Call for Papers

In the past decade, historians have increasingly turned to the family as a key site of imperial processes. This conference aims to bring together local and international scholars working on any aspect of British imperial family history between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Across the British Empire, the family was a social and economic unit at the heart of life. It operated as a site of economic strategy and capital accumulation; shaped identity formation; and structured political, gendered, sexual, generational and racialised power relations. By exploring these themes, the conference aims to provoke a conversation about the multiple and complex ways in which the family operated as a critical building block that shaped, enabled, sustained and resisted colonialism in a range of geographic and temporal contexts, from British Columbia to British India. In so doing, the conference aims to facilitate deeper connections and future collaborations between historians interested in different aspects of family history, from the family economies of colonial rule to the social histories of imperial education.

Key themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Family intimacy at a distance
  • Age and generation
  • Race, nation and ethnicity
  • Affective economies
  • Colonial networks
  • Sexuality

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Adele Perry (University of Manitoba), Dr. Elizabeth Buettner (University of York), Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne (McGill University), and Dr. Rhonda Semple (St. Francis Xavier University).

To submit a proposal, please email an abstract of up to 300 words and a 1-page CV to by Friday 22 July 2011. The numbers of papers that can be accepted is limited. Proposals from postgraduates and early career scholars are particularly welcome.

The conference is supported by the Economic History Society, the Royal Historical Society and University College London. We would also like to thank the Institute of Historical Research for their support.


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