Away from the Centre: Conceptualising the Regional and Rural (1850-1950)

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Durham University


Away from the Centre: Conceptualising the Regional and Rural (1850-1950)

Monday 10th May 2021 (online)

Representations of place and space in literature and the performing arts provide a rich field of enquiry into the ways in which writers, composers, and artists engage with and conceptualise their environments. In particular, artistic explorations of spaces away from metropolitan centres of social and cultural activity offer varied insights into the relationship between environment and power in the context of cultural works. Central concerns for scholars thinking about these ways in which place and power have been culturally determined in works depicting non-metropolitan spaces often revolve around descriptive, yet conceptually imprecise, terminology such as ‘locality’, ‘remoteness’, and/or ‘provincial’, resonant with numerous ambivalent connotations. This interdisciplinary symposium aims to interrogate these tensions between notions of separation and network within the power dynamics of places often defined as rural, regional, or peripheral, with specific attention paid to cultural work of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1850-1950).

The event will open with a keynote conversation led by Dr Karin Koehler (School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Bangor University) and Dr Sarah Fuchs (Department of Art and Music Histories, Syracuse University), followed by individual papers and culminating with a chaired roundtable discussion. We welcome abstracts for individual 20-minute papers from Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers within the Arts and Humanities working on relevant research across this period (1850-1950). Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes: 

  • Development and depiction of identity/identities within the rural and regional (including industrial, agrarian, and uncultivated spaces)
  • Representations of rurality and its relationship to nationhood, particularly within British and French contexts
  • The exploration of power dynamics within or between individuals and communities
  • Concepts of rapprochement and/or distancing between places and people
  • The function and representation of communication and networks of infrastructure               between communities and their inhabitants
  • Methodological approaches to theorising the rural or provincial in a body of work


We hope that this session will bring together researchers from various institutions, foster new collaborations, and provoke lively research conversations.

This event will take place virtually over Zoom.

Please send proposed titles and abstracts (250-words plus 50-word bio, including affiliation and year of study) to by 15th March 2021.