Post Conference Feedback and Contemporary British History Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper

It’s raining gently as I write this, but I’m still feeling the warmth and energy from last week’s conference, when sunny coffee breaks seemed to give way to electrifying panels in regular succession.

If you were there, could you:

a) fill out the survey asking for feedback

b) if you like, nominate a paper given by a postgraduate for the prize sponsored by the Contemporary British History journal (email me m.moulton at, or tweet at CBH)

If you weren’t there, but care about the project of MBS, fill out this survey anyway, with a focus on the final page. We’re looking for co-conspiritors to make #MBS2021 (and beyond) sustainable and pertinent.


One week to go! An introduction to the opening roundtable on de-centering British Studies from the peripheries

By Jacob Fredrickson and Martha Robinson Rhodes on behalf of the MBS postgraduate and early career researcher group.

With MBS 2019 only a week away, the programmes have gone to print, name-tags are on their way, and Birmingham is bracing itself for the biennial arrival of hundreds of British studies scholars for three days of vibrant, inspiring and challenging conversations. We thought it was a good time to introduce in a little more detail what will kick off this year’s conference, a half day session organised by us, postgraduates and early-career researchers working within the Centre for Modern British Studies here at Birmingham.

We firstly want to thank the Centre for again inviting us to kick off discussions and frame the intellectual agenda for the next few days.

This year, we’ve titled our workshop ‘Decentring British Studies From the Peripheries’. In doing so, we’re hoping to both provide a welcoming and productive space for junior scholars, and articulate the value and importance of our voices within the field as a whole. This is particularly important at a moment where postgraduates and early-career researchers face increasingly hostile conditions and labour practices.

The issue of precarity and casualisation in academia has been central to our discussions as postgraduates and early career researchers over the last few years. In January 2015, we published a working paper where we argued, “The ongoing shift to a market-based education system (which can be characterised as the neoliberalisation of the University) continues to re-imagine and re-construct the material conditions in which we work…Young academics setting out to write original and insightful PhD dissertations also appear to be the most obvious potential victims of job scarcity, declining research funding and pervasive long working hours.” To explore these issues in more detail, we have hosted a number of conferences exploring the relationship between our working conditions and the sorts of history we’re able to write.

This year, we want to harness the energy of our previous discussions towards a slightly different intellectual enquiry. For our roundtable, ‘Decentring British Studies From the Peripheries’, we have asked the speakers to consider contributions that are focused on an aspect of their own research, with precarity as a category of analysis – rather than presentations about precarity per se.

In line with the theme of the wider conference, we want to think beyond boundaries by returning to one of the most vexed historiographical boundaries in our field, the periphery. In this roundtable, we want to return to the periphery in the time of precarity.

Firstly, the ‘time of precarity’ draws our attention to the pressing need to return to the periphery in post-Brexit, neoliberal, imperially nostalgic Britain. Thinking through the boundaries of Britain and of British identity – who gets to be British, who gets to set the boundaries of the periphery itself, where these boundaries are drawn – all of this has a pressing political purpose at a time when national identity is at the centre of a toxic and pernicious politics, with worryingly increasing appeal.

We also want to consider the ‘time of precarity’ in a second sense; the temporalities of our precarious labour. Postgraduates and early career researchers are increasingly expected to do more in less time. This impacts what research we can conduct. From having the time, and money, to visit archives, to balancing teaching with writing on exploitative contracts, precarity marginalises. As MBS PGRs wrote in 2015, ‘we stand on the edge of the academy, it is our precarious position of becoming historians that most keenly reveals the relationships between academic and non-academic, between experts and non-experts, between history and our present moment’.

The periphery in the time of precarity is a useful heuristic to reflect on the impact of our working conditions. We want to stimulate discussion of the periphery utilising precarity, and precarious labour, as a category of historical analysis. How, and in what ways, does our own knowledge becomes privileged or marginalised? How does this shape what can be told about modern Britain?

