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CALL FOR PAPERS: Industrial Labour & Literary Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

CALL FOR PAPERS: Industrial Labour & Literary Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

Organised by the Piston, Pen & Press research project and the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere.
Friday 7 June 2019
Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere.

How did the industrial working-class engage with literary culture in the long nineteenth century? How far was their engagement determined by their industrial occupation? What can the literary productions of industrial working-class writers tell us about the processes of identity formation? How can the industrial working-class’s engagement with literary culture be used by industrial heritage and labour museums both to deepen our understanding of industrial/working-class history and make that knowledge available to the wider public?

These are some of the key questions which underpin the AHRC-funded Piston, Pen & Press project. This project focuses on industrial workers in Scotland and Northern England, but the research team would like to situate their work within a much broader European context. Hence this conference which, we hope, will draw together academics and museum professional from across Europe to discuss these questions.

The conference organisers welcome proposals for 20 minute papers on any of the following topics:
• The ways in which European industrial workers represented themselves, their labour and/or the labour process in literary forms such as; poetry, song, fiction, autobiography, memoir.
• The role played by literary culture in producing working-class identities.
• The ways in which industrial workers gained access to literary culture through reading groups, reading rooms, mutual improvement societies, literary societies, libraries etc (irrespective of whether these were created by or for the workers).
• The role played by the industrial working-class engagement with literary culture in industrial heritage/labour museums in the C21st.

The organisers are particularly interested in receiving proposals for papers which focus on any of the following occupational groups – textile workers, miners, railway workers.

The organisers are able to offer a limited number of fully funded places to workshop participants, covering registration and accommodation and with a small bursary to assist with travel. Priority will be given to postgraduate students, early career scholars not in full time employment, or heritage professionals without access to conference funding. The conference organisers hope to publish some of the conference proceedings in either an edited collection or a special journal issue. The conference proceedings will be in English.

Please submit your proposals (500 words maximum) and a summary cv (1 page) to: michael.sanders@manchester.ac.uk by 30 January 2019.

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