Tag Archives: cross-disciplinary

Upcoming conference on the history of childhood (including papers on children and letters)

Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts

16-18 June 2016, King’s College London

Theme and Focus

It is now over forty years since the bold declaration of psychohistorian Lloyd deMause that ‘The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken’. Stirred by such claims, scholars have subsequently tested the ‘nightmare thesis’ for both the pre-modern and modern eras, locating children’s agency in unexpected places and stressing the contingencies of context, gender, ethnicity, age, class, caste and sexuality. Narratives of historic and contemporary institutional abuse, however, together with insights concerning the legacies of forced child migration, children’s labours and other challenging aspects of childhood experience, suggest that sorrow rather than joy characterises much scholarship on children and childhood. Should this be so?

In another context, since 1993 the phenomenally successful Horrible Historiesbooks, stage plays and television series have helped introduce countless thousands of children around the world to the past. As their titles indicate, Horrible Histories also examine difficult and sometimes grisly historical episodes. Progressive narratives are at work here too, reinforced by children’s museum exhibits emphasising an emergence from the ‘dark ages’ of childhood in the twentieth century.

‘Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts’ is the launch conference marking the inauguration of the new UK-based Children’s History Society. Offering a forum for historical reflections from established and upcoming historians of children, childhood and youth, we also anticipate that this will be a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to the history. This three-day conference will host papers on the following themes:

  • Dealing with difficult history and heritage
  • Children’s histories and the longue durée
  • The ‘West and the rest’ in children’s history
  • Definitions of subjecthood and status
  • Pain and resilience
  • Archival approaches for retrieving children’s agency
  • The things of childhood
  • Play as protest, recreation and the ‘work’ of childhood
  • Children’s histories in museums, online and in the media
  • The histories of children’s places and places for children
  • Future trajectories for researching children’s histories

Note that our definition of children is flexible, reflecting the multiple constructions through time of childhood as a social category.

A complete programme can be found here.

Source: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahri/eventrecords/2015-2016/MCAS/horriblehistories.aspx (additional information available there)


COST Action: Reassembling the Republic of Letters; Second Annual Conference (Warsaw)

12th – 15th June 2016, University of Warsaw Conference Room, Level -1.
Faculty of “Artes Liberales”
Dobra Street 72

From the conference programme:

The COST Action IS 1310 “Reassembling the Republic of Letters” is in its third year of work towards assembling the blueprint of trans-national digital infrastructure to support collaborative work on early modern intellectual history. Having previously explored scholarly work from the perspective of shared technical standards, this conference will pursue the opposite path: digital functionality will be discussed from the perspective of current scholarly strands about the Republic of Letters. Following the structural logic of the Action’s working groups, the topics addressed will include (amongst others) intellectual geography; the social history of knowledge and network analysis; topic modelling and conceptual history; descriptive techniques and the material turn; visualization and the visual turn.

The full conference programme is available here.

URL of project website: http://www.republicofletters.net

Call for posters: Digital Epistolary Network

Postgraduate students and early career researchers are invited to propose posters for a one-day, student-run conference exploring how we engage with letters in the digital age.

The conference takes an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach, considering letters from antiquity to the present day. It seeks to promote collaborative dialogue between academics, archivists, publishers, and the public, and to facilitate illuminating discussion from inside and outside the academic sphere – including opinion from individuals who write, read, reveal and research correspondence in their professional or personal lives. Through a focus on the conflicted and changing role of the letter as a private and public mode of written communication, the conference accommodates various perspectives: historical, anthropological, literary, archival, political, and many others. In this way, our consideration of correspondence will encompass the various digital and analogue methods for recording, interpreting, and presenting a specific material document and its inherent social connections, as well as an assessment of the ways in which recent developments in digital modes of communication have influenced, disrupted, or enhanced our relationship with this traditional form.

Confirmed speakers include: Professor Howard Hotson (Cultures of Knowledge); Miranda Lewis (Early Modern Letters Online); Dr Robert McNamee (Electronic Enlightenment), Dr Alison Pearn (Darwin Correspondence Project), Rupert Mann (Digital Programme Director, Oxford University Press), Kieron Smith (Digital Director, Blackwell’s).

Selected posters will be printed for display and informal discussion during an evening drinks reception at Wolfson College, and their scope could include (but is not limited to) the following correspondence-based topics:

  • Analysis of a letter or selection of letters (if present in the Bodleian collections, these materials could also be included in an exhibition accompanying the conference).
  • Methodologies for working with correspondence material in any field.
  • Consideration of letters as a source for life-writing or historical research.
  • Implications (theoretical or practical) of editing correspondence in digital or print media.
  • Presentation or discussion of digital manipulation of correspondence data and metadata (corpus and network analysis, visualizations, translation, etc.).
  • Reflections on the significance of correspondence within personal, public, or fictional lives.
  • Comparisons between letters and other (digital) forms of communication.

