ESEH Bern 2023: January updates!

The preparations for the next ESEH Conference on “Mountains and Plains: Past, present and future environmental and climatic entanglements” in Bern (22-26 August 2026) are going on well and are on schedule. The Local Organising Committee has worked hard to come up with various issues. We expect 600-700 participants on site and 100-150 more attending the conference virtually. Besides other issues, we also try to be as inclusive as possible (e.g. childcare facilities and special needs).

The ESEH Programme Committee chaired by Wilko Hardenberg has worked a lot during the last two months and has finally accepted 80 out of 83 panels, 112 out of 239 individual papers, 18 out of 21 roundtables, 14 out of 15 different world sessions, and 14 out of 21 posters. In addition, they have invited 16 individual papers to present posters instead. We are still awaiting their answers. Overall, we will have 139 parallel sessions and plenty of special events. The Programme Committee is still searching for about 15 chairpersons. If you are willing to chair a session, please write to

Registration will start by the end of January 2023. Please consider that all accepted speakers and poster presenters have to register by 28 February 2023 to reconfirm their participation. Otherwise, their contribution will have to be removed from the programme. The preliminary programme will be published in the first half of April 2023. The programme will include two plenary lectures by Jon Mathieu (University of Lucerne) and Gaia Giuliani (University of Coimbra), a plenary roundtable organised by the EnvHist4P (Environmental History and Policy group,, and 11 slots for parallel sessions (13-14 each). In addition, we will offer various special events (partly in cooperation with our partner institutions), a welcome reception and a closing reception (both included in the conference price, but separate registration compulsory). Several full and half day excursions will be offered on 26 August 2023. You will be able to register for them together with your overall conference registration. Various short guided city trips during the conference days (22-25 August 2023) will be announced as soon as the preliminary programme has been published. For any further information, please see the ESEH 2023 Conference website.

In the framework of the ESEH conference in Bern 2023, two summer schools on mountain and plain research in environmental history will take place (17-20 August 2023). The summer schools are organised by Martin Stuber and Rahel Wunderli (University of Bern, history) with the support of the Summer School Committee.

a) Climate
Summer School “Climate in History” will be held in Aeschi bei Spiez (Canton of Bern). We received an astounding number of applications: 74 submissions by the deadline. From these, the Summer School Committee selected 18 participants: 13 from Europe, three from North America, one from Africa and one from Asia. Over the four days, the participants will learn essential skills on incorporating climatic data and analyses sufficiently in historical research. Furthermore, the participants will have a workshop on exploring new approaches how to improve university-level teaching in the field of climate history. The Summer School is organised by Heli Huhtamaa (convenor), Stefan Brönnimann and Christian Rohr (co-organisers) and Alexander Hibberts (ESEH Summer School representative).

b) Commons
In Grimentz (Val d’Anniviers), the focus will be on common pool resources in the “visual turn”, using the example of collective alpine pastures, forests and waters in the first half of the 20th century. All Summer School participants are expected to give a short presentation of visual historical material of their own region of research in order to get a comparative view on the phenomena of commons. The Summer School Committee selected 19 participants from a total of 23 applications. Spatially, the selected participants are distributed as follows: Canada, France, Hungary (2), India (3), Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain (2), Sweden, Switzerland (2), UK and USA (2). In terms of disciplinary orientation, the field of participants is also diverse and extends beyond history into human ecology, geography and social anthropology. The lecturers who have been recruited are similarly diverse: Ben Anderson (Keele University, history), Roberta Biasillo (University of Utrecht, history), Simona Boscani Leoni (Université de Lausanne, history), Ulrike Felsing (HKB Bern, arts), Tobias Haller (University of Bern, social anthropology), Jesper Larsson (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala), Luigi Lorenzetti (Università della Svizzera Italiana/ Laboratorio di Storia delle Alpi, Mendrisio), Gaëtan Morard (Bisses du Valais, ethnobiology), Monica Vasile (University of Maastricht, environmental anthropology).