Thursday 15 September 2011


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.

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

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 592547;
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 welcome.
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 life- cycle 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 life- cycles 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 environmentalism
-    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
business -    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 culturally- specific 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, north- south, 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 welcomed.
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:

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