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The 2012 annual conference of the Social History Society will take place at
the University of Brighton from Tuesday 3 to Thursday 5 April 2012.
Please submit proposals for papers via the Social History Society website –
The deadline is 26 October 2011.
We encourage submissions of panels of up to 4 speakers. Proposals for individual
papers of up to 20 minutes are, of course, also welcome.
Postgraduate students are encouraged to offer papers. Details of bursaries and the
postgraduate paper prize are available on the conference website.
Papers presented at the conference can be submitted to the Society’s journal,
Cultural and Social History, to be considered for publication. For details, see
General enquiries should be sent to: Mrs. Linda Persson, Administrative Secretary,
Social History Society, Furness College, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YG (01524
The Society's conference has no single theme. It is organised in strands:
• Deviance, Inclusion and Exclusion
• Life-cycles and Life-styles
• Markets, Culture and Society
• Political Cultures, Policy and Citizenship
• Narratives, Emotions and the Self
• Spaces and Places
• Theory and Methods
Deviance, Inclusion and Exclusion
This strand investigates issues related to the history of individuals, ideas and
practices considered errant or dangerous to the societies in which they occur and
the mechanisms of criticism, comment and control that operate in these
societies. This covers the study of law, crime, deviance, forms of behaviour and
the practices of inclusion and exclusion. The strand welcomes case studies,
comparative studies across region/national boundaries as well as across
chronologies. It also welcomes work investigating the theory and historiography
that is relevant to research in these areas.
Proposals for papers that explore these themes in relation to any historical period
or region of study or from any disciplinary perspective are welcomed. Proposals
for panels of 2-3 papers and chair, discussion panels or single papers are equally
Strand Convenors:
Anne Logan:
Alyson Brown:
Life-Cycles and Life-Styles
This conference strand considers the role of life-cycles and life-styles as key
elements of everyday life, tracing their manifestations across time and space.
Contributors may consider the centrality of ages and stages of the human lifecycle
in shaping historical subjectivities. The construction and differentiation of
these experiences may be addressed in their biological, medical, social, political
and cultural contexts. Contributors might examine the shifting material
dimensions of everyday life and/or changing understandings of temporality and
belief. Papers could also probe the relationship between life-courses and
patterns of memory, both in an individual and a collective sense. Concepts of
transition (e.g. rites of passage) between life stages will be considered alongside
themes of time, age, generation and agency.
The second key focus falls upon life-styles and their social meanings, which may
be explored within a variety of contexts, including material culture, sex and
gender, religious beliefs, political, social and cultural identities. The conference
strand will examine the relationship between life-styles and the creation of
personal identities, whilst also debating whether life-styles were products or
creations of social fragmentation by class, gender, ethnicity or ‘race’.
Contributors may also consider the way in which transnational processes – from
migration to cultural transfers – have influenced life-styles.
Submissions are welcomed which address these themes, whether in relation to
individuals, groups or societies. Contributors can pitch their enquiries into lifecycles
or life-styles at a variety of levels, allowing for a scope that ranges from
micro-historical case studies to global approaches.
Strand Convenors:
Jane Hamlett:
Sasha Handley:
Daniel Laqua:
Markets, Culture and Society
This addresses the relationship between markets, culture and societies. We
invite papers that consider the interaction between aspects of the economy,
culture and society from the Middle Ages to the present and specifically welcome
papers that explore such questions outside the European hemisphere. Papers
are also welcome which focus on specific situations, actors, and contexts and
that include analyses of producers, employers, employees, consumers, market
actors, citizens etc. Issues addressed in this strand include, amongst others:
- the ethics of consumption, social standards, sustainability and
- civil society, the state and the economic and political order
- intellectuals, social critique and the making (or unmaking) of social and
market structures
- globalisation, divergence/convergence, ‘core-periphery’ and other
models in global history
- culture and economy, the business of culture, the culture(s) of
- social and cultural worlds of work, the factory and other workplaces as
social and cultural spaces
The strand explicitly encourages speakers to reflect on the theoretical
frameworks and/or reflect on global and/or comparative perspectives.
