Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CFP: The Resurgence of 'Class' in History?

Postgraduate History Conference

The Resurgence of ‘Class’ in History?

International History Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Historians
Department of History, University of Essex

12-13 September 2014

Just over fifty years ago E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class put the concept of class firmly at the centre of historical debate. Over subsequent decades, however, the academic agenda has shifted considerably. Postmodernists and others have questioned the usefulness of ‘class’ as a key analytical category and historical narratives emphasizing class conflict as a driver of social change have become increasingly unfashionable.
Yet class now appears to be making a comeback. Within the last year, the concept of social class has been resurrected and reimagined by the authors of the ‘Great British Class Survey’. Likewise, the media furore surrounding the release of Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ speaks of our continuing obsession with class in modern Britain. Within the field of history, many authors have lately reasserted the usefulness of class as a tool of historical analysis. This two-day conference therefore wishes to provide an opportunity to critically evaluate this key concept and consider how a sense of class enables a better understanding of past societies and how they change.
Keynote addresses will be given by Jon Lawrence (Cambridge) and Andy Wood (Durham). The conference organizers also wish to welcome postgraduates and early career historians to submit proposals for papers (of about 20-30 minute’s length) by the 1 July 2014. Abstracts (c. 300 words) should include the author’s name, affiliations, email address, and length of paper and should be sent to either Joseph Cozens or Emily Mason (respectively jtcoze and emason @ Those wishing to attend the conference should also register their interest via email.
Possible themes for papers may include but are not limited to:
v languages of class
v representations of class
v class and the ‘cultural turn’
v class and the ‘spatial turn’
v class formation
v class and gender, race or nation
v class before class society
v class as an agent of social change
v E. P. Thompson’s conception of class

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