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.
28. Polish Historical Demography. Past, Present, Future
Polish Historical Demography
Past, Present, Future
I dedicate this article to Professor Jacques Dupâquier who passed away on 23 July 2010: thanks to him, I was seduced by demographic and social studies, when I attended in Paris the first training course of Historical Demography at EHESS, in 1981.
In Poland, before the Second World War, some studies about the demography of the past were available, although they did not exceed the preliminary phase realized by means of traditional methods: they presented population figures from fiscal sources and historical censuses or other population registers. Polish historians compiled these sources and traced local demographic trends, comparing provinces, voïvodies, powiats, parishes and villages. We should underline however that already then, particularly during the 5th General Conference of the Polish Historians in Vilnius, in 1935, Franciszek Bujak, co-founder, with Jan Rutkowski, of the Roczniki Dziejów Spolecznych i Godpodarczych (Annals of social and economic history), an academic journal similar in its aim to the French Annales E.S.C., not only used the term “historical demography”, but also announced an ambitious research program in this field. Parish registers of marriages, baptisms and burials as Status animarum played a major role in this project (Bujak 1935). Let us not forget either that Zofia Daszynska-Golinska, well-known Polish economist, sociologist and demographer used to represent Poland as a delegate at many international academic meetings.2
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