Strand Convenors:
Donna Loftus:
Sean Nixon:
Stefan Schwarzkopf:
Political Cultures, Policy and Citizenship
What have been the roles of groups and individuals in the development of
political cultures and the formulation and application of policy? We welcome
proposals exploring this question in local, regional, national or trans-national
contexts, within or beyond formal structures, and with reference to any time
period or ideology.
Areas to explore might include: political debates and their representation in the
broader culture (and how new technologies of communication affect them);
political participation from apathy to activism; the ways and means of everyday
political practice; relationships between popular culture and political culture; the
cultural practices deployed in politicisation and persuasion; the influence of
political icons and iconic moments.
Individual papers or panels of up to three papers exploring these themes are all
encouraged. Proposals from postgraduate students are especially welcome.
Strand Convenors:
Karen Hunt:
Simon Morgan:
Andrew Walker:
Narratives, Emotions and the Self
This strand invites papers that explore the historical intersection between culture,
memory and the self. Mike Roper has argued that much recent work within
cultural history has focused upon the 'public narrative forms and social practices
through which personal accounts are composed' and, in the process, has treated
subjectivity as 'no more than an artefact of representation'. Taking Roper's
critique as a starting point, we want to encourage further interdisciplinary debate
about the historical meanings and constitution of selfhood. To what extent should
selfhood be conceptualised as a function of discourse or as a psychic process?
Within what interpretive categories did individuals in the past make sense of or
understand their lives? In what ways might historians approach the relationship
between cultural formations and subject formations? How are these processes
constituted through the work of memory, which is itself a form of representation?
In asking these questions, we hope to emphasise the historically- and culturallyspecific
nature of those 'modern' notions of the self we take for granted today
Strand Convenors:
Joanna de Groot:
Wendy Ugolini:
Jodie Burkett:
Spaces and Places
This strand explores the shape of the past, the specificity of place, the influence
of environment, the nature of boundaries, and the impact of travel. It maps
divisions - whether they be urban-rural, region-nation, centre-periphery, northsouth,
metropole-diaspora - and the communications that flow between them. It
is concerned with the exchange of people, materials and ideas across spaces,
whether through migration, trade, or conflict. It explores how landscape shapes
historical relations, and how place and experience intertwine. It examines the
historical role of imaginary places, and the contribution of wanderers and
explorers. Contributors are also invited to consider how the shape of the past can
best be visualised, particularly in the light of new technology, and how a sense of
place informs collective memory.
Proposals may deal with any period and may treat any portion of the globe.
Individual papers or panels of up to three papers exploring these themes are all
encouraged, as are interdisciplinary papers uniting history with geography and
other social sciences. Proposals from postgraduate students are particularly
Strand Convenors:
Colin Pooley:
Chloe Jeffries:
Tosh Warwick:
Theory and Methods
The cultural turn has transformed social historians’ approaches to the past over
the last two decades. In particular, the shift towards thinking of social identities as
cultural constructions and as reflective of a unique set of historical conditions has
led both to new topics of academic study (such as gender, class, sexuality and
race) and to new methodologies and theoretical frameworks, particularly relating
to discourse, space and power. It is now almost impossible, for instance, for
social historians to consider the history of sexuality without the influence of
Michel Foucault, identities without Pierre Bourdieu or the everyday without Michel
de Certeau. In recent editions of Cultural and Social History, however, Carla
Hesse and Peter Mandler have questioned the pervasive influence of the cultural
turn and warned against the demise of more traditional social scientific
methodologies. This strand, therefore, invites papers addressing the current
relevance of cultural theory for social historians. In the first instance, we invite
reflections upon the cultural turn’s impact on social history. What have been the
benefits, and drawbacks, of cultural theory for the practice of social history?
Secondly, we wish to encourage dialogue about what cultural theory is now and
what it promises for historians over the next two decades. What kinds of cultural
theory are best suited to the practice of social history and what might the
application of such theory involve in methodological terms? Conversely, what
might cultural theorists learn from closer collaboration with social historians? We
invite lively and thoughtful papers from both historians and cultural theorists
which aim to stimulate debates about the relationship between history and
cultural theory.
Strand Convenors:
Charlotte Wildman:
James Mansell: