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Call for papers: The Sport and Leisure History Seminar Summer Conference 21-22.7.2011, London


Call for Papers:

The Sport and Leisure History Seminar Summer Conference:

‘Sport and Leisure in Suburbs and New Towns: Communities, Identities and Interactions’

21st-22nd July, 2011

Hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, London

Global society is becoming increasingly dominated by suburban growth, yet our understandings of suburban social life are still lamentably under-informed or prejudiced by elitist anti-suburbanism. Some historians, cultural commentators and social scientists have explored the social significance of sport and leisure in new communities but much more work needs to be done to provide a fuller picture of the social life of suburbs and new towns in the modern and post-modern eras.

Our conference is looking for academics who are working on sport and leisure in suburbs and new towns. All sports and leisure activities are to be included. Approaches that include a focus upon community and association, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and class are encouraged. An emphasis upon suburban identities and social formation in new communities is particularly welcome. Conformity and subversion are key themes that should also be addressed.

There is also a tendency – even in academic work – to treat ‘suburban’ as a byword for lower middle class. We are therefore particularly keen to receive papers that demonstrate the social heterogeneity of suburbs and new towns. Contributors should also consider the geographic, as well as the social and cultural, dimensions of sport and leisure in suburbs and new towns: what are the influences, for example, of their spatial dimensions; of their infrastructure; of their distance or disconnection from existing urban centres; of migration to and from them?

Our scope is global: we hope to get proposals for papers not only from Britain and Europe, but also the Americas, Africa and Asia. We are particularly interested in work being undertaken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in the first decade of the current century. We therefore hope to attract academics from a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, geography, cultural studies, and architecture and the built environment, to name a few.

Please send abstracts (c. 300 words in length) and a brief biography to leisureinsuburbia(AT) by Friday, 15th April.

Conference organisers: Dr Mark Clapson, Dion Georgiou and Dr John Law.