Until Death Do Us Part: Historical Perspectives on Death and Those Left Behind, c.1300-c.1900 – deadline 29 January 2021

Date / time
Date(s) - 15 April - 16 April
All day


Call for papers for a virtual conference 15-16 April 2021, hosted by Royal Holloway, University of London.

We welcome proposals for a virtual conference on the theme of historical perspectives on the impact death and dying had on those left behind. Broadly defined, this might include the reactions and responses to death (however it was expressed or experienced) of widows and widowers, orphans, friends, relatives, and wider communities, as well as its social and cultural impact and the sources and material culture which emanated from death.

The subject of death and commemoration has been well-treated in the historiography of all periods, but its social and psychological impact on individuals close to the deceased has been much less studied. As such, this conference aims to take a multi-disciplinary and cross-period approach to this topic, examining the ways in which the role of death and grief in society have changed over time. In addition to traditional historical methodologies, we particularly welcome speakers with an art-historical, material culture, or sociological perspective. Papers from PhD candidates and early career researchers are especially encouraged.

Proposals of 250 words for 20-minute papers should broadly relate to Europe c.1300-c.1900, and might include (but are not limited to) themes of:

  • Mourning and the history of emotions, its material culture and psychological impacts
  • The effect of a death on social structures, such as a community or household
  • The practicalities of, and organisational responses to, death and its aftermath
  • and the political and cultural impact of the death of individuals.

To submit a proposal, or for more information, please email RHULdeathconference@gmail.com by 29 January 2021.

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