School of Media, Arts and Humanities - for students and staff

Calls for Papers




University of Durham conference: Organise! Organise! Organise! Collective Action, Associational Culture and the Politics of Organisation in the British Isles, c.1790-1914

Thursday 20 July – Friday 21 July 2023 Durham University, Durham, UK

This conference will explore why, how, to what ends, and with what effects people in Britain and Ireland organised and were organised for political purposes during the long nineteenth century. It aims to deepen our understanding of the complex and diverse extra-parliamentary politics of organisation, and to drive forward debate about the forms and extent of participatory and representational political cultures, outside of and during elections.

From clubs, societies, associations, and unions, to issue-based campaign movements, to party-political bodies, and to electioneering activities, organisational ideas and practices played important roles in shaping and navigating a rapidly changing political world. In what forms and circumstances were political networks established, maintained, supported, and opposed? What were the perceived and actual impacts of organised, collective political action on political culture, the political system, and the body politic, and on public and private life? What was its power to politicise, mobilise, make demands, disseminate information and ideas, or to supress? What cultures, behaviours, belongings, sites, and spaces emerged from and were challenged by such political activity? What were their representational and claim-making relationships to, for example, class, religion, gender, race? How was participation in and exclusion from political activism encountered and experienced emotionally, physically, and materially?

The keynote address will be given by Professor Katrina Navickas (University of Hertfordshire), historian of protest, collective action, and contested spaces in Britain.

Topics and themes related to the history of political organisation in England, Ireland, Scotland, and/or Wales could include but are not limited to:

  • Party-political organisations, single-issue campaigns, protest movements, pressure groups
  • Urban, rural, local, regional, national, transnational connections
  • Structures, strategies, theories, motivations, practices
  • Aims, demands, audiences, outcomes, contributions
  • Participation, representation, and exclusion based on gender, race, religion, class, work, home, education, age, health
  • Sites, spaces, places
  • Sights, sounds, smells
  • Material, print, visual cultures
  • Emotions, experiences, performances
  • Cultures, rituals, memories, languages
  • Identity, sociability, community, the self, agency
  • Tradition, generations, expertise, knowledge
  • Power, authority, government, the law

Please send proposals of c.250-300 words for 20-minute papers to by 31 January 2023. We hope to publish a selection of papers as a special issue of Parliamentary History for 2026 (submission in February 2025).



Thomas Hardy Society Study Day 2023 Calls for Papers - The Return of the Native

The Return Of The Native

A Thomas Hardy Society Study Day

Saturday 15 April 2023 at 10:00am

The Town Hall, Corn Exchange Building, Dorchester


Professor Tim Dolin (Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Professor Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter)

Dr Arthur Keegan-Bole (Composer)

A Seminar run by Mark Chutter (THS Academic Director)

Plus a performance by the New Hardy Players

2023 marks the 145th anniversary of the publication of  The Return of the Native. After the social satire The Hand of Ethelberta received a lukewarm response Hardy's subsequent novel was highly praised for its 'insatiably observant' descriptions of Egdon Heath, a character in its own right. D.H. Lawrence claimed that the setting provided 'the real stuff of tragedy' and it would also inspire the composer Gustave Holst. The Heath serves as a touchstone for each character, loved by some, loathed by others. Red in tooth and claw it claims as victims those who are unable to appreciate its beauty. The characters have proved devisive from the beginning: a review in the Athaenaeum described the plot as 'a man who is in love with two women, and a woman who is in love with two men; the man and the woman being both selfish and sensual...the two persons know no other law than the gratification of their own passions'. Eustacia Vye as hot-blooded heroine suffering from ennui is compared to a witch and her amour Damon Wildeve is linked with the devil, though it is the omniscient Diggory Venn who was famously described by J.O. Bailey as a 'Mephistopholean visitant'. Is Venn a voyeur as has been claimed by a number of feminist critics, or is he the unheimlich Keeper of the Heath? Is Clym Yeobright to be pitied or does he deserve his fate? Is the relationship between he and Mrs Yeobright uncomfortably Oedipal and are the Rustics simply an entertaining chorus or something more deeply Pagan in nature? The Thomas Hardy Society warmly invites proposals for twenty-minute presentations on any aspect of The Return of the Native which may include, but is by no means limited to:

  • Setting as Living Entity
  • The Unheimliche or Uncanny
  • Gender Relations and Representations of Femininities and Masculinities
  • Psychoanalytical Readings of Character and Setting
  • Darwinism vs Creationism and Evolutionary Discourse
  • Witchcraft and the Devil
  • Paganism and Folklore
  • The Importance of Non-Human Characters
  • Hardy and the Anthropocene – Eco-Critical Readings
  • Contemporary and Modern Critical Reception of the Novel
  • Film/Play Adaptations

To support attendance at this day, which has been designed to appeal to academics, students and general enthusiasts alike, the Society will be offering bursaries of £100 each to students who would otherwise find travel or accommodation costs prohibitive. Please send proposals of not more than 350 words, and no later than 28 February 2023, along with a brief description, if you are a student, of how a bursary would benefit your studies, to Dr Tracy Hayes at

For further information and to submit, email