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Past conferences


Domesticating the Exotic, Exoticising the Domestic: Global Movements of Goods and Practices c.1750-1850 - CECS Day Conference at the King's Manor, York

King's Manor, University of York, 5 March 2016

For further details, please see the conference webpage.

Urbanity and Society in the Middle Ages: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Urban Society and Life across the Medieval Period c.600-1500

King's Manor, University of York, 22-23 May 2015

In addition to looking at the multi-faceted urban experience, this conference will examine the relationships between towns and other aspects of medieval society and culture. How might literature, art or archaeology uncover and explain perceptions of urban institutions such as, but not limited to, guilds, religious bodies or civic authorities? Are there regional differences in how the city or the town should be understood? Is there a difference between the two terms? Was this the same across Europe and the world?

This one and a half day conference aims to bring together post-graduate students and academics alike from a variety of disciplines to open up conversations and create new networks of approaches to urban topics. Scholars of all levels and disciplines are welcome to attend and participate.

Keynote lectures: Zoë Opačić (Birkbeck), Richard Goddard (Nottingham)

Other speakers include Claire Bourguignon (Burgundy), Jana Gajdošová (Birkbeck), Daniel Gerrard (Oxford), Ben Pope (Durham), Dave Postles (Hertfordshire), Jacopo Turchetto (Padova)

Urbanity and Society in the Middle Ages, 22-23 May 2015 (PDF , 1,857kb)

Urbanity and Society - Provisional Schedule (PDF , 373kb)

For full details, including how to register, please visit the conference website.

Tropical Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean: a historical perspective

Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1-4 July 2015

The workshop is organised by Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/ Fiocruz and the University of York as part of the British Academy-funded collaborative project Public health policies and practice in the Caribbean and Latin America: a historical perspective.

Part of a series of international workshops that explore the knowledge and practices related to the history of tropical health and medicine in Latin America and the Caribbean from the 18th century to the present, this three-day symposium focuses on malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, dengue, yellow fever and other diseases that affected the people from that region in the colonial and post-colonial period. Read more.


Public Health in the Caribbean and Latin America: A past perspective

University of York, 18-20 July 2014‌

Diffusionist models of understanding the histories of medicine and health practices in non-European countries have increasingly been discredited. Instead, scholars now highlight the multi-directional movement of ideas and practices between Europe and other parts of the world, as well as the mutually-constitutive character of imperialism, post-colonial ideologies and development projects. Yet, several gaps remain in the historiography. Relatively scant attention has been paid to the production of medical and scientific practices in Caribbean and Latin American contexts, and how the underpinning knowledge was used to reshape the design and implementation of medical, scientific and public health work; this dynamism in Latin America and the Caribbean also had a far-reaching impact on imperial powers such as Portugal, the US, France and, not least, Britain.

This two-day workshop, centred around pre-circulated papers, tries to fill the gap in the scholarship by examining some of the unique public health policies that emerged in the Caribbean and Latin America and which were deeply wedded to local conditions and influenced by negotiations between indigenous elites and the groups they sought to control. The workshop also seeks to better understand the ways in which models of public health organisation and practices were exported wider afield, either through trans-imperial networks or post-Second World War developmental strategies. Read more.

 Representing and Remembering Slavery in the Americas

University of York, 30-31 May 2014‌

This conference is designed to bring together academics interested inthe history of slavery in the Americas (c.15-19th century), but also to allow scholars to address contemporary cultural and political representations and remembrances of slavery. The past decade has seen significant public and popular engagement with the histories of slavery in the Americas, with memorial events, films, literature, and museums encouraging people to confront and engage with various representations and imaginings of slavery outside of the academy. In this conference we will explore how these representations help shine a light onto the dark past of slavery, as well as the present day, butalso the manner in which these imaginings can manipulate, distort, or omit vital elements of the stories of slavery in the Americas. Read more.

 Nutritional Guidelines and Standards: Past and Present Perspectives

3 July 2013

According to the WHO, 925 million people in the world are undernourished and 1.5 billion adults over 20 are overweight. From the 19th century onwards, nutritional guidelines and standards have been devised to both counteract and measure these dual problems. W. O. Atwater of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) drew up the first dietary standards for protein, total calories, fat and carbohydrates for the American population, Seebohm Rowntree used Atwater’s and the work of other early nutritional scientists in his famous study of poverty in York in 1901, and major supermarkets in the UK have recently replaced the Guidelines Daily Amount (GDA) with traffic-light labels on their food products. Nutritional guidelines and standards have not only a long but also an evolving history. The tendency for proxies for good and poor nutrition to universalise the human condition has, however, been challenged.

This one day conference will explore the politics behind and the usefulness of past and present nutritional guidelines and standards. Proposals are welcomed from any discipline and on any geographical setting. More details.

New Perspectives on the Chinese 1950s

19-21 July 2013

The recently-established China in the 1950s Network, funded by the British Inter-University China Centre (AHRC), is an international network for the promotion of scholarly exchanges on this exciting period of history. Hosted at the University of York and partnered with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, the network explores China’s domestic and international history, with a focus on the early 1950s.

In order to promote the network and to establish a community of scholars, the University of York will be hosting a workshop from 19 to 21 July 2013 (Friday afternoon to mid-day on Sunday). The workshop aims to provide a forum in which scholars working on the social history (broadly defined) of China in the 1950s can explore new approaches and engage with recent developments in the field. Particular emphasis will be placed on the importance of primary sources and their uses in writing the history of the early People’s Republic. Suggested themes for papers or panels include: ‘ideology vs. pragmatism’; ‘societal change’; ‘legacies of the pre-Communist era’; ‘the CCP and the city’; and ‘reform and rejection: the history of individuals in the early PRC’ (this is not intended to be an exhaustive, or prescriptive, list and other topics are also very welcome).  Papers are also invited on ‘Greater China’, including Taiwan and Hong Kong. The organisers intend that the papers will form the basis of an edited volume.

The workshop will feature plenary sessions led by Yang Kuisong (ECNU), Karl Gerth (Merton, Oxford) and Christian Hess (Sophia).

York is one of Britain’s most beautiful medieval cities and is just under two hours from London by train. The workshop will be held in the historic King’s Manor building in the town centre.

Contributors are requested to direct all correspondence to Paper abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and panel proposals are most welcome. 

Delegates will have their accommodation provided free of charge on 19 and 20 July and there will also be a free conference dinner on the Saturday. Funds are available to compensate for domestic UK travel, but international scholars are encouraged to seek funding from alternative sources (contributions will be made if possible).


Conspiracies Real and Imagined: Eleventh York Cultural History Conference

8th-9th September 2011

The conference aimed to consider conspiracy across historical period and geographical borders, seeking to provoke debate about the role of the imagine, of the non-event, in the course of historical action. Consideration of actual conspiracies will not be neglected, and the programme will include papers considering the relationship between real and imagined conspiracies, discussing actual conspiratorial action, and how it is justified. Confirmed speakers include Keith Jeffery (Queen's University, Belfast), Ritchie Robertson (St John's College, Oxford), Peter Knight (University of Manchester) and John Cooper (University of York). More details.

Middle Passages: Exploring the Global History of the Slave Trade

Department of History, University of York, The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, and The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History

31 July - 7 August 2011

A conference for teachers from the UK, Ghana and the USA who teach secondary level students and whose curriculum and interests include the history of slavery. Academics from the University of York, Yale University and the Kokrobitey Institute, Ghana, including Professor James Walvin from York, will tutor participants. More details.

Conversion Narratives in the Early Modern World

Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, University of York

9 - 11 June 2011

This three-day conference will bring together scholars from all over the world to discuss the politics and poetics of conversion in the early modern period. More than seventy speakers will explore stories of conversion from Britain to Brazil and Venice to Vietnam, in order to ask what constituted conversion, how religious feeling was understood and expressed, and how rhetorical and narrative conventions structured the experience of religious change. More details.

Development and Empire, 1929-1962

Department of History, University of York, 1-2 July 2011

A two-day conference bringing together scholars from around the world to share knowledge and ideas about British aid-assisted colonial development from the early to the mid twentieth century. Speakers include Paul Greenough, Jordanna Bailkin, Barbara Bush, David Clover, Billy Frank, Joseph Hodge, Gerald Hödl, Leigh Gardner, Michael Jennings, Margaret Jones, Gerold Krozewski, Edward Hamilton, Lucy McCann, Zachary D. Poppel and Uyilawa Usuanlele. More details.

Conquest and Expansionism

5th Annual Conference of the York History Research Society

8 July 2011

A one-day conference bringing together postgraduate research students to discuss the topic of conquest and expansionism and related themes. This is a postgraduate-run conference which aims to foster collaborative engagement between research students. The event, including lunch, refreshments and a drinks reception, is free of charge. All are welcome. More details.

18th Conference of Irish historians in Britain: Irish Life Stories

University of York, 14-16 September 2012

Over the past decade the completion of the Dictionary of Irish Biography, the opening up of the Bureau of Military History’s archive of witness statements and the sometimes controversial role of personal testimony in post-Belfast agreement Northern Ireland, have all underlined the significance of life stories and life narratives to Irish history. From nationalist hagiographies to more recent confessional memoirs, the conflation of the  individual and the nation has been an oft-noted tendency in Irish autobiography and biography, while the ‘Irishness’ of particular lives remains a preoccupation of historical and literary scholarship.

Taking the theme 'Irish life stories', the 18th Conference of Irish historians in Britain will be held at the University of York on 14-16 September 2012. More details.

The Society for the Study of French History, 26th Annual Conference

France and its Neighbours: Towards a Transnational History / France et ses voisins: vers une histoire transnationale

The King's Manor, York, 1-3 July 2012.

The conference theme is prompted by the challenge of globalization and the notion that Europe can no longer be studied primarily through the lens of particular national histories and historiographies. What does this mean for French history and its traditional chronological boundaries? How do we write French history beyond the framework and boundaries of national histories? How did France perceive and influence its neighbours? What is the French contribution to the pattern and dynamic of transnational interconnection? How did France’s colonies and interactions with non-European regions influence European society and culture and how, in turn, was she influenced by them? To what extent does a transnational approach bring fresh perspectives to the regional and local history of France? More details.

Contested Histories and the Parameters of Resistance

3 July 2012

Representing the past is a contested and dissonant process. This interdisciplinary conference aims to create a dialogue across subjects concerning the different ways in which narratives, cultural artefacts, spaces and places are creatively used and reused to perform acts of resistance which contest authoritative versions of history. In line with this we hope to raise questions and indeed try to understand the consequences of these processes of challenge.

Proposals are welcomed to this free event from postgraduate students and early career researchers working in or across disciplines including History, Literature, History of Art, Archaeology, Architecture, Cultural Studies, Film, Geography, International Development, Politics and related fields. More details.


Televisualizing the Past: Simon Schama and A History of Britain Ten Years On

Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past
Wednesday 8th December 2010

Ten years on the Televisualizing the Past conference reflects on the production, distribution and reception of the BBC's landmark history series Simon Schama's A History of Britain. Those involved in the making of the series, including writer and presenter Simon Schama, Controller of BBC Two Janice Hadlow, BBC History Commissioner Martin Davidson, and the award-winning TV producers Clare Beavan and Jamie Muir, will speak at the conference.

Material Culture in History

Fourth Annual Conference of the York History Research Society
Friday 2nd July 2010

In recent years, the use of material culture as a source for reconstructing the past has become increasingly important to historical research. In response to this, our one-day conference aims to showcase research on ‘Material Culture in History,’ bringing together postgraduates working across historical periods and fields.

Femininities: Tenth York Cultural History Conference

Berrick Saul Building, University of York
22-24th April 2010

This three-day international conference, organised by the Department of History, marks the ten year anniversary of the department’s annual Cultural History Conference. Focusing on the theme of ‘femininities’ this conference brings together leading international scholars to examine the state of the field in women’s history, gender history and the history of sexuality and consider the past, present and future of the category of ‘femininities’ as a category of historical analysis.

Speakers include Toby Ditz, Judith Halberstam, Barbara Taylor, Amanda Vickery and Merry Weisner-Hanks. Please find further details of the conference theme, programme and booking information via the link below.

The York Massacre of 1190 in Context

University of York, Centre for Medieval Studies
22 - 24 March 2010

This conference will aim to use the events of 1189-90 as a lens through which to reassess society in England in the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The York massacre was not just a local event but one of a series of violent attacks on local communities of Jews across England in 1189-90. This wider conflict provides an important insight into the rapidly changing nature of English society.

Keynote speakers: Professor Paul R. Hyams, Department of History, Cornell University, Anna Abulafia, University of Cambridge, and Professor Jeffrey J. Cohen, Department of English, George Washington University.

