Community, Culture, Crisis: the Inner City in Post-War Britain

Aaron Andrews's picture
Call for Papers
December 15, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
British History / Studies, Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Urban History / Studies

Community, Culture, Crisis: the Inner City in Post-War Britain

Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester – Friday 26th April 2019

In 1988, the urbanist and anarchist Colin Ward claimed that ‘the inner city is an idea, not a place’ (The Times, 19 December 1988). To an extent, Ward was right. The term ‘inner city’ emerged in the United States in the 1960s to describe predominantly African-American ‘downtown’ areas before entering the vocabulary of British urban policy and social criticism over the next decade. During the 1970s, the inner city became the locus of governmental and media concern surrounding areas typified by multiple deprivation, dereliction, and the concentration of ‘New Commonwealth’ communities. As a result, the term became a euphemism through which politicians and commentators could discuss issues of race, poverty, and social inequality in post-war Britain.

However, inner-city areas were—and remain—the home of diverse communities and cultures, with the everyday lives and identities of residents firmly rooted in the physical environment. In spite of the importance of the inner cities—as the locus of crisis narratives as well as a lived space—historians have only recently begun to turn their attention to these spaces.

We invite papers of 20 minutes for a one-day workshop at the Centre for Urban History in Leicester on themes including, but not limited to:

  • Life-cycles: growing up and/or growing old in the inner city.
  • Intersections: gender/race/class and the inner city.
  • Poverty and social inequality.
  • Policing the inner city.
  • Sex and sexualities in the inner city.
  • Activism and community politics.
  • De-industrialisation and economic change.
  • Urban redevelopment and the physical environment.
  • The inner city in politics and policy.

We intend for selected papers to appear in a special issue/special section of Urban History and therefore ask that submissions reflect critically on the workshop’s theme. Please send abstracts of no longer than 250 words to by 15th December 2018.

The workshop is kindly supported by Urban History. We are able to refund, in whole or in part, the travel expenses of attendees. Priority will be given to postgraduates and early career researchers.

Organisers: Dr Aaron Andrews (Centre for Urban History), Dr Alistair Kefford (Centre for Urban History) and Dr Dan Warner (University of Liverpool).