Spaces of Work and Knowledge in The Long Eighteenth Century

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Abstracts are invited for proposed submissions for publication in a forthcoming collection of essays based on the proceedings of the Spaces of Work 1770-1830 conference held at the University of Warwick April 2012. The publication will follow the broad themes of the conference, but is expanded to include articles focusing on any time within the Long Eighteenth Century, and beyond being focused on Britain to include all geographical locations. Further, the overall headings of ‘space’ and ‘work’ are to be examined in relation to forms of knowledge, broadly conceived.

We are particularly interested in interrogating under-analyzed types of work and space. For example, we hope to develop the theorization of types of work that critics have not conventionally understood as ‘work’ (the performance of music as practical activity, for instance). We also aim to bring attention to under-analysed spaces. For example, due to Romanticism’s traditionally rural focus, literary critics of this period have only recently begun to interrogate urban spaces; interdisciplinary discussion of urbanism in this period would therefore be particularly valuable.

In terms of knowledge, we are particularly interested in forms of knowledge often essentialized and therefore not understood as knowledge as such. The traditionally male knowledge of utilising a commanding voice and demeanour to assert a seemingly innate authority, for example; or the traditionally female knowledge of being able to correctly ascertain the freshness of produce. We aim to elucidate the complex nuances of the interfacing of work, space, and knowledge as three factors that fundamentally shape everyday life in order to gain a greater understanding of material life in the period.

Possible questions which articles might tackle could include:
• How do workers and their work uniquely shape space?
• How does space facilitate or hinder workers and their work?
• How is knowledge acquired, employed, or altered by types of work and working locations?
• How do the social relationships between workers and their supervisors/masters alter according to the work they are doing and the spaces in which they perform it? How does the knowledge encoded in levels of expertise affect the dynamic between supervisors and workers?
• How is knowledge encoded in gender, race, and/or class across working space?

Possible approaches could include, but are not limited to: genteel work and the city; the work of acquiring the necessary knowledge for genteel status; work in spaces of ‘leisure’ and the forms of knowledge encoded therein; work, knowledge, and (sub)urban domestic spaces; gendered working knowledge in the home; space and female accomplishment and the forms of knowledge encoded; working knowledge in relation to emergent manufacturing/industrial spaces.

Pickering & Chatto have expressed an interest in publishing the collection. The exact word length may change, but we expect articles will be approximately 8000 words in length.

Abstracts for proposed articles should be 500 words in length, and be submitted no later than 15 September 2012. Please send abstracts to spacesofwork [at] gmail [dot] com