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At Home in Empire: Colonial Experiences of Intimacy and Mobility A one-day interdisciplinary conference

At Home in Empire seeks to approach the home as both a material reality and imagined space, bringing these different conceptualizations together to discuss both the intimacies and mobilities at the heart of the imperial experience.

Call for Papers At Home in Empire: Colonial Experiences of Intimacy and Mobility A one-day interdisciplinary conference 

Saturday 13th March 2021, University of Warwick 

Keynote Speaker: Dr Kate Smith, Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century History, University of Birmingham

Home is a multifaceted, often gendered idea that carries connotations of safety, stability and belonging. However, what did “home” look like to men, women and children across imperial spaces? In his 1997 article ‘Not at Home in Empire’, Ranajit Guha explored the ‘uncanny’ experience of empire for white officers in India, proposing that colonial life was one marred by a sense of anxiety. Revisiting this argument, how do we study the contested, complicated meanings of home in colonial contexts? How does centring the home prompt new questions about the family, colonial childhoods, gender, race and belonging? 

At Home in Empire seeks to approach the home as both a material reality and imagined space, bringing these different conceptualizations together to discuss both the intimacies and mobilities at the heart of the imperial experience. Our core themes are intended to centre the role of relationships, from the familial to the romantic, and ask how transnational connections are woven into practices of homemaking. The home could be considered as a site of resistance but also a space marked by colonial violence and racism. Evoking notions of belonging complicated by mobility and migration, the lived realities of home might challenge dominant discourses and highlight the messiness of everyday life. Developing interdisciplinary discussions on gender, race and migration, At Home in Empire will offer new insights into how homes were made and remade across colonial and post-colonial settings.

We particularly encourage papers that envisage home as a space that disrupts the binary of metropole and periphery, and could itself be a disruptive space. Participants will be drawn from a range of disciplines with interests spanning, but not restricted to, the fields of history, literature, geography, sociology, gender studies, queer studies and the heritage sector. 

We invite proposals of up to 300 words for papers of 20 minutes, submitted with a short biography to athomeinempire2021@gmail.com by 5pm on Monday 12th October 2020.

13 March 2021

University of Warwick