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A call for papers for a York-University of Toronto Graduate History Conference Confronting Crisis: Writing History in Uncertain Times.


Online conference, 28-30 April 2021.


History is punctuated by periods of crisis that change the fundamental structures of a society. Moments of historical change have wide-reaching consequences that can be anticipated or may be only visible in hindsight. Crises, too, can range from a single event to multi-year, multi-level phenomena. In an age where we are confronting our own multiple crises, it is more important than ever to consider how we as historians deal with crises. This conference explores the concept of crisis in history and in historical practice. How do historians write history during moments of turmoil and upheaval? What is the aftermath of crises? How can crises be properly represented in history? This three-day symposium is the inaugural Convergences: York-University of Toronto Graduate History Conference. Held from 28-30 April 2021, this conference will be virtual due to COVID-19. Sessions will be distributed over three days to accommodate speaker schedules, time zones, and mitigate Zoom fatigue. We welcome submissions that address the concept of crisis, both as a methodology for writing history and in historical context. Possible subjects can include, but are not limited to:

  • Confronting crises of race, religion, and otherness
  • Anti-Black racism as a social crisis
  • Genocide and population collapse
  • Natural disasters and their aftermath
  • The politics of resource access in crises
  • Disease and disease management in history
  • Manufactured Crisis (economic, technological, political)
  • War and its effects in society
  • Crises in social structures (race, gender, sexuality)
  • Protesting, police, and the carceral system
  • Critiques of the use of crisis in periodization
  • Writing history in the time of COVID and BLM


We invite graduate students (MA and PhD) in history and related disciplines to submit proposals that address the issue of crisis, broadly construed, in history. Presentations should be 20 minutes in length, and will be followed by a Q&A period. For individual papers or completed panels, please complete the Google Form ( with your title, abstract (250 words), and brief bio by 1 February 2021. Completed panels will also be accepted. Please indicate in the Google form if you are submitting as part of a completed panel. Accepted submissions will be notified by email by 15 March 2021. If you have any questions, please direct emails to Angela Zhang at For more information, visit us at and @CYUT21 on Twitter.  

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