Rural History 2017

Leuven, Belgium

The conference took place in Leuven (Belgium) from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 September 2017. The organisation was in the hands of ICAG (the Interfaculty Center for Agrarian History, University of Leuven), in collaboration with CORN (Comparative Rural History 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 was 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 encouraged all participants to present their newest and most promising research. We particularly welcomed papers which introduced unknown source material, developed new concepts or methods, and explored the connections between rural history and related research fields via a comparative, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach. The keynote papers offered an opportunity to rural historians for critical self-reflection regarding their own research in relationship to adjacent disciplines and current societal debates.

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