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words to posters [at] epistolary [dot] net outlining the research your poster will present, by Friday 13th May. Preference will be given to research that demonstrably crosses disciplinary boundaries and uses diverse techniques. Posters can be landscape or portrait and should be A1 size. Printing costs (if required) will be covered, as well as the presenter’s conference attendance and limited travel expenses.

URL of original post: http://www.e-pistolary.net/speaking-in-absence/call-for-posters/

More information about the conference: http://www.e-pistolary.net/speaking-in-absence/

Upcoming workshop: The graphic evidence of childhood, 1760-1914

Palatine Learning Centre
Durham University
Friday, 15 April 2016

This event is sponsored by Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study, the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, and the Department of Philosophy.


8:45-9:20 Coffee


Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy
Durham University

9:30-11:00 SESSION 1

Chair and Comments
Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy
Durham University

Prof Matthew Grenby
Newcastle University
Looking Glass for the Mind, or Unintellectual Mirror:
Interpreting Children’s Marginalia

Prof Kathryn Gleadle
Oxford University
Tactical agents?
Juvenile Creativity and the Politics of the Diary

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-1:00 SESSION 2

Chair and Comments
Dr Lutz Sauerteig, Durham University

Dr Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig
Durham University
The Correspondence of J.G. Herder’s Children – A Family Matter

Dr Siân Pooley
Oxford University
‘Letters are thought-bearers’:
Feeling, Thinking and Printing in England c.1870-1914

1:00-2:00 Lunch

2:00-4:00 SESSION 3

Chair and Comments
Dr Melanie Keene, Cambridge University

Dr Barbara Gribling
Durham University
Playing with the Past:
Toys, Games and Children’s Engagement with British History

Prof Barbara Wittmann
Humbolt University, Berlin
Children’s Drawings and the Human Sciences

Dr Rebecca Gowland and Benn Penny-Mason
Durham University
Excluded Bodies:
Bioarchaeological Evidence for Physical and Cognitive Impediments to Education


The history of childhood has become an important field of study in recent years. One of its exciting characteristics is that it attracts researchers from a rich variety of disciplines, including the humanities, the social sciences and the human sciences. Consequently, the history of childhood emotion, puberty, selfhood, health and agency has become more visible, both inside and outside the academy. Yet, with the rising popularity of childhood history comes a growing concern about the kinds of evidence that can be used to reconstruct the lives of children. This concern is increasingly intimated by scholars who research the material and visual foundations of childhood. They point out that many histories of pre-twentieth-century childhood often fail to engage directly with evidence that was made or (conclusively) used by girls and boys, either in specialised settings or on a daily basis.

This workshop seeks to develop and extend the material and visual history of childhood by focusing on the kinds of graphic evidence that was made or used by children during the 18th and 19th centuries. The notion of ‘graphic’ will be interpreted widely to mean the instruments, skills or materials used to manually represent knowledge on paper (or similar forms of media) through writing or drawing. The papers will discuss how graphic artefacts can be used as childhood evidence and/or to what extent graphic materials and techniques can be used to historicise how children experienced the world through the act of making or using an object. To keep the discussion focused, each speaker is invited to concentrate on a specific graphic genre of her choosing, and to consider how the genre can be used to analyse the legitimacy and efficacy of current methods used to reconstruct the history of childhood.

The registration fee includes tea breaks and lunch. To register, please send your name, institutional affiliation, postal address, email address and £15 cash to: Ms Laura Dearlove, Department of Philosophy, 50/51 Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HN, UK. For health and safety reasons, all payments must be received no later than Monday 11 April 2015.

For further information, please contact the workshop organiser, Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy, at m.d.eddy@durham.ac.uk

Information sourced via the Children’s History Society UK

Conference report: Briefe als Träger und Trigger von Affekten, Münster (03.-04.07.2015)

[report circulated by H-GERMANISTIK on 27 July 2015]

Bericht von Laura M. Reiling
Germanistisches Institut
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Vom 3. bis 4. Juli 2015 organisierten Katharina Fürholzer (Graduate School “Practices of Literature”) und Yulia Marfutova (Graduiertenkolleg “Literarische Form”) an der Universität Münster die Nachwuchstagung “Briefe als Träger und Trigger von Affekten”.

Aus einer transdisziplinären Perspektive wurden verschiedene Fragen zur Gattung Brief verhandelt, die ihrerseits als eine dehnbare erkannt wurde. Es wurde gefragt, in welcher Art und Weise Briefe je eigene Affektpotentiale ausbilden, wie Affekt und Kognition in der Gattung Brief einander bedingen, welche Bedeutung formale Aspekte von Briefen für deren Affektpotential haben, wie sich Individualität und kollektive Normen zueinander verhalten und inwieweit sich Privatbriefe oftmals als öffentliche Briefe darstellen.

