Call for papers: Fragmentary Lives

Correspondence around the new Poor Law, 1908

Correspondence around the new Poor Law, 1908

The National Archives and the University of Leicester invite submissions for papers for a one-day conference on 9 June 2018 exploring the documentation of personal experience.

Known as ‘ego documents’, the conference will look at any type of source which focuses on the personal life and experience of the writer, such as letters or autobiographies.

Paper submissions for ‘Fragmentary Lives: The survival and interpretation of historic ego documents, 1790 to 1940’ must be received by Sunday 21 January. The conference will be held at The National Archives on Saturday 9 June 2018.

Paul Carter, Principal Modern Domestic Records Specialist at The National Archives, said:

‘The Fragmentary Lives conference seeks to explore the way that the perspectives drawn from these ego documents are reshaping the future research agenda.

‘We are seeking papers on the theme of the survival and interpretation of historic ego documents, covering the broad chronological sweep of the long 18th and 19th centuries in both Britain and Europe.’

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers on ego documents, 1790 to 1940, on topics which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Agency in pauper letters and petitions
  • Concepts of self and agency in autobiographies
  • Scribes and scribal relationships
  • The material culture of letters and writing
  • Literacy and agency
  • Agency and the overlap of oral and literate cultures

This conference is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project ‘In Their Own Write’ by The National Archives and the University of Leicester, which aims ultimately to produce a New Poor Law History from below.

If you would like to submit a proposal, please send abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers by 21 January to the organisers, Professor Steven King and Dr Paul Carter, at: intheirownwrite@outlook.com

Tags: call for papers, conference, fragmentary lives