Retail and minority communities: call for contributions

Historians from the University of Wolverhampton are currently compiling an edited collection exploring the relationship between retail and community in modern Britain. The chapters focus on case studies that illuminates a particular example of the way retail practices have been shaped by social relationships and vice versa. Common to all of them is a recognition that the commercial and social aspects of retail have been inseparable, and that business practices and everyday economic behaviours are shaped by the historical moment. By exploring the many and complicated social relationships that shaped retail practices, the collection will deepen our understanding of the social and cultural history of retailing, as well as providing a window onto wider histories of everyday economic life.

The editors has discussed the collection with Routledge and have held a series of workshops about individual chapters. However, none so far focus on the experience of BAME retailing, despite numerous positive discussions with scholars working in this field.  Retail has a particular place in immigrant communities, and there are many other histories of retailing in minority ethnic communities that could be told. The editors have decided that it would not be good scholarly practice to publish a collection with such glaring gaps.

We are therefore seeking contributors from any discipline, whose research sheds light on the history of retail and BAME communities. The full CfP is available here.

This project is not limited to academic historians and we would be delighted to hear from and work with community historians, heritage professionals and policy researchers with an interest in the subject. We also actively encourage submissions from newer scholars and could offer support and feedback throughout the process to post-graduate students who are interested in contributing.

We would also consider any other contributions to this collection, particularly those that shed light on experiences that might otherwise be marginalised. We are prepared to rethink the boundaries of our ‘modern Britain’ focus, for example in relation to diaspora communities or British connections with retail activities around the world, where contributions have the potential to speak well to the themes and issues addressed throughout the collection.

Those interested are invited to send a proposal (c.300 words) to the editors, George Gosling ( and Grace Millar ( as soon as possible. Queries from those considering writing up a formal proposal are also welcomed. If accepted, we would hope to work towards a full draft chapter (c.5,000-6,000 words) in autumn 2020.

Please feel free to share this call with anyone you think might be interested.

Images © Apna Heritage Archive courtesy of Black Country Visual Arts