Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

International Conference of Historians of the Workers’ Movement (ITH) (Austria)

The ITH is an international network of unions, research institutes, and historians of the workers’ and social movements. They have more than 100 members on five continents and were founded in 1964 as the „International Conference of Historians of the Workers’ Movement.“

Since then the Conference has been held annually in Linz by the ITH over a variety of subjects. Over the course of the development of the ITH they expanded their circle to regular members of the Linz Conferences.

In 1982 the ITH had 91 member institutes including many university institutes, as well as political and private research institutes who worked with interest groups, archives, and other institutes. The ITH quickly became one of the most widespread organizations, whose international relationship with UNESCO gained them NGO status in 1981. From the beginning there was an exchange between historians from China, Japan, Latin America, as well as all over Europe. The exchange of ideas showed the importance of these international Conferences from early on.

The ITH was renowned for bridging the East-West gap, but at the end of the 1980s this function became relatively obsolete. Consequently the ITH has redefined themselves as a forum for the international exchange of scholarly work about the workers’ movement. At the turn of the century the communication focus of the organization turned to the „North-South“ dialogue. Their goal is the development of a transnational community of social historians who have a concentration in the history of the social and workers’ movements. The ITH favors a global approach to this part of history, and a transnational perspective on research. The tradition of collaboration continues with organizations of the workers’ movement such as the Chamber of Labor in Austria. This shows an appreciation of different forms of research outside of the scholarly field itself.