We have invited six scholars across career stage to reflect on these themes in relation to their own work. It is our hope that this session stimulates a conversation on the relationship between our labour, our working conditions and the limits to what it is possible to know about modern Britain.

Speaking on the roundtable will be:

Lara Choksey, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter

Jonathan Saha, Associate Professor at the University of Leeds

Laura Sefton, Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Birmingham

Olivia Havercroft, Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Manchester

David Geiringer, Associate Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London

Ruby Daily, Postgraduate Researcher at Northwestern University

Following the roundtable, we will be hosting a number of smaller workshops that will run co-currently. These will focus on the practicalities of becoming a scholar within British Studies, including sessions on journal articles, book contracts, and job applications to universities outside of Britain. We have also organised a session for more senior colleagues, exploring practical ways established academics can build solidarity and support junior scholars. Please see the programme for full details on this.

We hope that those who are attending the conference over the three days will attend, even if you aren’t a postgraduate or early-career researcher. Precarity affects us all, and we hope to make clear that the political and historical questions it poses are of pressing importance to the field of modern British studies as a whole.

See you next week!


A Guide to Travel, Accommodation, and Food & Drink in Birmingham

All of us at MBS look forward to welcoming you to Birmingham in July.

We are lucky to be able to share with you the Brum Secrets Zine, produced by MBS’s own Ellie Munro. We draw your attention especially to pages 6-10 for great restaurant, café and bar recommendations. Scroll down for more links on accommodation, travel, and food from the University’s main site as well.

Screen Shot 2019-06-06 at 10.35.15 AM


University of Birmingham’s information on accommodation

University of Birmingham’s information on travel

University of Birmingham’s information on food & drink

Registration Deadline Extended

We have extended the registration deadline. You can register here.
All presenters must register before the conference.

Please be advised, if you require a visa invitation letter to attend the conference we cannot now guarantee that we will be able to provide you with one with enough time for you to apply for the required visa. You register at your own risk and we are not able to provide a refund for late applicants.

For folks who aren’t presenting — we can take payment and register you on arrival, but you would need to bring the correct amount in cash or pay with a cheque. We do not have the facility to provide change or take payment by card.
And that’s all the technical formal stuff! Can’t wait to see you in July!

Draft Programme and Registration

Registration is open here.

And, we have a draft programme! Download it here.


Wednesday 3 July


8:00: Registration opens


The first morning of sessions is organised by postgraduate researchers and early-career researchers. All are welcome.


9.15 – 10.45: Roundtable: ‘Decentering Modern British Studies, from the peripheries’

Chairs: Jacob Fredrickson & Martha Robinson-Rhodes


Laura Sefton

David Geiringer

Ruby Daily

Olivia Havercroft

Jonathan Saha

Lara Choksey



11.15-12:15: Break-out sessions


A Getting published in academic journals


An advice session on writing and publishing in academic journals with guidance from experienced editors of journals in the field.


B Applying for an academic job outside the UK


Advice and tips from international scholars on the particularities of the application process for securing an academic post in the Anglo-speaking world.

C Securing a Book contract


A session led by academic publishers exploring how to approach formulating a book proposal, and turning your doctoral thesis into a book.








Precarity in Academia: Standing in Solidarity & Fighting Back


Session details tbc.




12:15-1: Lunch


1-2:30 Plenary Session: Inclusive Pedagogy in Modern British Studies


2:30-3: Break


3-4:30 Panel Session 1


A Subverting gendered institutions in the twentieth century

Chair: Hannah Kershaw


Anne Hanley, ‘I caught it and yours truly was very sorry for himself.’ Searching for the consumer-patient in Britain’s VD Service


Catherine Holloway, Crossing and Constructing Boundaries: The Construction of ‘Modern’ Girlhood in Girls’ Technical Schools in 1950s Britain


Ellie Simpson, Beyond the Boundary: Section 28, Sex Education and the Contested Authority of the Teacher in 1980s Britain

