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English & Welsh Diaspora: Regional Cultures, Disparate Voices, Remembered Lives Loughborough University, 13-16 April, 2011

While the histories of Scots and Irish rural and local culture are well documented, and Celtic tradition celebrated, less explored are the traditional ways of life of English and Welsh rural or local communities and identities in terms of diasporic event. ‘English & Welsh Diaspora’ aims to address all aspects of English rural and regional experience, consciousness, and representation of displacement, dispossession, the transformation or destruction of communities, the idea of community, across a millennium of change and loss, from the Norman Invasion and the Harrowing of the North to more recent historical and cultural events, such as the closure of mines and factories, the gentrification of English villages, and the closure of post offices. There will, in addition be the exploration of the historical transformation of the landscape, the relation of land to identity, regional as opposed to national identity, folklore, folk practices and oral tradition through song, dance, story-telling and forms of ritual and seasonal practice

Papers are welcome from all humanities disciplines, including, but not restricted to, English, History, Geography, Cultural Studies. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: Representations of agricultural labouring classes; regional narratives and representations; George Eliot & the midlands; landscape and identity; traditional song; folklore and belief; seasonal ritual and practice, oral traditions; enclosure; myth and tradition; changing ways of life; John Clare; the English village; Thomas Hardy; dispossession & displacement; the remains of Anglo-Saxon culture & language; riots, rebellion, & protest; agricultural & labouring class poetry; William Cobbett’s rural rides; cricket & rural life; local and communal subjectivities; ‘documentary literature’ from Woodforde to Blythe; mummers & Morris; modern English rural life; parish records & local history; the Poor law; cultural memory & oral tradition; charity & the poor; politics & policing; rural & regional dialect; parish life; gypsies, witches, poachers, highwaymen & other demonized groups; rural crafts; technology & the destruction of traditional agricultural practices.


Proposals of 200- 250 words are invited; for further details, or to send a proposal, please contact Professor Julian Wolfreys (J.Wolfreys@lboro.ac.uk)