The aim of this conference due to take place on 14 May 2011 at Trinity College, University of Oxford, is to bring together historians who are interested in looking at the role that urban spaces have played in the formation and maintenance of social hierarchies in history. Class and the location in the social structure has attracted attention in popular culture, notably in the world of humour as exemplified by the famous 'Class sketch' (The Frost Report, 7 April 1966, written by Marty Feldman and John Law, featuring John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett) which made of the expression 'I know my place' a catchphrase for British social determinism. In recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in the many ways that cities and other urban spaces have affected social, political, and cultural processes. These issues have inspired historians such as Ralph Kingston, John Corrigan, Patrick Joyce, and Frank Mort to move beyond an understanding of the city that posits it as the passive backdrop against which individual lives are played out. They have shown how place, images and our views of them have been constructed historically and contested by different groups at different times. The purpose of this conference is to utilise and apply these ideas in order to shed new light on the study of past social hierarchies. Some suggestions for topics include:
• How have dominant ideas about class and taste been reinforced spatially?
• Have different groups been excluded or isolated through the use of space?
• What is the relationship between the city and class-conflict?
• How have different groups sought to appropriate or leave their mark upon different spaces?
• In what ways have the media and popular press used images of the city to reinforce or determine social hierarchies?
• Have oppressed groups been able to appropriate urban spaces so as to subvert the social structure?
Building on the success of last year’s event, the Journal of the Oxford University History Society’s Second Annual Colloquium is designed to encourage the international community of postgraduate students and established academic historians working on different time periods and different areas of the world to come together and share their ideas. Abstracts of up to 300 words, including a title, name, affiliation and contact details should be submitted to the conference organisers. Deadline for submissions: 3 December 2010.
For further details please contact: The Journal of the Oxford University History Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
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