B Roundtable on Race and Ethnicity in UK History and British Studies

Chair: Sadiah Qureshi


Shahmima Akhtar

Saima Nasar

Kennetta Hammond Perry

Jonathan Saha

C Small Histories Across Boundaries

Chair: Matt Houlbrook


Simon Briercliffe, An intimate history of an Irish quarter


Itziar Bilbao Urrutia, Coffee Table Kink: an intimate history of an emerging subculture


Dion Georgiou, Suburban Close-up:   Writing British History from the City’s Margins


Richard Hall, Fathers, sons and emotional oral histories


Julia Laite, A microhistory of ‘sex trafficking’ in the modern British world


Lucinda Matthews-Jones, Settling on a Translocal History








Identity and Representation: Transcending Britishness in the Mission World

Chair: ?


Jennifer Bond, ‘The One for the Many’: Zeng Baosun, Louise Barnes and the Yifang School for Girls at Changsha, 1893–1927


Hannah Briscoe, Missionary family correspondence and the co-construction of identity: creating a shared space between colony and metropole


Emily Manktelow, The local and the global at Canterbury Cathedral: bringing the Empire home


Caitlin Russell, ‘Imperial structures of feeling’: English missionary women’s representations of Indian women and girls as imperial and religious ‘others’ c. 1881

E Teaching Modern British History: War Studies



4:30-5: Break


5-6:30: Panel Session 2



A Landscapes of the Mind: Urban Space and Social Affect in England, 1870-1965

Chair: Phil Child


Olivia Havercroft, A lunatic asylum (“For Architects”)’: town planning and mental health in England, 1870-1914


Ren Pepitone, Law Student Sociability, Imperial Regulation, and the Contested Spaces of Legal London


Divya Subramanian, Contesting the Landscape of Social Democracy

B Queer Time and Place: LGBTQ Lives in the 1970s and 1980s

Chair: Chris Waters


Nadine Gilmore, “The Drift Towards Destruction”: the gay rights movement and morality in Northern Ireland, 1972 – 1982


Sophie Monk, Temporalities of Gay Liberation in 1970s Britain


Martha Robinson Rhodes, Time, Popular Memory and the Present in Oral Histories of Bisexuality and Multiple-Gender-Attraction

C Roundtable: New perspectives on the boundaries which defined women’s expertise in late-nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain


Kate Bradley, Boundaries of knowledge, profession and gender: women, the law, and the labour movement


Jessica P. Clark, The Bounds of Beauty: bodily knowledge and female beauty workers, 1890-1912


Helen Glew, Crossing boundaries: women workers, expertise and the marriage bar


Katie Hindmarch-Watson, Women telegraphists, telephone operators, and boundaries of privacy in early twentieth Century Britain

D Colonial Experiences in Imperial Space

Chair: Amanda Behm


D.C. Bélanger, The Decline of Empire Loyalism in French Canada


Husseina Dinani, Assigned to the “Punishment Station”: Colonial Officials, Everyday life and Impoverishment in southern Tanganyika


Thanasis Kinias, Multiple Scales of Whiteness: A Racialized Spatial Imaginary at Imperial and Colonial Levels

E Teaching Modern British History: The 1980s



Thursday 4 July


9-10:30: Panel Session 3



A Women, social mobility, and ideas of the future, c.1950s-1980s

Chair: Penny Tinkler


Laura Carter, Secondary modern girls and the meaning of social mobility in Britain, 1957-1972


Hannah Charnock, Teenage girls, hopes for the future and contraceptive practice, 1950-1980


Eve Worth, Beyond Feminism: Women, the Welfare State and Social Mobility During the Long 1970s

B Rethinking Britishness at the Boundaries: The Local, the Global and the Imperial

Chair: Penny Sinanoglou


Martin Johnes, The politics of popular history: Taking a history of colonialism to a Welsh television audience


Mimi McGann, ‘A privilege of continuity’: The future of boundary-marking in British folklore and politics


Chika Tonooka, Looking for Global Britain beyond boundaries – in Japanese imperial history


