The 22nd congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) took place in Jinan, China, August 23-29, 2015. This meeting included the second congress of NOGWHISTO, the Network of Global and World History Organizations. This report briefly describes the larger event and the NOGWHISTO meeting within it. Overall, it was a highly successful worldwide meeting of the historical profession, and a set of major steps forward for world history and its professionals.
The ICHS/CISH congress
The ICHS was founded in 1926 as the Comité International des Sciences Historiques (CISH), and has been affiliated with UNESCO since 1950. The Jinan meeting was only the third meeting outside of Europe and was the first in Asia. Over 900 international participants from 90 countries attended, plus some 2000 registrants from China. CISH/ICHS meets every five years—the last meeting was in Amsterdam (2010); the next meeting will be in Poznan, Poland (2020). Members of CISH are some 60 national affiliates (such as the American Historical Association) and over 20 international affiliated organizations (including NOGWHISTO). Opening keynotes were by Andrea Giardina of Pisa (incoming CISH president), Mamadou Fall of Cheikh-Anta Diop University in Senegal, and Xia Mingfang of Renmin University in Beijing. A searchable program of the congress is available online at http://www.ichschina2015.org/cms/Agendanew/1051.jhtml .
The Main Themes of the congress included “China from Global Perspectives,” “Historicizing Emotions,” “Revolutions in World History: Comparisons and Connections,” and “The Digital Turn in History.” In addition, the congress included sessions on 27 specialized themes, 18 joint sessions, and 19 roundtables—these were scheduled from Monday through Wednesday morning. From Wednesday afternoon through Friday, 17 international affiliated organizations (IAOs) held three sessions each. Leaders of CISH showed great interest in overcoming past Eurocentrism and in expanding global membership and global approaches to history.
Shandong University provided 500 student interns, available to assist at every turn, and emphasized its role as a center for study of world history. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of support emphasizing the fundamental importance of history in the social sciences, and sections of the congress were broadcast on national television.
The NOGWHISTO congress
NOGWHISTO, the Network of Global and World History Organizations, has affiliates from five continents plus the International Big History Association. At the August 27-28 sessions, Matthias Middell and Katja Naumann (Leipzig) presented a major paper, “The CISH and world history over the long 20th century,” with several formal comments. Four papers were presented on transnational, world, and global history (by Dominic Sachsenmaier, Mikhail Lipkin, Jie-Hyun Lim, and Rokhaya Fall). Four other papers were presented in a session on Big History. NOGWHISTO was the one IAO selected for a Friday evening session, on ethics and transnational history, organized by Jie-Hyun Lim and featuring Matthias Middell. At the NOGWHISTO business meeting, Mattias Middell completed his term as president 2010-2015; Jie-Hyun Lim of Sogang University (Seoul) was elected for a five-year term. Both Lim and Middell are members of the CISH Board, 2015-2020. A draft of a NOGWHISTO bibliography, with contributions on recent world history literature submitted from each affiliate, was circulated. A revised version of this bibliography will be published at the beginning of 2016.
In addition, here are notes on activities of the NOGWHISTO affiliates, as reported at the congress:
AAWH – Asian Association of World Historians. The third AAWH congress met in Singapore in May 2015. Shigeru Akita of Osaka University was elected president, and Rila Mukherjee of Hyderabad University was selected as chief editor of the Asian Review of World Histories. The AAWH website, damaged by a virus, will be reopened in October. The fourth conference will take place in Changchun, China, in 2018; it will be preceded by a governing workshop in Osaka in 2016.
ENIUGH – European Network in Universal and Global History
The 4th ENIUGH congress in Paris brought organizational membership up to 800. Gareth Austin of the Graduate Center in Geneva is completing his term as ENIUGH president.
WHA – World History Association
WHA held its 24th annual conference in Savanna, Georgia, in 2015, and has scheduled its 2016 conference for Ghent. Headquarters of the organization moved from 2015 from Hawaii to Northeastern University in Boston.
ANGH/RAHM – African Network in Global History / Réseau African d’Histoire Mondiale
Rokhaya Fall, of Cheikh-Anta Diop University in Senegal, continues as ANGH/RAHM President. Following the 2013 congress in Ouagadougou, the next meeting will be in 2016, presumably in Dakar.
RLHG – Red Latinoamericana de Historia Global
Under the coordination of Andrea Lluch and Sergio Serulnikov, of Universidad San Andrés in Buenos Aires, the RLHG held its founding meeting in 2013. Participants submitted papers to a collaborative website. A second meeting is planned soon for Brazil.
IBHA – International Big History Association
Under the leadership of President Fred Spier of the University of Amsterdam, the 2016 conference will take place in Amsterdam.