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Elinor Ostrom Award for collective governance of the commons 2014-2015; deadline for nominations 25 May 2014

The Elinor Ostrom Award on Collective Governance of the Commons, created to honor and develop the legacy of Elinor Ostrom, aims to acknowledge and promote the work of practitioners, young and senior scholars involved in the field of the commons. According with Ostrom´s large legacy the scope of the Award aims to be broad, including academic and applied work on traditional commons (forests, water bodies, pasture lands, fisheries, etc.), local commons, interlinked commons (forests and watersheds, fisheries and coastlines, etc.), global commons, knowledge, cultural and virtual commons. Both academics (indivduals or groups) as well as practioners (indivudals, groups, or institutions) can be nominated for this award. Nominations for the Award for 2014-2015 should be submitted before 25 May 2014. Click here for more info

Workshop 'Common People, Common Rules. Institutions and self-governance in historical perspective' (Pamplona, 30-31 October 2014)

Collective ownership and resource management is currently an important research topic among historians, anthropologists, legal experts, economists, sociologists, and political scientists, not least as a consequence

of the challenges the world is facing regarding the management of natural resources. During this two-day workshop, which will be held at the Public University of Navarra in Pamplona, we will be focussing on institutions for collective action, that are self-governing and self-regulating in historical perspective. At the workshop much attention will be given to the historical analysis of common land regimes, which has witnessed a clear shift in focus from the study of the abolition of commons towards the analysis of the internal logic of their functioning.

> Click here for more info 

Crowdsourcing project 'Ja, ik wil!' ('Yes, I Do!') - Already over 250 volunteers help out with digitizing unique historical source for scientific research

On February 3, the digitization project ‘Ja, ik wil’(‘Yes, I do’) started. With this large-scaled project, researchers from the Department of Social and Economic History of Utrecht University seek to digitize the Amsterdam premarriage records (1581-1811) to make the data from these records available for scientific research. Using the websourcing platform ‘Vele Handen’ (‘Many Hands’), the research team initiated a co-operation with the Amsterdam City Archives to attract volunteers to help with entering the information held in the source. Over 250 - and numbers still increasing - volunteers, among whom history teachers, genealogists, and alumni of Utrecht University have already registered last week to start entering the data. In the first phase (2014) of this project, the team aims to digitize about one-fifth of these records, which will already form a rich source of data for further historical research. The intention is to digitize the whole source by the end of 2015. Visit the project webpage [in Dutch], at http://www.collective-action.info/Ja-ik-wil or join this project by clicking here.

Second Think Tank Session organized by Utrecht University and Aedes-Actiz; summary now online

Recently, the Second Think Tank Session on citizens' collectivities was held, entitled 'Lokale Kracht: voorbij het applaus' ('Local Power:Beyond the Applause'). This second session focussed on issues and dilemmas present-day citizens' collectivities and initiatives have to face. Scientists, field experts, and participating citizens discussed how to deal with these problems. The event was organized by the Knowledge centre for Institutions of the Open Society of Utrecht University and the Aedes-Actiz Knowledge centre for housing and care; over 90 participants attended this think tank session, which contained several lectures by field experts, comments by Peter Schnabel, former director of the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), and a plenary discussion

> click here for more info and a summary of this meeting

New publication about the relation between high mortality environments and fast life-history strategies

Our team member Charlotte Störmer, together with Virpi Lummaa of the University of Sheffield, recently published an article in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS One. In this article, the authors study the impact of family versus individual-level effects of mortality exposure on two central life-history parameters, ages at first marriage and first birth, in three historical human populations (Germany, Finland, Canada) and provide evidence for the importance of the family environment for reproductive timing while individual-level mortality experiences seem to play only a minor role in reproductive life history decisions in humans.

> click here for PDF of this article

New publication on beguines and new publication on the role of historical co-operatives

Recently, two articles by Tine De Moor have been published. In the article 'Single, safe, and sorry? Explaining the early modern beguine movement in the Low Countries', published in The Journal of Family History, she focuses on the incentives for the emergence of the beguine movement in present-day Netherlands and Flanders. The second article, entitled 'Co-operating for the future: inspiration from the European past to develop public-collective partnerships and transgenerational co-operatives' forms part of the book Protecting future generations through commons, published by the European Council in the "Trends in social cohesion"-series, and focuses on the importance of experiences from historical institutions for present-day collectivities and co-operatives.

> click here for PDF of 'Single, safe, and sorry?'

> click here for PDF of 'Co-operating for the future'

Knowledge centre Institutions of the Open Society co-organizes Seminar Series 'Citizenship 3.0'

The vitality and sustainability of institutions are under constant pressure in a globalizing world. This does not only call for changes within these institutions themselves, but also for new roles for citizens. In a series of seminars, Utrecht University’s interdisciplinary research group ‘Institutions: Understanding the Dynamics of Open Societies’ aims to critically address the new functions, roles and challenges for citizens in the 21st century in terms of responding to some of the many problems they are facing and the development of political, social and economic democracy. The seminars are organized in cooperation with and under the aegis of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in Amsterdam. The focus of the first seminar is on the growing prevalence of informal, horizontal forms of cooperation by active, self-organizing citizens who seek to promote the collective interests of the participants in the absence of any government intervention.

> Click here for more info

Third European meeting IASC 'From generation to generation - the use of commons in a changing society, Umeå, Sweden, September 16-19, 2014

From September 16 until September 19, 2014, the 3rd European meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) will be held in Umeå, Sweden. This conference, entitled 'From generation to generation - the use of commons in a changing society' will be hosted by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. More info is to be found on the conference website.

Call for papers IASC 2nd Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons 'Governing Pooled Knowledge Resources with special attention to the fields of medicine and the environment' (New York, September 5-7)

On September 5-7, 2014, NYU’s Engelberg Center on Innovation, Law and Policy will host the International Association for the Study of Commons’ 2nd Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons. The conference aims to provide a forum for presenting and discussing developments in the interdisciplinary study of knowledge commons. This year’s program will devote several special paper tracks and policy sessions to knowledge commons in the fields of medicine and the environment. Keynote lectures will be given by Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School), Eric von Hippel (MIT Sloan School of Management), and Michael McGinnis (Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington). The conference will be chaired by Katherine Strandburg (NYU School of Law) and co-chaired by Charlie Schweik (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). Click here for conference website

New team members per 1 January 2014

As from 1 January 2014 onwards, we welcome three new members in our research team. All three postdoc researchers will work on the NWO-funded (VIDI grant) research project 'Nature or nurture? A search for the institutional and biological determinants of life expectancy in Europe during the early modern period'. Click here for the project description...

Anita Boele will be focusing on the institutional variety in premodern old age provisions (in combination with her job at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), studying recent developments in citizen initiatives and self-organization).

Corry Gellatly, who already worked with us as visiting researcher, will now join us a postdoc researcher, contributing to the genealogical data analysis, whilst seeking insights into human social evolution.

Charlotte Störmer will, besides her research in evolutionary biology, be focussing on the impact of life-cycle events in the life-cycle of households on life expectancy.

Academia Europaea Annual Conference, Barcelona, July 14-16, 2014

From 14 until 16 July 2014, the Academia Europaea will organize its annual conference. This year, this multidisciplinary forum on the health, social and environmental challenges that our society will have to address in the coming years, will be organized by the Barcelona Knowledge Hub. The Academia Europaea is a European, non-governmental association acting as an Academy, consisting of scientists and scholars who collectively aim to promote learning, education and research. Click here for the conference webpage