Theo Williams, Pan-Africanism and the Discourses of Britishness and Modernity

C Exploring environment and materiality in histories of citizenship, rights and activism in modern Britain

Chair: Chris Moores


Eve Colpus, Telephone use and the contested political agency of children and teenagers in 1980s/90s Britain


Eloise Moss, Hotels, disability access and activism in modern Britain


Hannah J. Elizabeth, “HIV you must be jokin’ / I tell you man, I was boakin’”: recovering the everyday experiences of those living with HIV in late twentieth century Edinburgh

D Information exchange beyond boundaries: Britain and the international circulation of ideas after 1945

Chair: Marianna Dudley


Rosanna Farbol and Jonathan Hogg, Nuclear Exchanges: forms of information exchange between Britain and Denmark in the Cold War era, 1950-1990


David Grealy, British Foreign Policy towards Rhodesia, 1977-79: David Owen and the Entangled Histories of Human Rights and Humanitarianism


Taym Saleh, “Europhobes”, “Eurofanatics” and “gutless whingers”: the EEC, the parties and the electorate in Britain, 1983-4


Jacob Ward, Thatcherism, BT’s Privatisation, and the Global Information Society



10:30-11: Break


11-12:30: Panel Session 4



A Empire and Imagination: national and imperial identities in the British Isles

Chair: Mo Moulton


Sean Donnelly, Ireland in the imperial imagination: British nationalism and the Anglo-Irish Treaty


George Evans, Irish imperial identities in transnational perspective


Yuhei Hasegawa, Leopold Amery and the British Empire as ‘an Imagined Community’


B Gender, Sexualities, and Identity Within and Beyond Boundaries


Clare Martin, Gender, class, and region: Yorkshire working-class women in their own words (c.1900-1940)


David Minto, Britain’s Queer Connections to the World League for Sexual Reform


Chris Wallace, ‘I was more “dinkum” than had been anticipated’: Noël Coward’s 1940 Tour of Australia, Waving the Wartime Flag for Britain


Lauren Wells, Cross-dressing in the Community: Masculinity, Cross-dressing, and Working-Class Entertainment in Yorkshire, 1900-1939

C Solidarity Beyond Boundaries


Ewan Gibbs, ‘The Unacceptable Face of Labour’: Trade Union Solidarity and Division at Caterpillar Tractors, Uddingston c.1960s-1987


Diarmaid Kelliher, The Spatial Politics of the Picket Line, 1966-1988


Valerie Wright, Solidarity forever?: Exploring the intersection of class and regional/national identity in shipbuilding and car manufacture in the West of Scotland c. 1961-2017

D Boundaries and Governance, at Home and Abroad


Amanda Behm, Remaking Albion’s frontiers: the American Pacific Coast, vigilantism, and self-governance in Victorian thought


Fernando Gomez Herrero, Evelyn Waugh among the Barbarians; Or about Scott-King’s Modern Europe(1947)


Penny Sinanoglou, Boundaries of law: Marital legitimacy in the British empire


Ellen Boucher, Does Neoliberalism Have Borders?: Nuclear Risk, Popular Sentiment, and the Boundaries of Thatcherism, 1979-1986

E Teaching Modern British History : decolonising the curriculum



12:30-1:30: Lunch


1:30-3: Keynote by Dr Caroline Bressey: “Living Together: Remapping the Boundaries of Multi-Ethnic Britain”


3-3:30: Break


3:30-5: Panel Session 5



A Respecting Boundaries: the personal, professional and political in modern British history


Emily Baughan, ‘Inclined to make a fuss’: women of colour and white, male ex-colonial officials in international aid in the 1960s.


