CFP: Objects, Families, Homes: British Material Cultures in Global Contexts

CFP: Objects, Families, Homes: British Material Cultures in Global Contexts


Objects, Families, Homes: British Material Cultures in Global Contexts

11-12 July, 2014

University College London


Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers for Objects, Families, Homes: British Material Cultures in Global Contexts, an end-of-project conference organized by UCL History’s Leverhulme Trust-funded East India Company at Home team. Confirmed keynote speakers include Deborah Cohen, Professor of Modern British and European History at Northwestern University and author of Household Gods: The British and their Possessions (2006) and Family Secrets (2013), in dialogue with Marietta Crichton-Stuart, a descendant of the Marquess of Bute, who has researched how Margaret Bruce designed and furnished Falkland House in Fife in the 1830s and 1840s.

Since 2011, The East India Company at Home project has focused on country houses—and the families and objects that inhabited them—to explore how British material culture developed in a global context during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  The project’s goals have been twofold.  First, we have sought to illuminate the broad-ranging ways in which the activities of the English East India Company shaped elite material cultures in Britain—and by doing so, shaped British identities in the Georgian and Victorian periods, and beyond.  Second, we have sought to develop new ways of connecting diverse communities of historical researchers (archivists, curators, family historians, freelance historians, local historians, stately home volunteers and university-based historians) and in so doing to weave otherwise dispersed studies into a transnational material narrative.  At the same time, by disseminating research findings through our website ( we have made them available on an open-access basis.

For the end of project conference we welcome papers from all researchers engaged in investigating the themes and methodologies compatible with the core subjects of The East India Company at Home. These include:

–          Distance, longing and return in the imperial family

–          Race, gender, class and age: negotiating identities across imperial spaces

–          Narratives of empire: colonial collecting and display

–          Meaningful objects: the role of Asian goods in British material culture

–          Making histories: collaboration and engagement across historical research communities

–          Building homes and houses in global contexts: research, interpretation and display

Individual papers or whole panel proposals are invited. Please send a 200-word abstract and a brief biographical note (for each paper) to by 15 December 2013. Please note in your email whether your paper is part of a panel or an individual submission: if proposing a full panel, indicate in 1-3 sentences its title and overarching theme (in addition to providing abstracts of each paper). The selection committee will notify applicants on its decisions by 31 January 2014. Further details about the conference can be found at  Any queries about the call for papers or conference please email

It is hoped that a small number of bursaries will be available for the students and the unwaged.