Photo from Mass-Observation ‘Worktown’ collection taken in Bolton c.1937-8 (with thanks to the Worktown Archive).
Two decades ago, Raphael Samuel composed his fierce critique of academic history. He suggested that we should spend less time pondering upon national myths – so-called ‘invented traditions’ – and instead pay more attention to ‘the perceptions of the past which find expression in the discriminations of everyday life’. He set about reconstructing the minutiae of ordinary experience ‘from below’, believing that this constituted the most insightful -and democratic- means of practicing history. Samuel’s words proved remarkably influential, and have found particular expression in recent historiographical trends. Whether interested in how daily habits and social practice have shaped self-narratives and consciousness, or in the rhetorical and intellectual utility of this concept, historians have been increasingly tuning into the ‘everyday’.
This one-day symposium hopes to bring together historians and scholars from related disciplines such as sociology, archaeology, and politics that use the idea of ‘everyday life’ in their work. The theme is not confined to any particular period or sub-discipline- instead the aim is to hear a wide range of such research and ultimately incite a lively discussion about methodological and theoretical aspects of writing about and with ‘everyday life’.
Papers will be limited to 20 minutes, with successful applicants to be contacted by 11th July. A small fund for contributing to travel costs is available for external speakers, please let us know in your email if you require funding.
Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and leading historian of the everyday Joe Moran will be giving a keynote speech, with comment to be provided by senior figures within the Faculty of History at Cambridge.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Laura Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alex Campsie (email@example.com)