Call for Papers

The fifth annual HEX conference will delve into the problems and possibilities of studying collective experiences in history. As a point of departure, we recognize at least the following ways of defining collective experiences:

  1. Experiences that we assume to be experienced in a group
  2. Experiences that we share with others, without any notion of community
  3. Experiences linked to shared entities or symbols
  4. Experiences that are imagined or projected with others as part of a shared future
  5. Experiences that may never have happened to an individual, but which are adopted as a part of a collective identity or collective remembrance
  6. Experiences of a “collective other”, in contrast to one’s own subjective experiences
  7. Experiences in masses or produced by the crowd: natural disasters, conflicts, revolutions, riots, moral panic, illness and disease, festivals, etc.

Considering collectivity in the study of past experiences raises a number of questions. If collective experiences are more than an aggregate of subjective experiences, what are the theories and methods to explain them? How do collective experiences, emotions and memories relate to each other? Could concepts such as emotional communities, emotional spaces and emotional regimes be employed to access collective experiences? How, and by whom, are collective experiences conveyed and shaped (media, authorities, communities, political actors, educators, etc.) and how are they transmitted between generations in culture and commemoration? What about collective experiences without any notion of community? How do collective experiences reflect individual experiences and what are the dynamics of sharing similar experiences at different times to construct collective experiences? How can collective experiences in the past be studied as intersectional phenomena, without imposing any false claims of uniformity or identity? What size of group constitutes a collective, and what difference does it make?

We call for papers that discuss collective experiences in history from a rich variety of perspectives, including theoretical reflections. Contributions from disciplines other than history are warmly welcome, as long as they take a view on historical experience. We encourage proposals for coherent panels comprising three to four papers, but individual paper proposals will also be considered. Most of the conference will take place in person in Tampere, unless the Covid-19 pandemic enforces new travel and meeting restrictions. We also invite submissions for an online video-poster session, especially from doctoral students and early career researchers who cannot make it to Finland. These 5-minute video presentations will be available on the conference website and discussed in a live hybrid session during the conference. There will be a prize for the best video poster by a doctoral student / early-career scholar.

Please submit your proposal by 28 November 2021 through this link according to the following instructions. Be explicit about how your proposal contributes to the conference’s overall themes:

  1. For complete panels, send a joint 400-word abstract, together with brief bios and paper titles for each proposed speaker
  2. For individual papers, send a 250-word abstract together with a brief bio
  3. For video posters, send a 250-word abstract together with a brief bio

For questions and more information, please write to