The 150th anniversary of the 1867 Reform Act, which made important strides towards the inclusion of working people amongst the electorate, is an occasion for wider reflection on the claims for – and of – parliaments to be truly representative of the people. We wish to facilitate discussion across the traditional boundaries of early modern and modern history and to include the Irish parliament and legislatures of British colonies – as well as those excluded from them – alongside the houses of parliament in Westminster.
We welcome proposals for papers concerning any part of the British world in the period 1640-1886, which might engage with themes such as:
- Revolutionary, radical, or reform movements championing popular sovereignty or claiming its mandate for their designs;
- Instruments for the representation of popular sovereignty, whether the electoral franchise, mass mobilisation through petitions and meetings, or the claims of the press;
- Comparative or imperial histories of popular sovereignty within the British world;
- Debates over the composition of electorates and candidates for representative institutions, including the use of property or racial qualifications;
- Contests over political representation, as reflected in demands, bills and Acts for parliamentary reform;
- The performance of popular sovereignty in petitions, election rituals, and polling;
- Clashes between representative bodies claiming the authority of – or rejecting the value of – popular sovereignty;
- The language of popular sovereignty, including its contested meanings and the imagination of “the people”;
- The intellectual histories of parliamentary and popular sovereignty, including “virtual representation”.
To propose a paper for the conference, please submit a single document containing a 1-page CV and an abstract of 250 words or fewer to EPeplow@histparl.ac.uk by 25 April 2017.
The conference will take place at the People’s History Museum, Manchester. A conference charge of up to £60 (depending on pending funding applications) will be necessary to cover costs. Accepted paper-givers will be responsible for funding their own transport and accommodation costs.
We particularly welcome paper proposals from female and ethnic minority researchers, who are under-represented on the programmes of many academic conferences.
We are also very keen to welcome postgraduate researchers, perhaps presenting their work for the first time. Thanks to the generosity of the Royal Historical Society, postgraduate students presenting a paper or attending the conference may apply for a Royal Historical Society bursary (to a maximum of £80) towards travel and accommodation costs. Priority will be given to those presenting a paper, and you should apply by explaining your travel and accommodation needs in a statement of 250 words or fewer by 25 April 2017.