Anna Bocking-Welch, ‘Primrose pitches in with the gentle touch’: women as amateurs, experts, and ‘do-gooders’ in the post-war humanitarian sector


Charlotte Lydia Riley, Cheap Cows Like You: Being a Professional Woman in the World

B Modern Britain on Drugs

Respondent: Lucy Robinson


Peder Clark, Do You Love What You Feel?”: Ecstasy, Rave, and Ways of Knowing, 1988-1995


Ben Mechen, Rubber Gloves and Liquid Gold: Poppers and the Policing of London’s Queer Nightlife


Yewande Okuleye, You Call It Marijuana and I Call It “The Herb”: Cannabis as a Boundary Object

C Boundaries of sickness, Boundaries of citizenship in 20th & 21s century Britain

Respondent: Chris Moores


Sarah Dorrington, Maybe fit: Sickness certification in the UK, 2008-2017


Gareth Millward, Privatising sickness: policing British absenteeism in the first Thatcher government


Martin Moore, “Bright-while-you-wait”: interstitial time and GPs’ waiting rooms in Britain’s Queuetopia, 1948-1958


Janet Weston, The Lunacy Office and ‘being incapable’ in mid-20th century England & Wales

D The Case for Education: Schools, Identity, and Social Change in Modern Britain


Hester Barron, Class identities in the interwar classroom


Chris Jeppesen, ‘We’re not Bradford, but it’s vitally important to address this situation’: Multicultural education, localism, and identity in rural Britain, c. 1965-90


Amy Gower, ‘Controversial Issues’ and the Inner London Education Authority


5-5:30: Break


5:30-7: Keynote by Prof Enda Delaney: “The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)? Modern British Studies and Irish History”


Reception to follow.


Friday 5 July


9-10:30 Panel Session 6



A (Post)Imperial Circulations: Immigration, Identity, and the Production of Knowledge

Chair: Sadiah Qureshi


Nadine Attewell, Encounters that Bite: Fieldwork and Chinese Diasporic Intimacy in the Imperial Metropole


Jack Crangle, British, Irish or ‘other’? Immigrant identities in Northern Ireland’s divided society


Olatunde Taiwo, Forced Migration in British Africa: A Study in the Statutory Authorisations of Deportation in Nigeria, 1900-1940


Caroline Ritter, ‘Britain’s Real Black Gold’: The English-Language Industry in Britain

B Beyond Boundaries in the History of Sexuality

Chair: Ben Griffin


Laura Doan, Natural and Unnatural: Lord Berners and His Circle


George Morris, Intimacy and the invention of the Anglican confessional, 1865-1879


Emily Rutherford, Conservative Homosexualities and Normative Masculinities in Early-Twentieth-Century Cambridge

C Radical Nationalism(s) and the Shifting Boundaries of “Britishness” in Post-War Britain

Chair: Emily Baughan


Benjamin Bland, Reasserting the ‘Island Race’: Postcolonial Melancholia and the Evolution of Far Right Euroscepticism in Contemporary Britain


Bethan Johnson, Bombs & Borders: Celtic Fringe Nationalisms’ Embrace of Extreme Sectarian Violence and Mass Civil Unrest, 1960-1980


Liam J. Liburd, ‘War on the Whiteman’: Colony, Metropole and Opposition to Commonwealth Immigration on the British Radical Right, 1953-1967


Steve Westlake, The ‘Oxfam of the Mind’? The Humanitarian Rhetoric of the BBC External Services and the Reimagining of Global Britain, 1975-1978

D The miners’ strike, 1984-5: gender and class at the boundaries of political struggle

Chair: Daisy Payling


Emily Peirson-Webber, Gender, material culture and the miners’ strike, 1984-5


Nathalie Thomlinson, The boundaries of the political: Activism, ‘ordinary women’, and the 1984-5 miners’ strike


Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Class, gender and activism in regional perspective: women’s experiences in the miners’ strike, 1984-5

E Beyond the university: community members as researchers, historians, and archivists

Organisers: Josie McLellan, Jessica Hammett, Meleisa Ono-George



Members of the North Kensington Archive and Heritage Project


Windrush Strikes Back decolonial detectives


Single Parent Action Network History Group




10:30-11: Break


11-12:30: Keynote by Prof Sharon Marcus: “The Drama of Celebrity”


