Workshop: ‘The Home in Modern History and Culture’
27 January 2020, Council Room, Trent Building, University of Nottingham
Keynote speaker: Professor Jane Hamlett, Royal Holloway
CFP deadline: 22 November 2019
The University of Nottingham’s AHRC-funded project ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020’ (see www.florencenightingale.org) is arranging the second of a series of three thematic project workshops. Following the first successful event on nineteenth-century healthcare, this second workshop seeks to examine, from multiple disciplinary perspectives, the broad theme of ‘Home’ and its applicability as a prism through which to understand historical change.
‘Home’ is an elusive notion, lacking a permanent definition; it is a concept that is manifested through specific places and at specific times yet also transcends these. Edwin Heathcote, in The Meaning of Home (2012), wrote that homes are ‘receptacles of both personal and collective memory, containers of meaning and symbol’. The history of the home unavoidably overlaps with histories of gender, work and architecture, geographies of mobility, and cultural and literary readings of concepts such as domesticity, the family, and privacy. In recent decades, these concepts have become fundamental to readings of modern social history, not least in the nineteenth century. For example, scholars use domesticity as a prism through which to investigate the history of public buildings, institutions and public spaces, alongside the Foucauldian paradigm of power and control.
The case of Florence Nightingale demonstrates the richness and elasticity of the term ‘home’. Home for Nightingale meant variously a childhood sanctuary, a prison constraining women’s energy, the object of sanitary reform, a communal place for nurses to live and study, a spiritual refuge, and the place one went to after death. These ideas will be explored in the forthcoming book Florence Nightingale At Home, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2020.
While the team’s focus is on nineteenth-century Britain, the workshop welcomes contributions from a range of periods and locations. Papers are invited from specialists in history, literature, geography, architecture, material culture, or other scholars with new/distinctive perspectives on the history and culture of the home.
Contributors are invited to address the following questions:
● What has been the historical relationship between (ideas of) home and the built environment? How do changing uses of space, furniture and decoration reflect ideological/cultural/historical patterns?
● What tensions can be observed between ideologies of domesticity on the one hand, and life in non-family based institutions on the other?
● What has ‘home’ meant in such institutions as: hospitals, convents, boarding schools, asylums, military barracks, prisons, factories?
● How have ideas of ‘homeliness’ been challenged/modified/subverted at different times?
● How far is ‘home’ a useful concept for understanding national, cultural, or ideological histories?
● How has home been represented and contested in literature and popular culture? To what extent have these depictions of home influenced other forms of discourse, for example health discourse?
– The workshop is fully funded as part of the AHRC Research Grant-funded project ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020: an historico-literary analysis of her family life’, grant ref AH/R00014X/1. (www.florencenightingale.org)
– There will be no charge for attendance.
– Applications from PhD students and early career researchers are welcomed.
– A limited number of travel bursaries are available for travel within the UK. To apply, please include an estimate of your travel costs in your email application.