lundi 31 décembre 2012

Les différents visages de la mort

The different faces of death: regional differentiation in cause- specific mortality

Call for papers for a session, 38th Annual Meeting of the SSHA in Chicago IL, 21-24 November, 2013

Nynke J.M. van den Boomen, MA
PhD Candidate Historical Demography
History Department
Radboud University Nijmegen

Death goes by a large variety of faces. Mortality differentiation does not only become clear when figures for various age categories are compared or when death is studied for both sexes separately; different causes of death affect the population in different ways, too. Moreover, death rates strongly vary from place to place, be it countries, municipalities or districts. Finally, the numerous faces of death change over time just as well. 

By analyzing death’s different appearances, the interaction between mortality determinants becomes clearer. However, to grasp the complicated interplay between the dynamics affecting health, it is best to perform mortality research from various perspectives, ranging from an individual to an international level. In recent years, many studies have been devoted to look at mortality at an individual level. Nevertheless, to reveal the mechanisms behind differentiation in death, it is necessary to compare a larger quantity of communities. By approaching mortality from a meso-level, individual and communal mortality risks can be put in a broader perspective. 

This session centres around cause-specific mortality. In accordance with Abdel Omran’s epidemiologic transition theory, this angle is most likely to show the differences in a municipality’s ability to control or at least intervene in its disease environment. In line with Omran’s thinking, changes in the cause-specific mortality patterns can give away discrepancies in the shift towards modernity. Uncovering cause-specific mortality patterns can help us answer questions about matters such as the possible existence of an Era of Re-emerging Infectious Diseases or the diffusion of so-called Man-made diseases. 

The ever-growing number of digitized quantitative datasets provides historical researchers with the necessary data to conduct meso-level studies. In this sense, this session sets out to highlight the potential digitized sources provide for historical mortality research. 

Preliminary session topics:

Preferably, paper proposals will be on the following topics. Other topics may be suggested, naturally.

- Epidemiologic transitions in time and space.

- Mortality patterns for one specific cause of death or category of causes of death (e.g. tuberculosis, measles, smallpox, dysentery, coronary diseases, suicide) .

- Social and economic aspects of cause-specific mortality differentiation.

- Cultural aspects of cause-specific mortality differentiation.

- Political aspects of cause-specific mortality differentiation.

- Methods in spatial analysis of cause-specific mortality data.

Submission of abstracts:
The session is to take place during the 38th Annual Meeting of the SSHA in Chicago IL, 21-24 November, 2013. You are invited to send your paper proposals in the form of a 300 to 500 word abstract, in English. The abstract needs to state clearly what the research questions will be, what data will be used in the analysis and what the (preliminary) eventual argument of the paper will be. Proposals can be sent to: I kindly request you to send the abstract before 1 February, 2013. The final paper is due 1 November, 2013.

For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email. For general information on the 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, see the SSHA website:

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