Call for Papers – Materiality and Historical Geography – International Conference of Historical Geographers, London July 2015

As already announced the editors of visit1862 are going to be running a field visit to South Kensington as part of the 2015 International Conference of Historical Geographers (ICHG) (click here to read this post)

The ICHG provides an opportunity for historical geographers to meet and discuss new and emerging directions within the field.  The following is a call for papers for a proposed session at the event that aims to encourage discussion about the role of materiality in historical geographic research.

Historical Change in South Kensington © Ruth Mason, 2013 This photograph shows evidence of the many building phases of the cultural quarter - note the Royal College of Art in the background

Historical Change in South Kensington © Ruth Mason, 2013

Materiality and Historical Geography

Material culture has long been identified as a potentially useful source for historical, geographical, sociological and anthropological studies.  But what can material culture (defined in the broadest sense to embrace: objects, things, ephemera, buildings, urban and rural landscapes, the natural and the man made, the animate and the inanimate, the human and the non-human) offer historical geographies?

Anthropologists and sociologists have entered into detailed debates about the definition of ‘material culture’ and what it contributes to research (Miller, Ingold and Latour).  In response, historical geography seminars and publications have made increasing references to material sources – or the materiality of sources.  However, there has been little discussion about the role and potential of using material culture as a source, or what it can contribute to historical geography research.  What sorts of material objects can historical geographers engage with?  How can they engage with them?  And how does engaging with material sources contribute to the development of the discipline?

Papers are encouraged that use specific case studies to demonstrate how material culture can be used as a source for historical geography research.  It is hoped that by bring papers together that consider different material sources and approaches will encourage further discussion about the relationship between material culture and historical geography. Papers concerned with a broad range of material sources, take diverse approaches to material culture, and focus on any time period or geographical area of study, are all welcome.

Submissions from graduate students, early career scholars and those in established posts are all welcome. Please contact ruth.mason.13[at] for further information.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to ruth.mason.13[at] by 1st September 2014.  In a separate paragraph, please provide details of any special audio-visual requirements or mobility requirements.  A decision on the papers to be submitted for consideration by the convenors of the International Historical Geography Conference, 2015 will be made on the 14th September.  For further details about the International Historical Geography Conference, please click here to go to the ICHG website.

Ruth Mason, Department of Geography, University College London.

© Ruth Mason, 2014


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