London’s East End: A Short Encyclopedia

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Kevin A. Morrison/McFarland
contact email: 

            From the transient street art of Banksy and Pablo Delgado to the exhibitions of Doreen Fletcher and Gilbert and George; from the novels of Charles Dickens and Monica Ali to televisual series produced by the BBC and ITV; and from early eighteenth-century churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor to twenty-first century skyscrapers conceived by Norman Foster, the East End is an iconic area of London.

            In the span of four hundred years, the region to the east of the Tower of London, and north of the River Thames, has undergone a series of transformations. In the sixteenth century, it was arable land with a few dispersed villages. By the nineteenth century, it was one of Europe’s worst urban slums and an object of investigation for literary writers, social scientists, philanthropists, Salvationists, and journalists with a bent for the sensational. Today, owing to gentrification, the area includes neighborhoods of great affluence—chic restaurants, exclusive retail shops, and some of London’s most expensive real estate—alongside boroughs of extraordinarily straitened circumstances, where life expectancy is some fifteen years lower. As it has evolved, London’s East End has served as the birthplace of radical political and social movements and as the principal site for a variety of diasporic communities: French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution; Jews, escaping the pogroms in Eastern Europe and Russia; and Bengali Muslims, driven from their homeland by conflict and famine.

            Although the East End has attracted significant scholarly interest from a wide array of disciplines, there is no comprehensive guide to its social and cultural history. Through alphabetically organized, short but incisive and insightful cross-referenced entries, London’s East End: A Short Encyclopedia will serve as a foundational reference work with sections on the area’s art, architecture, politics, significant personages and places, literature, music, and film. The volume is under contract with McFarland, a leading independent publisher of academic books.

            Expressions of interest are now sought from scholars in a wide variety of disciplines to write one or several entries, which will vary in length from 50 to 2,000 words depending on the topic. Advanced graduate students—those who, in a US context, have passed their qualifying exams—are welcome. For a list of entries and a style guide, please contact the volume’s editor, Kevin A. Morrison, Distinguished Professor of British Literature and Provincial Chair Professor in Humanities, Henan University ( by 15 August 2020. Your subject line should read “Encyclopedia/[Discipline in which you are trained]". Entries will be due 1 November 2020.