterminous with the bicentennial year of the United States independence, the first Social Science History Association (SSHA) Conference was held in the USA. In 1996 the...

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