Call for Papers: Rural History 2019 panel proposal – Rural Grain Markets in Early Modern Europe

RHN 125/2018 | Call

Organisers: Luca Mocarelli and Giulio Ongaro (University of Milan – Bicocca)

Rural History 2019, 10-13 September 2019, Paris, France

Deadline for paper proposals: 30 September 2018

Call for Papers:
Rural History 2019 Panel Proposal
Rural Grain Markets in Early Modern Europe (XVIXVIII centuries)

In the last years, many articles and books analysed the functioning of the markets in pre-industrial Europe, and particularly the level of integration of the international markets (European and extra-European ones), in order to answer the question “When did globalisation begin?” (that is also the title of two articles by O’Rourke and Williamson [1]). More, other authors focused on the relationship between market integration and economic development.[2] These researches were mainly based on quantitative (price series) and qualitative analysis on the grain markets, considering them a functional case study in order to focus on the commercial exchanges at a regional, national and international level in Early Modern Europe.

In spite of the relevant results achieved by these researches, many elements remain unclear – according to the words of the authors quoted above themselves: first, the most part of the researches relied on “small databases … which are not particularly representative”[3] Few markets, exclusively urban markets (while around 60% of the population relied on rural markets), that do not allow to understand the numerous levels of the grain markets (urban, rural, local, regional and over-regional, and so on). Second, often the quantitative analysis was not flanked by a qualitative one. However, quoting Victoria Bateman, “in order to explain why some economies had better developed markets […] we need to dig beneath the ‘proximate’ causes of market development to identify the more fundamental or underlying determinants”[4]. In other words, after the outlining of the degree of integration, we have to understand the underlying dynamics: first of all the role played by the institutions, of the commercial networks, of the relationship between production, demand and distribution in the shaping of the markets.

The panel aims to start a discussion on these elements, focusing on the rural grain markets in the various European countries in the Early Modern period. Papers can refer to (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The price series of grains in rural markets;
  • The regulation of the grain commerce in the rural areas;
  • The integration and the relationship between rural markets and urban ones (at a regional and over-regional level);
  • The economic players: merchants, salesmen, and so on;
  • The relationship between rural markets and agricultural production;
  • The relationship between rural markets and the trend of the food demand;

Paper proposals on every European area in the period considered are welcome. The proposals (max 500 words) can be sent to the session organisers Giulio Ongaro ( and Luca Mocarelli ( before Sunday 30th September 2018.


[1] K. H. O’Rourke/J. G. Williamson, “When did globalisation begin?”, European Review of Economic History, Vol. 6, Issue 1, April 2002, 23-50; Id., “Once more: when did globalisation begin?”, European Review of Economic History, Vol. 8, Issue 1, April 2004, 109-117.

[2] See for example V. N. Bateman, “The evolution of markets in early modern Europe, 1350–1800: a study of wheat prices”, Economic History Review, Vol. 64, Issue 2, May 2011, 447-471; Id., Markets and Growth in Early Modern Europe. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012.

[3] D. Chilosi/T. Murphy/R. Studer/A. C. Tunçer, “Europe's many integrations: geography and grain markets, 1620–1913”, Explorations in Economic History, 50 (1), 46-68, p. 47.

[4] V. N. Bateman, Markets and Growth, 127.

Conference website:

The Rural History 2019 Call for Panels can be found in RHN 70/2018.