The formation and transformation of welfare states has been, since the 1980s, a subject of increased research interest. Comparative studies by sociologists, political scientists, and economists on different “welfare models” or “welfare regimes” have produced influential historical accounts, evoking lively debates on “path dependencies” and on the role of ideas, interests, and institutions in political and social changes. However, while these welfare studies have pointed out the importance of a historical perspective, they have rarely sought inspiration from new theoretical and methodological approaches developed and discussed within history disciplines. Historians, in turn, have only recently integrated welfare-state history with their efforts to elaborate new approaches to the historicity of social reality and the political dimensions of individual and collective agency. The session will demonstrate and promote this kind of ambitions, and it thus opens critical historical perspectives to the taken-for-granted aspects of welfare-state history, most notably to those associated with the physical and mental borders of the nation state. The session discusses new ways of elaborating and implementing transnational history, history of spatiality, conceptual history, and history of experiences and emotions in the field of historical welfare studies.