Open Call: Rural History 2021 Session Participants “Environmental and Biological Hazards and Redistribution in Rural History”

RHN 64/2020 | Call

Organiser: Daniel R. Curtis, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Rotterdam

Rural History 2021, 23–26 August 2021, Uppsala, Sweden

Call for sessions deadline: 15 September 2020


Open Call: 
Environmental and Biological Hazards and Redistribution in Rural History

Participants sought for session at ‘Rural History Conference 2021’, August 23–26, Uppsala, Sweden. Session deadline is 15 September 2020, so initial expressions of interest are welcome before that date! Let me, Daniel R. Curtis, know at

Throughout history, environmental and biological hazards have caused distress and suffering for rural societies. However, as well as aggregate damages – sometimes leading to disasters – hazards also had powers of redistribution for wealth, property and resources. In some cases, this created a ‘leveling effect’, making societies more equitable, and in some cases, buffers, consolidation or speculation combined to further widen or entrench inequalities. Questions remain unanswered, however. What explains the different redistributive directions seen after hazards, and furthermore, what explains the different magnitudes of redistribution? Why is some redistribution more structural and long lasting, but other redistributive effects prove temporary and disappear quickly? Who gains from this redistribution, and who loses? In this session, we offer a set of papers on post-hazard redistribution of wealth, property and resources in the countryside. Focus can be on any environmental or biological hazard – epidemic disease, earthquake, or extreme weather event (leading to a flood, drought, ruination of crops) – during any period of history in any part of the rural world. Measurements of redistribution should be restricted to wealth, property, or resources that guarantee welfare, and the mechanisms of redistribution can range from the functioning of land and lease markets, inheritance systems, commodity markets, state interventions, and collective institutions such as poor relief and commons. The nature of redistribution can also be down various lines – not just between rich and poor, but also between men and women, between the elderly and the young, and between community ‘insiders’ and community ‘outsiders’ such as recent migrants.

The Rural History 2021 Call for Sessions can be found in RHN 61/2020.

Conference Website: