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CALL. 14.02.2020: Family Histories: Approaches, Theories, and Methods - Newcastle (England)


The family is a social unit that has formed the basis of society since society itself was established. Acknowledgement of family connections has often underpinned the social identities of individuals, and even in modern history the social identity of the family has often played a fundamental role in moulding individuals and who they are, both in life and in death. Families often live together, and they are not infrequently buried together when they die.



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Newcastle University (Newcastle, England)




In recent years, an ever increasing number of people have sought to explore their family histories, in search of a tangible connection to the past, fuelled by the increasing popularity of television programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are, and subscriptions to services such as Ancestry, Find My Past and My Heritage.

Amidst this trend, academics from a variety of disciplines have been turning to the question of what exactly the “family” means, and how best to approach its study from theoretical and methodological standpoints. Indeed, the morphology of the family is multitudinous throughout time and space, it has changed throughout history and across societies, and continues to be different across the world today. With the increasingly blurred lines between academia and wider public, the universal interest in the family means that answers for these questions are needed now more than ever.

The Family Histories Discussion Forum at Newcastle University invites postgraduates and early career scholars from across the Humanities and Social Sciences to address these questions, and to explore how the family is formulated and understood. In particular, this one-day interdisciplinary workshop will consider the methodologies and theoretical approaches currently being employed to investigate families and their members in historical contexts.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers from postgraduates and early career scholars, which will be presented and discussed in-depth in a roundtable format. This will provide an ideal setting in which to receive feedback on your research, and to engage with that of your peers. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The reasons for the current surge of interest in family histories.

  • The presentation of the family in literature.

  • Changing societal and cultural conceptions of the family.

  • Families during periods of crisis.

  • The role of the extended family.

  • Communicating within the family unit.

  • Different kinds of evidence on the family.

  • Material culture on family histories.

Please submit all proposals to by Friday 14 February 2020. All submissions should include: a 250 word abstract, a brief bio, and an e-mail address.

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