Call for Papers

    The 2021-2022 organizing committee for the Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (Con-IH) invites graduate students to submit proposals for its twenty-second annual conference. This year’s theme is Indian Ocean Worlds. 


Building on early contributions in the 1980s, the last two decades have seen upwellings of literature on Indian Ocean themes from a panoply of multidisciplinary approaches. Contributions from scholars of labor, global capitalism, discursive practices, and beyond have expanded the field geographically and temporally and brought to light a multiplicity of overlapping Indian Ocean worlds. This work allows for the emergence of innovative geographies in two interrelated ways. One, scholarship on Indian Ocean worlds breaks down the traditional boundaries of regional area studies, allowing for productive historiographical connections across segregated historical disciplines. Secondly, unfolding from that, oceanic approaches foster reconsideration of how historical borders and linkages were formed: via law, labor, language, religion, trade, literature, and tides of imperialism. What has become clear in recent years is the Indian Ocean is a historical zone that contains many worlds, each one reverberant in international history, and continues to be a critical nexus in the modern globalized age.  


Con-IH 22 seeks to promote cross-disciplinary as well as cross-regional historical approaches to Indian Ocean studies. We welcome submissions from individuals at any point in their graduate program, particularly those in the early stages of research, that address one or more of the following themes (although the list is only suggestive):






Economic and business history


Oceans and oceanic history

Environmental history

Borders and boundaries




Migration and diaspora

Culture and identity

Media studies


    Accepted papers will be grouped for presentation in four virtual roundtables starting in Spring 2022, each composed of two graduate students and two faculty commentators. Participation in Con-IH presents an unparalleled opportunity to engage in lively and lengthy discussions with an emerging cohort of researchers-in-training from around the world, as well as with faculty from Harvard and elsewhere. 


    Graduate students interested in participating in the conference should submit a 300-word proposal and one-page Curriculum Vitae in a single PDF document to Please title your submission “Lastname_ShortTitle.” Proposals must be received by November 19, 2021 in order to be considered. As the date approaches, additional information will be posted on the conference website at


con-ih22cfp.pdf1.42 MB