All entries for January 2021

January 25, 2021

Introducing our Panels

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We are very excited to reveal the programme for the At Home in Empire conference, to be held on 13th March 2021. You can register to attend this one-day interdisciplinary conference HERE. We were overwhelmed by the number of fascinating responses to our Call for Papers and deciding on the final programme was one of the most difficult tasks of conference-planning to date. The panels, which vary across different spaces and periods, cover a range of topics related to the home, intimacy, and mobility, and we hope to see as many people as possible in March to hear these fascinating papers.

Session 1: Curating and Collecting: Domesticity on Display

Charlotte Johnson (AHRC Midlands4Cities funded PhD University of Birmingham): Colonial mobilities on display: the ‘Eastern Museum’ at Kedleston Hall

Matthew Jones (CHASE AHRC funded doctoral student at the University of Sussex in Art History): Displaying resistance: the absence of domestic life in narrative of enslavement

Carl Deussen (PhD at the University of Amsterdam and holds a research position at the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne): Exotic Interiors. Ethnographic Collecting and the Bourgeois Home in Imperial Germany

Kedleston Hall

Kedleston Hall: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

This panel brings together researchers from across history and the history of art to consider the varied ways in which empire and domesticity have been displayed. Examining varied case studies that underscore the significance of material cultures and museum practices, these papers explore the politics of collecting and curating the home as both a space of display and a space on display.

Session 2 - Making and Re-making Home

Claudia Soares (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen Mary University of London): Understandings of home, family, and belonging for poor child migrants from institutional care, Britain, Australia and Canada c.1820-1920

Dayana Ariffin (Senior Lecturer at the History Department, the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur): What makes a colonial family? Noor Mahmud Hashim’s journey in finding home and family in British Malaya

Kate McGregor (PhD Candidate, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada): Working for Weihnachtsstimmung: German Women’s Place in the Recreation and Reproduction of German Culture and Identity in the African Colonies, 1894- 1906

Yasmine Shamma (Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Reading): Home is where the Warak Anab is: The Palestinian Poetics of Cooking as home-making

How did people make and remake homes across colonial and post-colonial spaces? Papers on this panel investigate the multiple and complex ways in which the home can be recreated and continued against a backdrop of displacement and instability. These researchers centre the role of the family and culture in the practices of home-making across disparate spaces, demonstrating how individuals and groups sought to preserve old identities or forge new ones.

Session 3 - In Between Worlds: Mobile Lives and Distant Homes

Katie Donnington (Senior Lecturer in History in the Division of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University): ‘Domesticating slavery: At home with the Hibberts between Jamaica and England’

Alex Lindgren-Gibson (Assistant Professor of European History at the University of Mississippi): Piecing Together Home: Making Sense of Family and Empire in the Papers of Mermanjan

Mikko Toivanen (2021 postdoctoral visiting fellowship at the Munich Centre for Global History of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität): Imperial childhoods in transit: the journey of Corry and Hugh Loudon to the Dutch East Indies in 1871-2

George Hibbert

George Hibbert: This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Centred on the theme of mobility, these papers suggest the implications of distance and movement on the colonial experiences of home and family. Addressing different periods and geographies, this panel foregrounds the difficulties and anxieties evoked by attempts to navigate between different worlds, raising questions about identity and belonging.

Session 4 - Spaces of Encounter

Marie Grace Brown (Associate Professor at the University of Kansas): Running Bachelors, Running Households: Kitchens and Intimacy in Imperial Sudan

Rosie Dias (Associate Professor in the History of Art at the University of Warwick): The View from the Veranda: Negotiating Gender and Race in Colonial South Asia

Ellen Smith (AHRC Midlands4Cities funded history PhD University of Leicester): Interactions with India and Indians: Home Encounters in Colonial South Asia

Marianne North

Marianne North in Mrs Cameron's House: This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Recognising the home as a space of encounter, this panel evokes the domestic setting as one of negotiation, intimacy, and power. Bringing themes of race and gender to the forefront of colonial life, these researchers frame the home as a contact zone where relationships between ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised’ could be interrupted and disrupted.


The conference will conclude with our keynote speaker, Dr Kate Smith from the University of Birmingham.

Together, we hope that these panels will provoke new questions and discussions about what it meant to be ‘at home in empire’. Touching on themes of intimacy and mobility, they invite us to consider the anxieties that accompanied colonial experiences and representations. Stretching across several centuries, continents, and empires, the conference will offer an interdisciplinary platform to problematize the binaries of public and private, coloniser and colonised, centring the complex meanings of home and the messiness of everyday life in the colonial and post-colonial context. We look forward to you joining us in March.

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