Lancaster University

6th July, 2022 – 8th July, 2022

We are delighted to be returning to Lancaster University for an in person conference. The Call for Papers closes on 31 January 2022.


Lancaster University is the intellectual home of the Social History Society and remains our physical base. Members will recall that we had planned to use Lancaster for our 2020 conference, which was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19. After two years of successful online events, we are delighted to be returning home for our first in person event since the start of the pandemic.

Lancaster University Library by Sheppard Robson

The conference has been carefully designed to suit our current times. It will be shorter than before and will include events to forge links between new and more established members. The conference will also be smaller, with participants encouraged to attend the whole event, with an option for hybrid participation for anyone who needs it. Our aim is to create an event that is as safe, convivial and supportive as possible.

We have worked with Lancaster University to ensure this is affordable. The final cost will depend on exact numbers, but we anticipate that the standard fee will be £260 (which will cover accommodation, two breakfasts, lunch and two evening meals, as well as the conference fee). There will be a discounted postgraduate rate and a generous package of bursaries. The conference is not designed to make a profit.


Round Table: Education, Training, and Opportunity

The conference will include a plenary round table exploring British attitudes to education, training and opportunity in different historical contexts. Our expert panel comprises Georgina Brewis, Peter D’Sena, Laura Gowing and Peter Mandler.

Georgina Brewis is Associate Professor in the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education. She is a historian of student culture, higher education, voluntary action and humanitarianism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her first book A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond 1880-1980 (Palgrave, 2014) explored how voluntary action was central to the emergence of a distinct national and international student movement. With Daniel Laqua, she has led a series of projects exploring how higher education was transformed after 1918.

Peter D’Sena is Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Hertfordshire and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. In the late 1990s, he championed the inclusion of Black History in the revised National Curriculum, before playing a leading role in the revision of the QAA Benchmark statement for history. Peter is a fellow of the Historical Association, principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy and chairs the Royal Historical Society’s Education Policy Committee.

Laura Gowing is Professor of Early Modern History at King’s College London. She works mostly on women’s history in early modern England and particularly on sex, law, language, the body and queer history. Her books include the prize-winning Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-century England (Yale, 2003) and her monograph on women and apprenticeship in early modern London is forthcoming in 2022. She is an editor of History Workshop Journal.

Peter Mandler is Professor of Modern Cultural History at the University of Cambridge and Bailey College Lecturer in History and Gonville and Caius College. He has published widely on the cultural, social and intellectual history of Britain since c.1800 and on the place of the humanities and social sciences in the English-speaking world. His article ‘The Problem with Cultural History’ was published in the first issue of Cultural and Social History and continues to provoke discussion. His latest book The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain’s Transition to Mass Education since the Second World War was published in autumn 2020 by Oxford University Press. Peter is President of the Historical Association and a former President of the Royal Historical Society.


Keynote: Amanda Vickery, ‘Making British Beauty: Provincial Women and Miss Great Britain, 1945-70’

We are looking forward to welcoming Amanda Vickery as our keynote speaker. Amanda is professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London and a successful television and radio presenter. She is an expert on Georgian England and has wide-ranging interests in the history of British society, culture, gender and family. Her prize-winning books Behind Closed Doors (Yale, 2009) and The Gentleman’s Daughter (Yale, 1998) are well-known by many of our members.

She will be speaking to us about the Miss Great Britain contest held at the Morecambe Super Swimming Stadium from 1945. The contest was a highly visible performance of ideal femininity, spotlighting national and provincial attitudes to physical appearance, sexuality and sensuality, as well as women and men’s accepted roles.

Such contests were interwoven in the leisure and parochial culture of the working and lower middle classes, an unexceptional part of a vibrant post-war competition culture – from dog and flower shows to fancy dress, bonniest baby and knobbly knees contests – expressed at fetes, fairs and tournaments, in church and town halls, staff canteens, school playing fields, provincial ballrooms and holiday camps.

This lecture will show how such events can be studied to analyse prevailing social and cultural attitudes to beauty, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and national identity.


Call for Papers: Deadline Extended to 31 January 2022

We warmly welcome proposals for individual papers and panels from new and established historians, working inside and outside Higher Education.

Our conference is organised by eight thematic strands, which range across time and space. Your abstract should address at least one of our strands and indicate which is your first preference. The full details of each strand are available here.

Abstracts for individual paper should be no more than 250 words. Panel proposals should include an overarching title alongside the individual details.

Please submit your proposals using one of the following options:

SHS 2022 || Individual Paper Submission

SHS 2022 || Panel Submission


The programme will also include workshops for ECR historians and prize-giving announcements. Watch this space for more information!

Find out about past SHS conferences