12:30-1:30: Lunch


1:30-3: Panel Session 7



A Feeling Like Citizens: Emotions, Experience and Expertise in the Public Realm

Chair: Clare Langhamer


Sarah Crook, Student Anxiety in the Age of Affluence


Matthew Francis, ‘The Robots Are Not People’: The Maybot Between Brexit and the Second Machine Age


Chris Moores, Corporeal Conservativism: Moral Movements, Bodies and Brains


Emily Robinson (paper co-written with Jonathan Moss and Jake Watts), Heads, Hearts and Guts: An Emotional History of Brexit

B Transnational Travel and Communities


Steve Burke, Familiarity and difference at the boundaries of British experience: Identifying with places and people in travel accounts from Atlantic peripheries, 1815-1830


Paul Jackson, ‘Fascism Beyond Nations’: The (British?) Extreme Right and Transnational Imagined Communities, Past and Present


Ellen Smith, ‘With kisses on both your cheeks’: The Transnational Family of Caroline Cuffley Giberne, 1803-1885


Gareth Roddy, Into the West: The Literature of Travel and Landscape in the Western British-Irish Isles, c.1880-1940

C The Rising Generation: Young People, the State and the Future c. 1908-1979

Chair: Emily Baughan


Jennifer Crane, ‘Government by consent does not necessarily imply government by mediocrity’: Gifted Children and Building Liberal Democratic Nations, 1945-1970


Laura Sefton, Innocence in the Marketplace: Children, the British State, and Market Regulation 1908-1979


Laura Tisdall, ‘I’m not going to be anything’: children, death and the future in Cold War Britain and the United States

D Gender and Agency on the Margins

Chair: Lucy Robinson


Rebecca Jennings, A shared culture of lesbian motherhood? The impact of transnational exchange on lesbian parenting in 1970s and 80s Britain


Beth Parkes, Suntanning, Race, and Protest in Teenage Magazines: 1970-1989


Beckie Rutherford, Apart or A Part’? Understanding the Agency and Erasure of Disabled Women Within the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, c. 1970-1993


Maia Silber, Terms of Service: British Domestics and the Negotiation of Identity in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, 1902-1914

E Teaching: Interdisciplinary Methods in the Classroom


3:14-4:45: Panel Session 8



A British Jewish History: Evolving Methodologies and Contexts

Chair: David Feldman


Abby Gondek, Ruth Glass and West Indian migrants to London: interpreting anti-black racism through the lens of anti-Semitism


Eliana Hadjisavvas, Imperial Internment: Jewish Refugees and the British Empire – The case of the Cyprus Camps, 1946-1949


Ellis Spicer, “They may be proud or resentful it varies”: The Second Generation of Holocaust Survivors


Gavin Schaffer, Aliyah and its Absence


B Caught out, mugged off, and on the move: revisioning postwar youth 

Chair: Hannah Charnock


Resto Cruz, Laura Fenton and Penny Tinkler, Risky expectations: pregnancies and young girls’ transitions in post-war Britain


Sarah Kenny, Moving through the city: youth culture and spatial mobility in post-war Britain


David Geiringer, Historicising Love Island; youth, emotions and authenticity in late-modern Britain

C Radical business and women’s liberation in late twentieth century Britain


Lucy Delap, Feminist Business Praxis and Spare Rib Magazine, c. 1972-82


Zoe Strimpel, Body negative: Spare Rib letters and the experience of feminism


D-M Withers, Honno Press and Welsh cultural nationalism: cultural policy as insulation from the free market


D Boundaries: Histories of Emotion as Method


Katie Barclay, Emic and Etic Knowledges: the ‘New’ History of Emotions


Laura King, ‘The story of ‘poor Harold’: object micro-histories, collaborating with family historians and boundaries of expertise in history making


Julie-Marie Strange, Love in the Time of Capitalism: emotion in the (re) making of the working class, 1848-1910


Lucy Allen, Devilish Feelings: Rethinking Working-Class Religion and Emotion and the Boundaries of Archives, 1870-1910.





Conference ends.

