Home and Nation: Reimagining the Domestic, 1750-1850 (22-24 March, 2013)

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University of Leeds
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Home and Nation: Reimagining the Domestic, 1750-1850

22-24 March 2013

The domestic is an expansive concept. Denoting both the home and the nation, it exerts a powerful organisational force upon the formation of gendered, national, and racial identities. Under the influence of Jürgen Habermas, literary critics and historians have explored the role that the domestic plays in constructing – and deconstructing – the opposition between the public and the private spheres. Similarly, feminist investigations of this category have complicated the enduring notion of the ‘domestic woman’, bringing more complex and mobile forms of gender identity into clearer definition. Recognising the way in which the domestic mediates between the home and the nation has also had implications for critical work on national identity: as a process, domestication entails the regulation and assimilation of the alien and the other.

This three-day conference aims to take stock of recent critical approaches to this topic, and to explore the various ways in which the domestic interacts with ideas of privacy, publicity, the home and the nation. We invite proposals for papers (of 20 minutes) that address these issues with reference to the literature and culture of the period 1750-1850. We welcome papers that take an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

• The relationship between the home and the nation
• The boundaries of the home
• The representation of domestic space
• The relationship between domesticity and gender identity
• The domestication of the other / the alien
• The relationship between domestic and professional labour
• Consumerism, commerce, and the home
• Theorisations of the public and the private

Plenary Speakers: Karen Harvey (University of Sheffield) and Harriet Guest (University of York)

Proposals (of approximately 250 words) are welcome from established scholars and postgraduate students. Please email your proposal to Richard De Ritter (r.deritter@leeds.ac.uk) by Monday, 7th January 2013.

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