Gender, Labour and Consumption in historical perspective

Event Details

  • Event date: 13/09/2019 – 14/09/2019
  • Venue: University of Essex
  • CFP Deadline: 15/06/2019

Over the past four decades or so, gender scholarship has transformed our understanding of many key issues of historical concern. Particularly fruitful have been explorations of consumption in its varied manifestations, undertaken by researchers studying the subject within different disciplines. Labour historians have been slow to address these important developments, though there are signs that the situation is now slowly changing.

This major international conference hosted by the Department of History at the University of Essex on 13/14 September 2019 aims to begin a conversation between these approaches, in the belief that there are fruitful overlaps of interest between them and that they can learn from each other in productive ways. We therefore invite papers from scholars working on the interface between histories of gender, labour and consumption, including early career academics and postgraduates, researching in various disciplinary contexts.


Themes and topics might include:
 Histories of shopping as work.

 Market regulation & moral economies.

 Spaces of consumption as sites of labour.

 Retailing racism & racialised consumerism

 Consumer organising & gender relations.

 Pleasure, consumption & labour.  Masculinities, consumption& labour.

 Total war & redefinitions of gender, labour &consumption.

Offers of 20-minute presentations, including short abstracts (c.150 words) and CVs from scholars working in different national contexts and periods should be sent to the conference organisers, Professor Peter Gurney ( and Dr Vicki Howard (

The conference is sponsored jointly by the Society for the Study of Labour History and the University of Essex. Confirmed keynote speakers: Professor Pam Cox, University of Essex, author of Shopgirls: the true story of life behind the counter (2014), and Professor Erika Rappaport, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of A Thirst for Empire (2017). Closing date for abstracts 15 June 2019.

Conference fee: free to students; £25 per day for non-students. Accommodation at the University of Essex will be available at a rate of £55 per night, single-room occupancy only. For accommodation details please see A promo code for booking accomodations will be available closer to the conference date.