Publication Date

November 1, 1995

Scholars from throughout the world traveled to Montreal for the 18th International Congress of Historical Sciences, which took place between August 27 and September 3. The congress meets only once every five years; this meeting was only the second in the history of the congress to take place outside Europe. Through extraordinary effort, the conference organizers tightened the intellectual focus of the conference around three major themes: (1) Nations, Peoples, and State Forms; (2) Women, Men, and Historical Change: Case Studies on the Impact of Gender History; and (3) Peoples in Diaspora: Changing Sources, Forms, and Meanings. By carefully recruiting presenters for the major theme sessions, the organizers ensured that some of the newest and best scholarship would be disseminated in Montreal. The organizers explained that their aim was to redress the "antiquated" and often “isolated" nature of some of the Scholarly presentations in previous meetings.

In addition to the major themes, the conference program featured roundtables and specialized half-day sessions in which subjects other than straight research could be taken up. David Ransel (Indiana Univ.), for example, organized a thought-provoking and very popular roundtable on the future of historical journals (See Perspectives, October 1995, pp. 5-6, for an abstract of Ransel’s introductory comments). Another excellent roundtable focused on the role and responsibility of imperial archives in the history of former colonial states.

The programs held by "internal commissions" of the International Congress of Historical Sciences also added to the interest and substance of the meeting. The International Federation for Research in Women's History, for instance, organized an entire program that ran for a number of days.

Overall, the conference provided unprecedented access to stimulating, insightful, and provocative research. As the board of the congress explores new modes and substantive issues of scholarly exchange in the post-Cold War world, its members will no doubt count the successful experiment of the Montreal meeting as an important step forward.

The contributions made at the Montreal meeting by U.S. scholars were organized by the U.S. standing committee of the Congress of Historical Sciences, which is also a standing committee of the American Historical Association. Jean Quataert (State Univ. of New York at Binghamton) was chair of the American committee, and she served as well on the International Congress of Historical Science nominating committee. Other members of the committee for the five years' planning period leading up to the Montreal meeting were William C. Jordan (Princeton Univ.) Nikki R. Keddie (Univ. of California at Los Angeles), Jaime Rodriguez (Univ. of California at Irvine), and Allan Winkler (Miami Univ.). The 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences will take place in Oslo, Norway, in 2000.

The Proceedings volume for the 18th International Congress of Historical Sciences is available for $25 (Canadian). Interested parties should contact CISH95, Dept. of History, versité du Quebec a Montreal, P.O. Box 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada. (514) 987-0253. Email: cisg95®uqam.ca. Abstracts of the papers given at the conference, as well as some of the discussants’ remarks, are available at gopher:\infopub.uqam.ca:7011evencongreshistoire. For additional details about the ICHS meeting in Montreal, see the articles by Claire Moses and Wilcomb Washburn on page 7 of this issue of Perspectives.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.