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Distant Communications Conference 2021: making contact across time and space from antiquity to the digital age

Two-day online conference and pre-conference keynote seminar

We also recently launched the Distant Communications website which sets out our agenda: https://rachelabynoth.wixsite.com/distantcomms2021. Please use the Eventbrite links below to register – spaces are limited (all times BST).


The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support and funding of the Social History Society, the AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, and the Royal Historical Society.

Website: https://rachelabynoth.wixsite.com/distantcomms2021
Conference registration, 21st – 22nd July 2021: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/distant-communications-a-two-day-online-conference-tickets-161217978313
Pre-conference keynote with Professor James Daybell, 12 July 2021: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/distant-communications-keynote-seminar-with-professor-james-daybell-tickets-157705594679

KEYNOTE WITH PROFESSOR JAMES DAYBELL: Monday 12th July 2021.

Professor James Daybell, Professor of Early Modern British History and Associate Dean (Research) (University of Plymouth) will be giving a special pre-conference online keynote seminar on 12 July 2021 at 4pm. His paper is titled ‘Epistolary Technologies of Separation and Archives of Emotion’ and it will be followed by a Q&A session.

Spaces are limited, please sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/distant-communications-keynote-seminar-with-professor-james-daybell-tickets-157705594679

TWO-DAY ONLINE CONFERENCE VIA ZOOM, 21st – 22nd July 2021.

Spaces are limited, please sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/distant-communications-a-two-day-online-conference-tickets-161217978313

Wednesday 21st July 2021

9.45 – 10.00 OPENING REMARKS

10.00 – 10.50 PGR LIGHTNING TALKS

Pelayo Fernández García (University of Versailles and Oviedo) “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when in war we aim to proceed”. Logistics and war correspondence on a hispanic monarchy in crisis (1640-1659).

Alexander James Collin (University of Amsterdam) Brotherly Love in Early Modern Germany: the Correspondence of the Brandt Brothers.

Liz WAN Yuen-Yuk (University of Oxford) The Child as an Intermediary in Long-Distance Relationships: The Role of Fanny Imlay in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Gilbert Imlay and William Godwin.

Amy Wilcockson (University of Nottingham) Letters from the South: Thomas Campbell’s Travel.

Lucas Mathis (University of Leicester) Academia on the Web: Practical, Ethical, and Philosophical Challenges.

BREAK

11.00 – 12.00 MATERIAL AND VISUAL CULTURES

Kevin James & Andrew Northey (University of Guelph) Reading, Inscribing and Asynchronous Practices at Tibbie Shiel’s Inn, Selkirkshire, Scotland, 1848-1914: The Visitors’ Book as a Technology of Communication.

Marguerite Gibson (Curtin University) Louis Buvelot’s Letters from Gold Rush Australia: An Artistic Perspective.

12.00 – 13.00 LUNCH

13.00 – 14.30 POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND EMOTIONAL NETWORKS ACROSS THE AGES

Micol Long (Ghent University) Better Than In Presence. The Valorization of Distant Communication in Medieval Monasteries c. 1050-1250.

Christophe Gillain (University of Cambridge) Rebellious letters: The political mobility of Cardinal de Retz in exile.

Sophia Moellers (TU Dortmund University) Estrangement in Moments of Crisis: Tracing Family Trauma in William Godwin’s Letters and Novels.

BREAK

14.45 – 16.15 TRADE, BUSINESS, AND TECHNOLOGY

Ben Gilding (University of Oxford) ‘A Game at Cross-Purposes’: The Problem of Distance and the Shaping of the East India Company-State, 1757-1784.

Edda Nicolson (University of Wolverhampton) ‘Fraternally Yours’: Communicating and Contesting Solidarity in International Trade Union Organisations, 1914–1919.

Jaya Sarkar (BITS Pilani (Hyderabad Campus), India) Cyborg Communication: Linking Technology and Subjectivity.

BREAK

16.30 – 18.20 BEYOND DEATH

Adam Bridgen (University of Oxford) Speaking Beyond the Grave: The Last Will and Testament in Verse.

Rosie Whitcombe (Birmingham City University) Keats, Letters, Grief, and Delay.

Ella Sbaraini (University of Cambridge) ‘We shall meet again, perhaps’: Suicide Letters and Posthumous Communication, 1700-1850.

Robert Matej Bednar, (Southwestern University) Communicating with the Dead: Roadside Crash Shrines as Platforms for Bridging Time, Distance, and Mortality.

CLOSE

Thursday 22nd July 2021

9.45 – 10.00 OPENING REMARKS

10.00 – 12.00 KEYNOTE

Professor Karen Harvey, Professorial Fellow and Professor of Cultural History (University of Birmingham) Title TBC.

Followed by a panel with the two postdoctoral researchers, Dr Sarah Fox and Dr Emily Vine, on Professor Harvey’s Leverhulme Trust-funded project, ‘Material identities, social bodies: embodiment in British letters, c. 1680–1820’.

Paper titles TBC.

12.00 – 13.00 LUNCH


13.00 – 14.50 GLOBAL AND COLONIAL RELATIONS

Justin Gage (University of Helsinki) Writing to Resist: Western Native American Letters to Eastern White Americans in the Early Reservation Years.

Darren Reid (UCL) Can the subaltern write? Navigating mediated voices in South African correspondence with the Aborigines’ Protection Society in the late nineteenth century.

Brett Bowden (Western Sydney, Australia) Charles Todd and the Overland Telegraph.

Emily Doucet (Institute for the advanced studies in the humanities, Essen Germany) Compressing Correspondence: The Airgraph and Photography’s Colonial Networks.

BREAK

15.00 – 16.30 INTIMATE AND COMMUNAL NETWORKS

Mary Chadwick (University of Huddersfield) A Poetry-Shaped Gap: Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Poems as Distant Communication.

Aimée Fox (KCL) Intimacy, Interrupted. Reading emotional interruptions in the correspondence of British military wives during the First World War.

Michael Basil (University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada) Online leisure communities: Hiking and biking.

BREAK

16.45 – 17.25 KEYNOTE

Dr Mark Ravinder Frost, Associate Professor of Public History (University College London) (recorded paper to be circulated in advance) An Asian Enlightenment in Britain’s Indian Ocean, 1860-1920: The utopianism of distant communication.

17.25 – 17.30 CLOSING REMARKS

*Nominations for the best PGR paper prize, best ECR paper prize, and best lightning talk (kindly sponsored by the Social History Society and the Royal Historical Society) should be sent in over the 2 weeks following the conference.

For more information please follow us on Twitter: @DistantCommuni1 or email us at distantcommunications2021@gmail.com and visit our website: https://rachelabynoth.wixsite.com/distantcomms2021


Pre-conference keynote seminar 12th July 2021 and two day conference from 21st-22nd July 2021.

Online