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Durham University

The Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies


2018/19 Events

Friday 8 March 2019 - Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies Postgraduate Training Workshop - Durham University

Using Visual and Material Sources in Writing: Approaches for PG Researchers in the Arts and Humanities

Writing, archives and objects: creative approaches to postgraduate research in the arts and humanities

This event is free to attend but registration is required. Register before Wednesday 5th March 2019. Register here:

If you would like to attend lunch or have any other questions please contact:

Wednesday 13 March 2019 - Pure Sound and the Material Turn

Post-Graduate Workshop and Public Talk with Dr Laura Protano-Biggs

Dr Laura Protano-Biggs] (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), is going to be visiting Durham in March and has kindly agreed to put on two events for CNCS on Wednesday 13 March. Both events are addressed to an interdisciplinary audience.

  • 'The "Material Turn" and Nineteenth-Century Studies', a workshop for postgraduates, with (modest) set readings. 2-4 pm. Venue: PG24 Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green. Please get in touch with to register your interest and be notified of the readings.
  • Rrefreshments for all attendees, post-workshop and pre-talk, 4-5pm Venue: Concert Hall, Department of Music, Palace Green
  • 'Pure Sound: Architectural Acoustics and the Invention of the Lowered Orchestra Pit c. 1900', 5-6pm, a public talk to which all are invited (abstract below). Venue: Concert Hall, Department of Music, Palace Green

Pure Sound: Architectural Acoustics and the Invention of the Lowered Orchestra Pit c. 1900

Friday 7 June 2019 - Postgraduate Conferenence 2019: `Global Perspectives'

This event is free to attend but registration is required. Register here:

Notices of Forthcoming Nineteenth-Century Studies Conferences and Events

If you would like your event adding to our notice board then please email details of the event to: cncs[at]

Music and Politics in Britain, c.1780-c.1850

King's College, London

Two-Day Conference
2-3 June 2017
King's College, London

Abstract Deadline - 1 June 2016

Music was everywhere in early nineteenth-century British politics. Coronations, commemorations, marches, protests, dinners, toasts, rallies, riots, festivals, dances, fundraisers, workplaces, streets—all hummed to the sounds of music. It provided anthems for anointing and songs for sedition, rhythms for rituals and ballads for ballots, chants for charters and melodies for militaries. In all these spaces, media, and fora, radicals, reformers, loyalists, and conservatives all competed for the best tunes. And they did so because of their belief in music’s capacity to affect its listeners—to arouse joy and indignation, sadness and sympathy, merriment, mischief, and mirth—and its ability to bind participants together in new visions of community, nation, and identity.

Yet, for all its omnipresence, music often struggles to be heard in the dusty silence of the archive. Music’s evanescence and impermanence defies established, text-based methods of historical enquiry. Indeed, most historical analysis of music and political culture has focused exclusively on song lyrics. We need a much broader frame of analysis to understand how music connects to the political. Music, text (if present), and the circumstances and social dynamics of performance, all combine to generate a range of meanings for those taking part—one person’s pleasant entertainment might be another’s call for revolution, and for some, both at once. This multiplicity of meanings projected by musical performance is at once challenging and beguiling, precisely for the ways in which it variously circumvents, contradicts, reinforces, or interweaves with the textual elements of political discourse. Bringing music to the centre of analysis has rich potential to offer fresh insight into political traditions, symbols, divisions, and struggles. An explicit aim of this conference is to facilitate this by promoting a deeper interdisciplinary exchange between historians, musicologists, and scholars of visual, literary, and theatrical culture.

To these ends, we invite proposals for papers from scholars in any discipline that address the role of music in political culture in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. Chronological boundaries are flexibly conceived, and proposals for papers which address earlier and later periods but which overlap with 1780–1850 are welcome.

The conference will consist of a series of roundtable discussions among all participants of pre-circulated papers. Papers will be circulated by 12 May 2017. Once revised, these will form the basis of a collection of essays on the intersection of music and political culture in this period. The conference is supported by the ERC-funded project ‘Music in London, 1800–1851’ led by Professor Roger Parker. There is no registration fee, accommodation and dinner will be provided, and travel costs will be reimbursed where possible.

Abstracts (max. 500 words) for 5,000 word papers should be sent, with a short biography, to by 1 June 2016.

For more information please contact the organisers, Drs David Kennerley (Oxford) and Oskar Cox Jensen (King’s College London) at or

Potential themes for papers include:

The politics of opera, theatre, melodrama, and concert music
Poltical movements and musical creativity
Gender, race, participation and exclusion
Occasion and commemoration
Music and the politics of space
Communities and sociability
Political songs and melodies
Bands, choirs, ensembles
The politics of dance
Class and citizenship
State/official music
Music on trial

Contact for more information about this event.


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