More details

Poverty in Depth: New International Perspectives

The King's Manor, University of York 
6th-8th July 2009

This three-day international symposium, jointly organised by the Department of History and the York Archaeological Trust, aims to bring together international archaeologists, historians and social scientists from a wide range of backgrounds, all of who share interests in the urban archaeology and history of the modern world, to reflect on previous research, exchange information on current projects, and deliberate ideas for future agendas. The Symposium will revolve around five key round-table discussions on the themes of ‘poverty’, ‘health and sanitation’, ‘housing’, ‘possessions,’ and ‘power’. In addition, we have programmed a concluding round-table discussion: ‘Poverty: Continuing the Debate’, which we hope will not only draw together the key points raised throughout the Symposium, but also identify emerging ideas and new directions for the future study of urban poverty.

Cultures of the Global

University of York, Centre for Modern Studies
Saturday 20th June 2009

The term 'globalization' is often perceived to apply primarily to the contemporary period, denoting capitalism's triumphant spread into even the remotest areas of the world. But over the whole of the modern era, nations, regions, and localities have become increasingly shaped and reconfigured by global circulations of peoples, ideas, texts, images, and goods. Ironically, however, the study of global circulation has been hampered by a lack of exchange between scholars in different disciplines. This interdisciplinary one-day symposium aims to fill this gap by bringing together academics from the fields of History, History of Art, Politics and English to reconsider the complex role that the concept of the global has played throughout the modern period.

Experiencing texts: Reading, Speaking and Listening in History


University of York, Department of History 
Friday 3rd July 2009

In recent years recapturing how texts were experienced by their readers and hearers has become increasingly important to historical study. This one-day conference aims to showcase a range of postgraduate research on the experience of texts in the past, bringing together scholars working across historical periods and fields.

Cultural Histories of Sociability, Spaces and Mobility

Department of History Cultural History Conference 2009

University of York, 9th-11th July 2009

This conference therefore aims to explore how, from the mediaeval period and earlier through to (post)modern times, what it means to be fully social has evolved in relation to spatial movement, whether of an everyday or an exceptional character.

What role did mobility – and immobility – play in defining the meaning of participation in social, economic or political life and the spatial scale at which such participation took place? how were such meanings formed, sustained and dissolved by particular social structures, mechanisms or processes? and with what consequences for the lived practice of collective and individual life? More details.

Clergy Church and Society in England and Wales, c.1200-1800

Institute of Historical Research, 26th-27th March 2009

A conference held at the Institute of Historical Research on 26 and 27 March will consider the findings of two major research projects hosted in the university, one on clerical taxation and the other on the church courts, and those of another AHRC project, The Clergy of the Church of England database, hosted by King's College, London and the universities of Kent and Reading, examining the social and religious status of the clergy and the church, and their interactions with the state over five centuries. More details.

Religion in History: New Perspectives: The Second Annual Conference of the York History Research Society 

Friday 29th August 2008


2008 and earlier

War, Empire, and Slavery, c. 1790-1820

University of York, Department of History Cultural History Conference 2008

16th-18th May 2008 

Plenary speakers: 
Christopher Bayly, Laurent Dubois, Rebecca Earle, Janet Hartley, James Walvin

Associated with the AHRC-funded research project: Nations, Borders and Identities. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in European Experience 1792 - 1815

Books on the Battlefield: The Reception, Appropriation and Use of Texts in Warfare, 1450 to the present

The King's Manor, University of York
2nd-3rd November 2007 

The relationship between books and war appears self-evident: books have acted as potent weapons in ideological warfare and war has provided literature with one of its most enduring themes. Yet the reception, use and appropriation of texts in a military context has remained relatively unexplored.

Speakers will discuss the deployment and use of books in Africa, India, and Iraq, as well as across Europe and North America, from the end of the Hundred Years War to the present day.

Abolitions, 1807-2007: Ending the slave trade in the Transatlantic world

The King's Manor, University of York, 12th-14th April 2007

The University of York is organising an international bicentenary conference looking at the meaning and impact across the Atlantic world of the formal abolition of the slave trade in 1807. The city of York was one of the political arenas in which the abolitionist William Wilberforce fought the cause, and the department of history has long been associated with pioneering scholarship on the history of slavery and black studies in the UK.

Conference sessions will be held on: the consequences of abolition in Africa, the Caribbean, and for the major European powers; the memory of abolition in the Atlantic ports; literature and emancipation; and the legacy and heritage of abolition in the 20th century.