Privacy, Literacy and the Self: Conference in honour of David Vincent

On Saturday 27 June 2015, the Open University and the Social History Society will host a one-day conference ‘Privacy, literacy and the self’ in honour of David Vincent at the OU in London, Camden. The conference will include established scholars and newer researchers, with papers considering the significance of David’s scholarship and the new directions it points to.

For further details and to reserve a place, please contact Yvonne Bartley. (Email:, Tel: 01908 332790).

Conference fees: Full:  £20 / Concessions:  £10

*Registration fees include lunch and refreshments


09.15 – 09.45         Registration and Coffee

09.45 – 10.30         Keynote Address: Deborah Cohen – Family Secrets: Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain (Northwestern University)

10.30 – 12.00         Roundtable: Working-class writers and autobiography

Chair/Discussant: David Vincent (Open University)

Julie-Marie Strange (University of Manchester)

Helen Rogers (Liverpool John Moores)

Jane Humphries (University of Oxford)

12.00 – 12.45         LUNCH

12.45 – 14.15         Literacy and popular culture

Chair/Discussant: Ros Crone (Open University)

Bob Patten (Rice University) ‘Privates and Public: Topsy-Turvy Sex’

Brian Maidment (Liverpool John Moores) ‘The satirical image, cultural politics and popular progress 1820 – 1840’

Louis James (University of Kent) ‘Sam Weller’s Pickwick?’

14.15 – 14.30         COFFEE

14.30 – 16.00         Privacy, the media and the state

Chair/Discussant: Christian Bailey (Open University)

Tom Crook (Oxford Brookes University) ‘Secrecy, privacy and public life: the trajectory of ‘corruption’, c. 1830-1900’

Mathew Thompson (University of Warwick) ‘Privacy and the Cultural History of the NHS’

Eve Colpus (University of Southampton) ‘That’s Life! BBC media activism and the limits to privacy c. 1974-1993’

16.00 – 16.45         Round-up:

James Vernon (University of California)


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