In der Eröffnung der Tagung wies Yulia MARFUTOVA (Münster) auf die gegenwärtigen, kulturpessimistischen Abgesänge auf den Brief hin und machte zudem deutlich, inwieweit die Gattung Brief an die Technikgeschichte gebunden ist. Beispielsweise betreffe der aktuelle Poststreik die Privatkorrespondenz nur marginal, da sich diese inzwischen weitestgehend in andere Medien verlagert habe. Ontologische Indifferenz sei ein prägnantes Merkmal der Briefgattung, die sich stets im Wechselspiel von Fiktionalität und Faktualität befinde.

Katharina FÜRHOLZER (Münster) erörterte die Schwierigkeit der Definition von ‘Affekten’ im Begriffskonglomerat aus ‘Regung’, ‘Emotion’, ‘Instinkt’, ‘Stimmung’ und ‘Reflex’ und erläuterte die diversen Funktionen von Affekten. In der Tagung gehe es primär um die drei Affekte der Produktion, des Werks und der Rezeption. Ziel der Tagung sei, einen Bogen von der antiken Affektrhetorik zur heutigen Affektpoetik zu schlagen und zu überlegen, ob es für die Gattung Brief einen spezifischen Affekt gebe.

Im Panel “Rhetorischer Einsatz von Affekten” zeigte Pia FIEDLER (Graz) am Beispiel von ausgewählten Suppliken, also von an politische und geistige Obrigkeiten gerichteten Bittbriefen, wie diese in ihrer Form und Argumentation auf die antike Rhetoriktradition zurückgreifen Continue reading

Registration for: What is a letter? (2 to 4 July 2014, Oxford)

Registration is now open for the international symposium

What is a letter? An interdisciplinary approach
2 to 4 July 2014, at St Edmund Hall, Oxford

Conference fee: £18
payable in advance (ideally by cheque) or on the day; partial attendance is possible

Please note that places are limited and are available on a first-come first-served basis.

To register, contact
Dr Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig (isabel.matthews-schlinzig@seh.ox.ac.uk) or
Caroline Socha (caroline.socha@gs.uni-heidelberg.de)
by Wednesday, 25 June 2014.

Please click here for the symposium programme.

More information about the symposium can be found here.

CFP: The beauty of letters […] , 14 – 15 March 2015, Birmingham (UK)

Conference title: The beauty of letters – text, type and communication in the eighteenth century; The Baskerville Society’s 2nd two-day conference
Organised by: Professor Caroline Archer (caroline.archer@bcu.ac.uk) and Dr Malcolm Dick m.m.dick@bham.ac.uk
Date/place: 14–15 March 2015, Birmingham (UK)
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 1 July 2014

In his preface to Paradise Lost (1758), John Baskerville described himself as ‘an admirer of the beauty of letters’. This conference takes his phrase as a starting point to explore the production, distribution, consumption and reception, not only of letters, but also words, texts and images during the long eighteenth century (c. 1688-1820). This conference will consider how writing, printing, performance and portrayal contributed to the creation of cultural identity and taste, assisted the spread of knowledge and contributed to political, economic, social and cultural change in Britain and the wider world.

Writing: teaching of writing and penmanship; styles of handwritten script; copybooks; shorthand; handwritten documents such as Continue reading

CFP: Letters: Making and Meanings

Date/Venue: 27 June 2014, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, London
Organised by: Charlotte Brown and Zoe Thomas, Royal Holloway, University of London
Deadline for submitting proposals: 5 May 2014
Contact: makinglettersmakingmeanings@gmail.com

Abstracts are invited for twenty-minute papers for the workshop Letters: Making and Meanings, 1700-present day. The workshop explores how the physical process of creating a letter could build meaning as significant as the words themselves. Letters: Making and Meanings engages with the lively current scholarship on the history of emotions and material culture to explore the semiotic significance of the physical and material presence of letters.

We wish to encourage cross-disciplinary participation from archive and museum professionals, scholars of history, palaeography, material culture, the emotions and other relevant disciplines. The day will include practical workshops by the Institute of Historical Research and the British Postal Museum and Archive.

Please send a 200 word abstract and a brief biographical note to makinglettersmakingmeanings@gmail.com by 5 May 2014.

Possible topics may include:
•Practical processes such as handwriting, folding, delivery and writing conventions.
•Tools such as paper, pens, seals, and stamps
•Inserted objects such as newspaper clippings, and love tokens.
•Themes relating to life-cycles, lifestyles, business and personal transactions, identity and the self, gender, consumption, transnational experiences, emotions and memory.

Letters: Making and Meanings is organised by Charlotte Brown and Zoe Thomas, Royal Holloway, University of London. With the generous support of the Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture, RHUL.

Source: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/shs/shs-news/call-for-papers-letters-making-and-meanings