University Education


University Education  (Scientific and Research Institutions)

International Institute of Social History - IISH
Cruquiusweg 31 1019 AT Amsterdam
Tel:020 - 668 58 66
Fax:020 - 665 41 81

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) was founded in 1935. It is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions in the field of social history in general and the history of the labour movement in particular. Most of the collections are open to the public.

The IISH holds over 2,700 archival collections, some 1 million printed volumes and about as many audio-visual items. The available collections are accessible through an online catalogue, an online index of archives and inventories. The IISH is also home to a number of other documentary institutions, most notably the Netherlands Economic History Archive (NEHA) and the Press Museum. Both offer supplementary collections and services. Their material is included in the IISH catalogue. Visitors can consult the collections for reference and research in the reading room.

The IISH carries out and stimulates scholarly research. It is a respected meeting place for researchers from all over the world and organizes conferences, symposia and international research projects. The Institute publishes research results through international academic publishers and its own inhouse publishing unit. The International Review of Social History is published for the Institute by Cambridge University Press and appears three times a year, plus one supplement.

Since 1996 the International Institute of Social History has been actively collecting material on the social history of Bengal.

The Institute's representative in the region is active in collecting manuscripts, documents, posters, video recordings, pamphlets, objects, and books. Most of the material is in Bengali and English, but also in other languages of the region, e.g. Garo and Chakma. The idea is to preserve material on social movements, progressive politics and labour relations which is not being preserved systematically in the region itself, or which is in danger of getting lost. The Institute is keen to make such material available in the region itself by means of supporting local initiatives to set up 'civil society archives'.

IISH has developed a special interest in the labour history of India. In recent years it has organised a workshop on the theme, supported the establishment of the Labour History Association in India (LHIA) and begun comparative research on labour relations in brick-fields in India and Western Europa. IISH is also building up its library and archival collections in this field.

Another development is the creation at IISH of collections on the history of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or CPI (M-L), the China-oriented party whose members became known as 'Naxalites' from the late 1960s. In addition to a growing collection of periodicals, books, pamphlets, leaflets, posters, photographs and objects, the Institute has made lengthy video interviews with supporters and leaders of the CPI(M-L) in different parts of India about the history of the movement and their roles in it. The IISH video history project is not restricted to the CPI(M-L) but includes a growing number of other prominent political activists.

One of the partners of IISH in India is the Centre for the Studies of Social Sciences.