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Call for Papers, Letters: Making and Meanings

4 April 2014

Abstracts are invited for twenty-minute papers for the workshop 'Letters: Making and Meanings', 1700-present day.

The workshop explores how the physical process of creating a letter could build meaning as significant as the words themselves. Letters: Making and Meanings engages with the lively current scholarship on the history of emotions and material culture to explore the semiotic significance of the physical and material presence of letters. 

We wish to encourage cross-disciplinary participation from archive and museum professionals, scholars of history, palaeography, material culture, the emotions and other relevant disciplines. The day will include practical workshops by the Institute of Historical Research and the British Postal Museum and Archive. 

Please send a 200 word abstract and a brief biographical note to:

makinglettersmakingmeanings@gmail.com by 5 May 2014.

Possible topics may include:

• Practical processes such as handwriting, folding, delivery and writing conventions.

• Tools such as paper, pens, seals, and stamps

• Inserted objects such as newspaper clippings, and love tokens.

• Themes relating to life-cycles, lifestyles, business and personal transactions, identity and the self, gender, consumption, transnational experiences, emotions and memory.

Letters: Making and Meanings is organised by Charlotte Brown and Zoe Thomas, Royal Holloway, University of London. With the generous support of the Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture, RHUL. 

Deadline for abstracts: 5 May 2014