New approaches to the history of popular protest and resistance in Britain and Ireland, 1500-1900
Workshop 3, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Saturday 2 March, 2013
Landscapes of resistance: figuring the places and spaces of protest and politics past.
In 1991 Andrew Charlesworth proposed an agenda for the future of protest studies. Central to his manifesto was the plea for historians to be more attentive to the particularities of place, and place-bound politics, in writing detailed microhistories of protest history. Emphatically, his call has been answered in numerous detailed studies. Such accounts have been invaluable in helping delineate the impacts of wider processes on specific communities and, conversely, in thinking through how the ‘local’ can help to constitute the national, and even the international. We might even assert that, in the ensuing period there has been a ‘spatial turn’ in the study of protest, albeit one with a narrow conceptualization of ‘space’: the consideration of location; connection; and diffusion.
If we therefore now know much about context, the influence of local topography – both economically and politically – and the local contours of resistance, we need to think more critically about space not as something in which protest occurs, or even as something that delimits protest, but rather as something which in itself is an active agent of figuring acts of resistance. Through cultures of local xenophobia, the microspaces of oppression, the mappings of mobilization, through to the transnational networking of trade solidarities, space is more than just a backdrop. Here too historians and historical geographers have begun to reconceptualize landscapes as environments of co-presence (nature/culture; self/landscape). All of this demands it be brought into our studies of resistance in significantly greater depth and breadth. We also need to be more attentive to the complex networks of politics past, and especially the community contexts of the interplay between everyday, instrumental politics and radical, participatory politics.
This workshop, building upon those held at the Universities of Hertfordshire and West of England, explores how we can conceptualize the places and spaces of protest past. We seek to challenge old paradigms and to expose these to broader developments in the fields of social, cultural and environmental history, historical geography and public history. Particularly encouraged are contributions from new researchers, conceptually driven interventions and engagements with the relational politics of people, place and protest.
Paper proposals of no more than 200 words should be sent to Nigel Harrison at the University of Gloucestershire by Monday 14th January 2013.
To offer a shorter paper, poster presentation or simply to attend please also contact the above.
We also intend holding a ‘forward planning and future collaborations’ meeting on the morning of 3rd March. All are welcome to attend but please alert the organizers beforehand if you intend doing so.
Thanks to funding from the History Workshop, Economic History Society and the University of Gloucestershire there is no attendance fee and some funds are available to support postgraduate travel. For more information please contact Dr Katrina Navickas.