Call for Papers: Modern British Studies Beyond Boundaries, 3-5 July 2019

Boundaries and borders are vexed subjects. As we write this, we don’t even know what, precisely, the geo-political borders of the United Kingdom will be by July 2019. There could be, then, no more timely moment for questioning the boundaries that have shaped the field of Modern British Studies, and to embark on a project of imagining a scholarly practice that might remake or even transcend them.

The Modern British Studies Centre at the University of Birmingham invites proposals for our conference, Modern British Studies Beyond Boundaries. This conference is the third in a series of bi-annual gatherings assessing the state of our field and pushing forward conversations about the methodological stakes and the political engagement of our work.

Modern British Studies Beyond Boundaries seeks to showcase work and provoke dialogue about the boundaries – whether geographical, epistemological, pedagogical, or something else entirely – that have defined the project of British Studies. We want to ask: how can a critical British Studies question, reshape, or perhaps demolish those boundaries, and with what results? For example:

  • How should British Studies be taught in the present day? What does inclusive pedagogy consist of in our discipline? How might we challenge the boundaries between ‘learner’ and ‘teacher’ or between ‘expert’ and ‘subject’?
  • How are scholars now working beyond national boundaries, conceptualizing Britain as, for instance, an imperial state spread across the globe?
  • How can we put local or national studies of decolonization into the same frame as metropolitan-centric histories of the end of empire? Likewise, how can British Studies situate Britain effectively in comparative and European contexts?
  • What does British Studies look like from a regional or local perspective? What would it mean to take seriously not only Scotland but Scunthorpe as a unit of analysis? What happens when British Studies centres Dublin or Delhi instead of London?
  • In what ways does the category of ‘modernity’ create its own set of boundaries, and how are scholars of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries usefully working with or against this and other sorts of periodization?
  • How have social boundaries of race, class, gender, embodiment, and so on, been constituted within British Studies? How can methodologies that question these categories be applied? Could the insights of transgender history speak productively to the practices of transnational or transimperial history, for instance? Or how might disability studies inform British histories of embodiment?

We welcome proposals from everyone with a stake in Modern British Studies, particularly scholars working in other geographical areas or national traditions, as well as early career scholars, including postgraduates, and people working outside of the academy. Building on our conferences in 2015 and 2017, this conference provides a forum to showcase diverse work, explore new methodologies, and prompt engaged conversations among those working across disciplines on Britain since the eighteenth century.

Confirmed keynote speakers include: Caroline Bressey (University College London), Enda Delaney (University of Edinburgh), and Sharon Marcus (Columbia University). There will also be a plenary session focused on teaching.

We accept proposals for full panels or single papers, though with a preference for full panels where possible. Panel proposals should be for ninety-minute sessions. They may be in the format of the traditional three-paper panel with commenter, or may take a different format. All sessions should be formed with attention to diversity of perspectives in terms of geography, chronology, career stage, background, and discipline or method. The conference organisers will not accept proposals that do not meet these criteria in some way. To assist in forming sessions, we will host a page on our website for calls for fellow panellists, or use the hashtag #mbs2019 on Twitter. You may also submit a proposal for a single paper and, where possible, we will seek to create productive sessions using these submissions.

Session proposals should include:

  • Title of the session
  • Brief description of the session (c. 300 words)
  • Full contact details for all participants
  • Details of participant contributions (e.g., title and c. 300 word paper abstracts)

Paper proposals should include:

  • Title of the paper
  • Brief summary of the paper
  • Full contact details for the author

Email proposals by 28 February 2019 to modernbritishstudies at

Following the practice of the 2015 and 2017 conferences, we will open with a set of conversations relevant specifically to postgraduates and early-career researchers. The programme for this portion will be publicised through our blog and attendance at both is encouraged.

The registration fee covers a portion of the cost of running the conference and providing lunches, tea breaks, and receptions. We will continue to offer 100 free registrations for postgraduate students, early-career researchers on short-term contracts, and the unwaged.

Photograph from Margaret Stanton Collection, Modern Records Centre, Warwick.