Category Archives: Events

Call for papers: The Making of the English Working Class at Fifty: Space, Agency and History From Below

Convenors: David Featherstone, Neil Gray and Paul Griffin, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow.

Sponsored by the Historical Geography Research Group and the Political Geography Research Group.

For the RGS-IBG Conference 2013.

50 years on from its original publication E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class continues to inspire and to provoke critical debate and reflection. A foundational text of what has come to be known as ‘history from below’, the book has impacted on contexts far beyond the West-Riding of Yorkshire or the back rooms of London pubs that were the key sites of the book. It has been a pivotal text, even if primarily through critical dialogue, within intellectual traditions as diverse as History Workshop in South Africa and Subaltern Studies.

The Making has, of course, been subject to numerous critiques and engagements notably by feminist and post-colonial critics (Clark, 1995, Hall, 1992). The cultural nationalism that informed Thompson’s work have been robustly contested by Paul Gilroy (1987, 1993). Forms of Thompsonian inspired social history have been productively taken in more transnational dimensions by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker. In geography its reception was subject to significant debate, especially in relation to Derek Gregory’s critique of Thompson’s account of the relations between class and space. Engagement with Thompson’s work, however, has been oddly absent from recent debates on workers’ agency in labour geography. His commitment to asserting and recovering diverse forms of agency in shaping class formation, however, resonates with many critical geographical projects.

This session seeks to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Making. It seeks to use this as an opportunity for critical reflections on Thompson’s text and to consider the relations between geographical work and ‘history from below’. The session invites both critical commentaries and empirically informed papers. These might consider:

•     The imaginations of space and place in the Making of English Working Class

•     The transnational impact of the Making of the English Working Class

•     The contested geographies of the new left

•     Critical engagements with Thompson’s use of the terms experience and agency.

•     The political contexts that shaped The Making of the English Working Class

•     The relations between Thompson, Subaltern Histories and attempts to think history from below spatially.

Abstracts of up to 250 words should be sent to Dave Featherstone ( by February 8th.


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Call for papers for RGS-IBG Annual Conference: New and Emerging Research in Historical Geography

London, 28th-30th August 2013.

Session Organiser: Kim Ross (University of Glasgow)

Sponsored by the Historical Geography Research Group

This session aims to provide an informal and relaxed forum for postgraduates undertaking research in historical geography to present at a major conference. Building upon past successful HGRG postgraduate sessions, it is hoped that a friendly and supportive atmosphere will produce stimulating debates on the issues raised and provide postgraduates with helpful feedback on their work. There is no chronological or geographical limit to papers and they can be variously theoretical, empirical and/or methodological in orientation. Papers are encouraged from PG students at any stage of their PhD research, or Masters dissertation topics.

If you are interested in submitting a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Kim Ross ( by Friday 8th February. If you would like any more information about the session, then please get in touch.

When submitting your paper please include the following information: 1) name 2) institutional affiliation 3) contact email, 4) title of proposed paper, 5) abstract (no more than 250 words) and 6) any additional technical requirements (i.e., video, sound (there will be data projection facilities)).

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Historical Geography Research Group – Conference

Practising Historical Geography

The 18th Annual Postgraduate and Undergraduate one day Conference for postgraduate and undergraduate students of historical geography will be held at the University of Hull on Wednesday 7th November 2012 between 9:30 and 5.

Organised by the Historical Geography Research Group, the day will include keynote lectures from Dr Liz Gagen and Professor Uma Kothari, workshops exploring research methods, a ‘postgraduate voices’ session and a brief talk by this year’s HGRG undergraduate dissertation prize winner. It will also be an excellent opportunity to meet other researchers in your field!

A small charge of £10 will be payable on the day of the event and will include lunch and refreshments through the day.

The final schedule will be finalised and circulated in the next couple of weeks but please keep the date free.

If you would like to receive a registration form please email Lucy Veale (Conference Officer) at:


09:30 Conference registration and coffee

10:00 Keynote lecture: ‘Contesting Colonial Rule: politics of exile in the Indian Ocean’, Uma Kothari (University of Manchester)

11:00 Postgraduate voices: Cheryl McGeachan (University of Glasgow)

11:30 HGRG dissertation prize winner: Tom Crawford (University of Bristol) ‘Production, Power and Performance in the Atlas Novus of 1645 by W. and J. Blaeu’

11:45 Historical geography workshops

 I.    ‘Loving Historical Geography: enthusiasm as part of the research process’, Hilary Geoghegan (UCL)

II.   ‘Sonic Histories and Aural Geographies’, Kevin Milburn (University of Nottingham/RGS-IBG)

 12:45 Lunch

 14:00 Historical geography workshops

I.    ‘Loving Historical Geography: enthusiasm as part of the research process’, Hilary Geoghegan (UCL)

II.   ‘Sonic Histories and Aural Geographies’, Kevin Milburn (University of Nottingham/RGS-IBG)

 15:00 Coffee break

 15:30 Keynote lecture: ‘From muscular health to emotional intelligence: historicising governance in mind/body relations’, Liz Gagen (University of Hull)

 16:30 Closing comments

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Black History Month – Black Internationalist Resistance to Fascism

As part of Black History Month, David Featherstone will be leading a talk on black internationalist resistance. Details below:

Black Internationalist Resistance to Fascism: African American Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

African Caribbean Centre, 66 Osborne Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1 5QH

Wednesday 3rd October, 6.30pm

This talk considers the importance of transnational black resistance to fascism, particularly in the 1930s. It examines the experiences and political outlooks of the 90 or so African Americans who volunteered to fight in Spain with the Abraham Lincoln Brigades. Drawing on the testimonies of activists such as James Yates, Oscar Hunter and Admiral Kilpatrick it examines how they connected the conflict in Spain to opposition to Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia and to struggles against racism in the United States.With the rise of the far-right in different parts of Europe in the context of economic crisis the talk considers the importance of continued struggles against fascism.

(Optional reading: David Featherstone, Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism, Zed Books, London: 2012)

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