CfP: History of Insurance in a Global Perspective

30. September 2021
Call for papers

International Conference: University of Basel, Switzerland, 20–22 July 2022

This international conference investigates insurance as a crucial element of the general globalization of finance and of capitalism. Since the early modern period, the geographical diffusion of insurance is closely linked to processes of globalization and de-globalization. The conference presents a broad picture of the multi-dimensional history of international insurance. This covers different periods, regions and branches of insurance: from late-medieval and early modern maritime insurance over the diffusion of life and non-life insurance in the Western hemisphere during the 19th century, the rise of non-Western markets and corporations in colonial and post-colonial contexts, to the effects of recent financial crises on global insurance markets. A global lens also invites a combination of a wider global perspective with local, micro-historical analyses.

Sessions and papers are invited to take either a comparative view, contrasting different geographical contexts, or a generalizing, international perspective, investigating for example the internationalization and globalization of insurance or international networks and organizations related to insurance (congresses, societies, cartels etc.). They can investigate the business context, including traditional forms of risk prevention and financial precaution in non-Western regions, the rise of local, non-Western insurance industries, and the interaction between local and international companies in insurance. The conference theme also includes the areas of consumption, such as the social and ethnic patterns of insurance markets, and the changing perceptions of risk in different geographic and cultural contexts.

The conference will be held as a three-day event, on 20–22 July 2022, at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Scholars are particularly invited to cross traditional academic boundaries by offering insights on geographical entanglements or trans-epochal developments. The conference follows an interdisciplinary format, bringing together scholars from various disciplines interested in the history of insurance in global perspectives, notably from Business History, International Business Studies, Global History, Consumer History, the History of Law, and Historical Sociology.

Call for Papers: Paper Proposal Deadline: 30 September 2021

We invite scholars interested in participating to submit proposals for papers.

• Paper proposals should include the title and abstract (maximum 1500 characters) of the paper.
• New session proposals (with three to four presentations) are also considered.
• A list of accepted sessions is available on the conference website:
• All proposals should be submitted electronically by 30th of September, 2021 via the conference website Submission instructions are available on the conference website.

Scholars are invited to propose papers within the broad thematic range described above. Papers can address topics encompassed in sessions that are already accepted by the conference Advisory Board (see list:

We particularly invite proposals for topics rarely explored in the history of insurance. They include, for example, the history of insurance in non-Western regions, such as Asia, Africa, Central and Latin America. Other fields underrepresented in the program include the history of joint-stock companies or the insurance of the slave trade since the early modern period.

Scholars will be informed about the selection of their proposal by the end of October 2021. The final decision about the conference program and the grouping of papers in sessions will be made by the conference organizers and the Advisory Board (Sabine Go, Amsterdam; Niels-Viggo Haueter, Zurich; Philipp Hellwege, Augsburg; W. Jean J. Kwon, New York; Lan Liang Zhao, Shanghai; Martin Lengwiler, Basel; Grietjie Verhoef, Johannesburg), after consultation with the session chairs.

For further information, please contact Martin Lengwiler, History Department, University of Basel,

Organised by
University of Basel


University of Basel


Martin Lengwiler

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