CfP closing soon - Charity, Welfare and Emotions in Early Modern Britain

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Charity, Welfare and Emotions in Early Modern Britain: A Royal Historical Society Symposium

Nottingham Trent University, 5th September 2019

This symposium seeks to explore the relationship between the emotions and experiences of charity and welfare. One of the key developments in recent scholarship on welfare and poor relief has been a growing emphasis on a diversity of experiences beyond formal contributions and statutory entitlements, as well as an increasing understanding of the complexity of motivations for giving. And the field has also witnessed a turn to foreground the experiences of the poor and those in need of care, rather than simply focusing on the ways in which they were helped and/or controlled.  At the same time, the history of emotions is an exciting and rapidly expanding field which offers not just fresh subject matter, but new ways of approaching and conceptualising historical study itself. The potential for linking these two areas has not been fully realised, especially in the study of the early modern British Isles.

The main aim of the Symposium is to stimulate dialogue at the intersections of these two fields, on the basis that emotions history offers the opportunity to enrich and deepen the study of charity and welfare, while the processes of giving, receiving and surviving which are at the heart of poverty and poor relief studies offer untapped potential for the study of emotions and emotional experiences. We therefore welcome proposals, especially from postgaduate or early career researchers, for 20 minute papers on this theme, including (but not limited to)

  • Emotions in the narratives or experiences of the poor;
  • Cultures of giving and the role of emotions in charity, philanthropy and welfare;
  • Family relationships and experiences of support and giving;
  • Emotional communities in fundraising, voluntarism or mutualism;
  • Performative aspects of giving and receiving charity;
  • Emotions and experiences of exclusion and discipline;
  • Emotions and experiences of illness, disability and care;
  • Emotional responses to crisis, disaster and suffering.


The deadline for proposals is 15 March 2019. Proposals, consisting of a title, 300-500 word abstract, and either an outline CV or a brief biographical summary, should be emailed to Any queries about the Symposium should also be directed to John McCallum or Lizbeth Powell.

Thanks to the generous support of the Royal Historical Society, this day-long Symposium will be free to attend. We hope to be able to offer a limited number of subventions towards some of the travel and accommodation costs for postgraduate or unwaged speakers, subject to availability and to be confirmed nearer the time.


Confirmed speakers: Jonathan Healey (Oxford); Chris Langley (Newman); Hannah Robb (Manchester)